Why bother with systems thinking?:: presumably because you want to understand!

Team interactionI absolutely INSIST that you read this excellent 3 part series on ‘Systems Thinking’ (ST).

I came to ST along a path from insurance risk, to complexity and resilience but it made so much sense because, well, that is the way my brain is wired! When I was younger I didn’t buy in to the conventional Business Management books because they just didn’t feel right but ST did and, although it can, as John says, make you feel like you are going crazy! However, when the message is spelt out in such a readable manner I begin to see where I (and others) have been going wrong in our efforts to communicate the need for and benefits of change.

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Watch "Eddie Obeng: Smart failure for a fast-changing world"

I’d never heard of Eddie but, ‘once heard never forgotten’ is how I reckon most open-minded people will view this circa 13 minute presentation. I can only describe it as being like stand-up that might make you smarter!

The world is changing much more rapidly than most people realize

He is right in everything that he says and, remarkably, he manages to tell us: what is wrong with ‘conventional wisdom’ without deriding Institutions; about non-linear systems, chaos and complexity without using any of these terms; that global inter-connectedness changes everything and has outpaced our learning…so assumptions based upon what we ‘know’ are (at best) unreliable; about the opportunities and threats that  – volatility, uncertainty and complexity afford us IF we are agile enough to adapt to THE new landscape; that innovation won’t happen like it did before, at the pace that it did or, necessarily, be led by Institutions and Corporations but through the collaboration of creative individuals; recognising creativity that accelerates our learning rather than stifling innovation and suppressing ‘creative destruction’ by promoting ‘self-similarity’; that, instead of expending time and resource trying (and failing!) to construct ‘failsafe’ systems we need to focus upon systems that are ‘safe to fail’.

All-in-all Eddie delivers the most upbeat, non-scientific, scientifically-based, kick in the ass for managers and consultants who trot out the same tired old claptrap about how business has been perceived…NOT how it is in the, real-time, real world of the Digital Age.

Current institutional arrangements, including the lack of incentives for the private sector to innovate for sustainability, and the lags inherent in the path dependent nature of innovation, contribute to lock-in, as does our incapacity to easily grasp the interactions implicit in complex problems, referred to here as the ingenuity gap.

Thomas Homer-Dixon

Waken up, smell the coffee and ‘git wi da programme before you do even more damage!!! As Alvin Toffler put it, “The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.”

Are you equipped to satisfy “the fast and the curious”? – CRM Magazine

Image representing iPad as depicted in CrunchBase

Image via CrunchBase

It won’t come as a major surprise that I am thinking, first and foremost, about insurance brokers engaged in “advising” enterprises from SME to Global Corporate! The message is simple…this is not just about competition but SURVIVAL! If you don’t do it someone else will”.

“It is easier to understand that you face competition than obsolescence”

The world has already changed. And it would be dangerously naive to believe that price is and will continue to be the main differentiator in the Corporate decision-making process. So, instead of looking down your nose at Aggregators and dismissing the possibility that valuable lessons can be learnt from the evolution of Personal Lines, you would be well advised to consider the wise words of Alvin Toffler:

“The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.”

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Welcome to the world “beyond risk”: Volatility; Uncertainty; Complexity; Ambiguity

Illiteracy has long been recognised as an issue that “advanced economies” must address and, although I am no expert on the subject, I get the impression that great strides have been made and education is more widely available than at any point in our history. So, the question arises: why do educated people (and nations) still keep doing such really stupid things to each other, our planet and economy? 

The answer MAY lie in this great quote from Alvin Toffler:

“The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.”

This quote crops up in a presentation that could go some way to explaining our predicament…

Political, Financial and Business leaders in the sophisticated, advanced, Western World have lost the art of listening and are intent upon clinging desperately to the belief systems that got them where they are. Despite the fact that the depth of the flaws have been exposed time, after time, after time! Read more of this post