Innovation:: managing complexity & reducing risk [Design News]


I was first aware of the author courtesy of this quote…that alarmingly few business ‘leaders’ appear to, either, believe or understand…

“In a complex system, learning how all the pieces—constant and variable—interact gives a depth of understanding that averts catastrophe. That is what we mean by human-centred design—understanding the interfaces among technology, people, communities, governments, and nature. This is what makes complexity manageable”.

If you are in the business of making money based upon the ability of another party to avoid financial loss, then your own ability to identify the properties that distinguish ‘good risk from bad’ is, SURELY, fundamental!? So the message that there is a means to gain “…understanding that averts catastrophe“, through “understanding the interfaces among technology, people, communities, governments, and nature” must surely be greeted with wide-eyed enthusiasm. Read more of this post

Complexity, risk, uncertainty and change


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Business management, particularly for those intent upon ‘change’ or responsible for managing exposures, needs a rigorous, objective, measurement of the endogenous properties (complexity) that enables the functionality from which (through interactions with exogenous parties) the business generates the revenues that sustain it in changing and turbulent economic times.

“Complexity increases cost and decreases flexibility — often in unforeseen ways — and also tends to decrease stability,”….

Peter Leukert, CIO of Commerzbank

It is the number, nature and integrity of dynamic, multi-scalar, interactions that are the sources of strength (enabling performance greater than the sum of the parts). The ability to distinguish and respond to ‘signals’, that maintain the variety, effectiveness and agility of the complex system, from the ‘noise’ of flawed metrics, self-serving culture, hierarchical structure (silos), skewed incentives – of an unsustainable, failed or failing, model (reliant upon  assumption, reflexive, subjective, statistical analysis and prediction) that has its foundation in flawed (linear) economic thinking.

We won’t get different or better answers while we keep on asking the same questions.

For meaningful change to occur and to be sustained requires a rigorous justification, sufficient to counter financial projections that satisfy the goals of C-level short-termism that are detrimental to the stability and long term health of the business.

Read more of this post

Business Insurance:: ISO 31000 should we believe the hype?


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Apparently,

“…risk managers should use standards such as ISO 31000, “because standards, no matter what kind or which ones, support key tools and processes.”“Standards allow you to proactively address risks with some discipline,” he said. “Standards also relate well to the whole idea of focusing on outcomes.”

http://www.businessinsurance.com/article/20130602/NEWS06/306029979?template=smartphoneart

Surely the focus should be upon being proactive and ‘managing’ emergent risks, NOT outcomes!?

Where, I suspect, NASA have a distinct (informational) advantage is that the multi-scalar interactions among components, processes, networks of sub-systems and systems are each rigorously tested at every point in assembly and operation…

Read more of this post

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?


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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