Public Sector: “complexity paralysis” – creator and casualties


No matter how you express it, in a dynamic (non-linear) system, that is, by definition complex, “what goes around comes around” – the “feedback loop” – complexity begets complexity until the system reaches breaking point – “critical complexity”.

But the closer the system operates to this point the more fragile and unstable it becomes.

Things can, do, get ugly, painful, dangerous and costly on a variety of levels and the impact is felt across domains.

Public Sector: “complexity paralysis” – creator and casualties Image by michael.heiss via Flickr A recent blog about procrastination led me to get this off my mind. It has been rattling around in there for some time… Ever had so much going on in your head that you don’t know what to do first? Too many tasks, too little time: which “master” to satisfy? Every issue or task has its own factors to consider: short term effect; long term impact. Assessing cause and effect or imagining problems, leading you to “f … Read More

via Get “fit for randomness” [with Ontonix UK]

KPMG: Yet another warning about the impact of complexity…


…all good and well BUT WHO IS ACTUALLY LISTENING AND TAKING ACTION!?

Here is an insightful (but not terribly useful) quote from the report:

It is not the nature of the complexity that a company faces that will determine its success; it is the extent to which the company can analyse the problem, identify the most effective way to address it, and then implement appropriate action. In doing so, the challenges of complexity can be turned into opportunities for growth.


There is no definition, no suggestion how to identify or measure complexity but the overall message is clear…DO IT AND REAP THE REWARDS… DON’T and continue to pay the price!

Read more of this post

Rok: Another one bites the dust…


Of course it is sad when, yet another UK firm, that for so long was a real success story, collapses. When I read this it triggered a memory regarding worse than anticipated results and the suspension of a Director. The CFO who had been there for over 5 years.

This happened in August and it struck me at the time how our Ontospace technology would have helped a company like this identify emergent issues rather than to have to wait for the numbers to tell them it was too late. Little did I know that “it would come to this”.

We can’t tell the future but we can let a company establish how “fit” they are and, through complexity analysis, identify (otherwise) hidden areas of weakness within the organisation that may be worked upon BEFORE the cause irreparable damage.

Building firm Rok set to enter administration

Rok specialises in maintenance and employs more than 2,000 people across the UK Rok, the Exeter-based building services company, has said it is to place itself into administration.

In August, the company – which employs more than 2,000 trades people – reported a £3.8m loss for the first half of the year

Just one week before the results, the group said it had uncovered "serious failings" in financial and operational controls.

I am not suggesting that we possess the solution to business woes in such turbulent financial times but, as BBC reported at the time, there were “serious failings” in their “financial controls”. If a business has the ability to monitor its current financial health (structural robustness) in an objective and transparent manner they possess the ability to manage that proactively.

Otherwise managing the finances falls to those suitably qualified to do so and, for a variety of reasons, they don’t always get it right. It should never require an “independent review” to unearth issues related to the financial well-being of an organisation. Are we to believe that the CFO operated unchecked? I am not suggesting anything improper but, at best, there has been failure at the highest level within the Company.

You may find this blog post from July relevant and of interest. There are also some good links on there:

If “Risk Leaders” don’t know…how can their bankers and insurers?

 

“Running a company based on just the financials is like driving a car by only looking at the rear view mirror!”

With Ontospace we are able to map internal operational interdependencies and effectiveness as well as external supply chain robustness. We can provide the same in depth analysis and, if required, real-time monitoring of critical operations or processes.

COMPLEXITY is not an imaginary foe dreamt up just to make life more difficult than it already is for modern business. It is the inevitable consequence of the advancements we have made. We view a business as the dynamic (non-linear) complex “system” that it is and needs to be.

 

Public Sector: “complexity paralysis” – creator and casualties


Management of Complexity

Image by michael.heiss via Flickr

A recent blog about procrastination led me to get this off my mind. It has been rattling around in there for some time…

Ever had so much going on in your head that you don’t know what to do first?

Too many tasks, too little time: which “master” to satisfy?

Every issue or task has its own factors to consider: short term effect; long term impact.

Assessing cause and effect or imagining problems, leading you to “flit” – in rising desperation – from one task to another.

Imagining failure or ridicule.

Getting frustrated by your own inability to make progress and wrestling with the temptation to walk or run away.

Turning to a familiar “crutch”, such as alcohol, irrespective of health concerns.

Contemplating delegation to a potential scapegoat. “Parking” it (procrastinating) or dumping it all together.

Seeking out some trivial distraction to fool yourself that you are too busy…even just to satisfy yourself that you are doing something when, in reality, you are DOING NOTHING!

Come on be honest. You have experienced the scenario at some point in your personal or business life. But imagine (if you have to) your state of mind, if this is what you have to contend with in your working life day, after day, after day, after…

Our minds are dynamic complex systems and can – DO – reach “overload”. Falling performance, absenteeism, stress, breakdown, etc. Different for each individual but bad news all round; work; home; family; community.

Some workplaces are more prone to this scenario than others and the excessive complexity of organisations, such as those within the Public Sector in UK, that have responsibility for dealing with the effects of these stresses in our communities, are as sick – individually and collectively – as those they are trying to help! Read more of this post

Ontonix DON’T do placebo!


It is important, with so many “experts” jumping on the “complexity bandwagon”,  to highlight what Ontonix DON’T DO when we assist companies identify and tackle complexity within their organisation. We wont:

…trivialize an issue that affects the performance of the business and, if unmanaged, can destroy it.

…waste your time with “consultant-speak” about individual or collective performance.

…waste your money clocking-up hours of consultancy to build up a profile of your business and its employees.

…ask you or your staff to spend countless hours manipulating and extracting increasingly bewildering reports from your IT system.

…recycle the thoughts of others whose qualitative approach lacks a clear definition, a means to measure or credible solution to the problem.

…attempt to address complexity within your operations, systems, networks, supply chain, etc. by trotting out trite nonsense, such as –

#1 principle for managing complexity: slow down to go fast!

Blogging Innovation » More Medicine for Your Complexity Complex.

 

In fairness I have never tried using  “thought bubbles” and “unlearning to learn” upon some of the critical operations that enable modern business e.g. IT or communications networks, so, perhaps, I shouldn’t be so quick to dismiss! Although, I doubt that we would have been able to deliver the quantitative results and improvements that we have to, such as, Air traffic control, Healthcare, Engineering design, etc.

If you prefer to rely upon a more homeopathic approach to, a potentially terminal,  system disease there is an abundance of “experienced” consultants willing and able to weave their magic. Read more of this post