We Selected the Simple Solution. The Complex Solution Became a Worldwide Standard – Part I

A solution that has been designed in an environment with low levels of complexity can be the cause of failure when:

  • the solution is implemented in an environment with high levels of complexity;
  • the solution itself is extended and becomes too complex; or
  • the solution remains the same but the surrounding environment exceeds a certain level of complexity

Leading in a Complex Environment

Does this sound familiar? You have an effective solution to a complex challenge. But when you try to get it accepted, you find that it differs too much from the way solutions are expected to look. Creating openness to the unconventional solution seems an insurmountable challenge. Here is an example that may help you.

My quest for solutions to complex challenges started around 1988 while I was working for a data centre. Management recognized that, with increasing complexity, we were losing the overview: With every change we made, and every problem we tried to solve, we were in danger of creating new problems. I was asked to investigate a solution.

At the time, we used a software tool for problem and change management. The tool worked well. It had an unused module and it looked the solution to our challenge was a matter of bringing the module in production. This…

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Presentations:: Organize for Complexity (updated 3/2015)

Of course it is easy to relate to a growth model, particularly when we have benefited from classical economics but this is only true up to the point where we realise the flaws in economic theory and the failed (morally bankrupt) model that was spread, like an aggressive cancer, through the conduit of global financial networks! Now that we are, all too painfully, aware of the complex, non-linear, world of interconnected financial and business systems that make up our global economy we MUST recognise the limitations of theories based upon ‘linear-thinking’.

If nothing else this new book, A New Approach to a Theory of Management: Manage the Real Complex System, Not its Model may offer some food for thought to those people who appreciate that a ‘shift’ in thinking is required IF we are to attempt to manage organisations whose complexity has, significantly and for some time, exceeded the complexity of the systems of analytics and management we apply to them.

The whole is more than and different from the sum of its parts.

That statement has become a mantra in complexity science. (Mikulecky, 2007 a & b). It is used much more than it is understood. It has deep meaning, and that meaning is the foundation concept for relational systems theory. What does it mean for a whole, made up of material parts, atoms and molecules, to be more than its mere sum? It means a number of interrelated things: Read more of this post

How much work does Financial Services still have to do?


It is a serious question! It genuinely bothers me that FS is rated as less trusted than banking [Edelman Trust Barometer] for the third straight year.

Equally I am incredulous that the UK insurance industry has the audacity to, still, be talking about increasing “professionalism” when the Aldermanbury Declaration is nothing more than yet another attempt at (well-practised) misdirection…or, if you like, ‘turd-polishing’.

Don’t try to see into the future using the past as your lens!

You are looking in the wrong direction. By all means know about and learn from the past but don’t use the wrong lens to try to look too far ahead. As a concerned mother of my parents’ generation would say “you’ll just strain your eyes”! Look within: not necessarily in some mystical or philosophical sense – although there are numerous historical references that still hold good – but in a practical manner as far as the structure, culture and operation of the business is concerned. And in a metaphorical sense in respect of your own biological system. Read more of this post

Both Aleatory and Epistemic Uncertainty Create Risk

Nice work Glen! I have asked the question before but “at what point does the decision NOT to obtain accessible knowledge about ‘reducible exposures’ [epistemic uncertainty] – such as excessive complexity – become a Corporate Governance issue?”

Epistemic risk is modeled by defining the probability that the risk will occur, the time frame in which that probability is active, and the probability of an impact or consequence from the risk when it does occur…

…For these types of risks we can have an explicit or an implicit risk handling plan. I use the word handling with special purpose. We handle risks in a variety of ways. Mitigation is one of those ways. But the risk handling work is actual work. It is in the schedule. We are doing work to mitigate the risk. We are buying down the risk, or we are retiring the risk. In all cases, we are spending money, and consuming time to reduce the probability that the risk will occur. Or we could be spending money and consuming time to reduce the impact of the risk when it does occur. In both cases we are taking action to address the risk.

via Herding Cats: Both Aleatory and Epistemic Uncertainty Create Risk.