Even when the DNA is similar “we can’t fix today’s problems with yesterday’s tools”:: Part 1


This quote is from David Cole (Chief Risk Officer, Swiss Re) and, needless to say, he wasn’t talking about fixing his 30 year old VW Golf! He was actually talking about our current “economic ills” and the quote appeared in relation to the 2012 Global Risks report from WEF…but the Principle readily applies to both.

Circa 35 years ago, the engine of a popular family vehicle was a complicated machine, that could be maintained, faults identified, performance improved and mechanical repairs undertaken, even at roadside, by an enthusiastic amateur. Observation, diagnosis or intervention at the appropriate stage in the process was possible. However, in a relatively short period of time, these machines have evolved into highly complex systems. The complexity is such that, even a skilled motor mechanic armed with 30+ years knowledge and tools that have changed little, can be rendered helpless.

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Living with Black Swans: balancing the books in uncertainty


OK I’m a self-confessed fan of NNT but early on in this interview with his former Professor he again hits the nail on the head. He reminds us of the lessons that every business (and political!) leader needs to learn..

“…You have to avoid debt because debt makes the system more fragile. You have to increase redundancies in some spaces. You have to avoid optimization. That is quite critical for someone who is doing finance to understand because it goes counter to everything you learn in portfolio theory…. I have always been very sceptical of any form of optimization. In the black swan world, optimization isn’t possible. The best you can achieve is a reduction in fragility and greater robustness. You may have heuristics, but not an optimization rule. I hope the message will finally get across because I haven’t succeeded yet.

People talk about black swans but they don’t talk about robustness, which is the real lesson of the black swans.”

Business Leaders of the current culture are not, generally, “agents of change”. As I have said before we need to cultivate Risk Leaders. Those who, not only,  recognise the flaws of the current culture but are motivated to create, champion, execute and capitalise upon new models and strategies.

Apart from the clamour, from better informed and more demanding consumers, for greater transparency, accessibility and demonstrable sustainability, the pressing NEED is for this new breed to embrace the concept that robustness (or NNT’s anti-fragility) can ONLY come from by creating (and maintaining) a sound business infrastructure…from the bottom up or, as I feel is even more appropriate, from the “inside out”: i2o”.

The relevance of scaling and causality

Such problems as Taleb highlights can only be addressed if the owner can view the business (or system) at the appropriate “scale”. Otherwise how would one know where and by how much to “increase redundancy” to build RESILIENCE in order to survive unforeseen and unforeseeable future events?

After all redundancy and robustness cost NOW and need to be maintained, so, have an ongoing impact upon profitability.

Give ME the data and I’ll make yours a smarter, SAFER, business!!!


Great advert, like their “Smarter Healthcare” ad with the baby. They know what the issue is but don’t have what Ontonix has…

RIGHT MESSAGE but no tools to measure and manage the complexity within the data!

 

…the means to measure, manage, mitigate, monitor complexity within dynamic systems [i2o].

IBM may want a Smarter Planet, so do we. But we reckon we NEED to start with more robust and resilient systems and networks…because survival is tough enough in uncertain economic times!

Familiarise yourself with some Complexity Facts and get in touch to find out more.

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