How Crises Model the Modern World

Crises are our new reality. “Black swans” are increasingly becoming the norm; our systems, environments, contexts are structurally prone to crises. Doing more of the same will not be the appropriate way to deal with modern crises: a paradigm shift is needed, based on a more accurate understanding of the dynamics of complex systems. This paper is an invitation to change the theoretical vision of crisis and crisis management, and the education and training of all actors involved.

Global Crises… is a paper that could, very easily, have ended up as an exercise in mental masturbation BUT it is so much more than that. Read it and you will learn!

In physics, the Lyapunov theorem on stability of systems states that “In the vicinity of its equilibrium points, the solutions of a non-linear system are similar to the ones of the equivalent linear system”. This means that as long as your system is near its equilibrium point, you can use the techniques usually used for linear systems to get answers on the behaviour of the non-linear system. It is a non trivial theorem that can explain why techniques in risk and crisis management could still be used quite effectively during the previous decade or so, even though complexity had already become increasingly apparent.

However, the need, in the current framework of crisis management, for adding more and more
parameters to describe the behaviour of the system should have been a clear indication that something had changed. One cannot hope to describe a nonlinear dynamic system with a patchwork of simple parameters.

A non-linear system implies, in most cases, unpredictable behaviour, such as the inversion of the Earth’s magnetic field in physics. We must now prepare for the unexpected, and not predict the predictable. We must be more creative, learn to be surprised, and to act rationally and creatively during the phase of ignorance, information surge and shock.

Dangerous Intersection:: the straw that broke the camel’s back

The Lorenz attractor is an example of a non-li...

The Lorenz attractor is an example of a non-linear dynamical system. Studying this system helped give rise to Chaos theory. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I was never one for Geometry but these ‘seriously simple’ diagrams, when viewed in real world contexts, make much more sense to me now than hours in a classroom ever did back in the day!

Sudden paradigm shifts, bifurcations, ‘tipping points’ or jumps, that can represent crisis or innovation, happen more than our linear-thinking ever allowed for…but still we find it difficult to accept the implications of what science has shown us to be the case.

More fool us!

PLEASE take the time to read the article and watch the (short) explanatory videos: link below.






…intersections often represent answers. Solutions. States of equilibrium. In mathematical models of economies, or ecosystems, or other kinds of dynamical systems, intersections are where variables come to rest and settle down. In economic models, for example, the equilibrium price of an item is set by the intersection of supply and demand curves. If that intersection suddenly vanishes, the price has to jump.

via Dangerous Intersection –