Practice without sound theory will not scale


Dave Snowden, “Practice without sound theory will not scale“. Simple.

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Don’t (just) believe your eyes:: heuristics + complexity = guesswork


The perils of making assumptions about the integrity of an object, individual, entity, etc. are beautifully summed up in the familiar expression “never judge a book by its cover”! Despite this knowledge, I will guarantee that we have all done it, regretted it, learnt a (sometimes painful) lesson and moved on. But that still doesn’t stop us from making misjudgements again and again in our daily lives. It’s human nature. Heuristics is a very useful ally to marketers as they can exploit it to “mask a multitude of sins”!

We need to be aware of our own limitations when it comes to dealing with the highly complex. And it doesn’t get more complex than the human body or the digital world of molecular engineering and nano technology. Hence the brief science lesson:

In excess of 99.9% of the “Electromagnetic Spectrum” (below) is outwith our visible spectrum i.e. it is hidden or “invisible” but it is there and it contains information that could, literally, make the difference between life or death! Read more of this post

Economics & Ecology:: the lessons of complex systems


Scientists, sometimes in cooperation with economists, are taking the lead in a young field that applies complexity theory to economic research, rejecting the traditional view of the economy as a fully transparent, rational system striving toward equilibrium. The geophysics professor and earthquake authority Didier Sornette, for example, leads the Financial Crisis Observatory, in Zurich, which uses concepts and mathematical models that draw on complexity theory and statistical physics to understand financial bubbles and economic crises.

Get "fit for randomness" [with Ontonix UK]

The following extract is taken from a thought-provoking article from McKinsey. Power curves are much loved by authors, such as Clay Shirky, Seth Godin, Charles Leadbetter to illustrate the potential for conversation, collaboration and innovation, through adoption of: web 2.0; social media; crowdsourcing; collective intelligence, etc.
They are, therefore, very much “in vogue” and, I suspect, will continue to be so for some time to come…probably not a great surprise that economic theory is enjoying a renaissance in difficult times!
However, from the perspective of “financial regulation” in UK, it is difficult to believe that, if FSA chose to IGNORE the warning signs [generated by financial modelling] about Northern Rock and HBOS, they would be any more effective by monitoring “the system”!!!
“Make the system the unit of analysis. You can’t assess the behaviour and performance of a specific agent—for example, a financial-services company—without gauging the behaviour and performance of the system in which it…

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Video: Business lessons from quantum theory!!!


At School I dropped science subjects in favour of the language of a fallen Empire (Rome) and Economics, so I didn’t have too much cause to think “things scientific” let alone Quantum Theory!

But, my journey into Complexity theory led me to broaden my reading (some may even call it research!) into System, Information and Chaos Theories. As well as a bit of Biology, Physics and Maths. I WOULD NEVE HAVE BELIEVED THAT IN A THOUSAND YEARS!!! Especially as the intention, when establishing Ontonix UK, was to identify how best our Quantitative Complexity Management solutions could be deployed to reduce risk, primarily, in insurance and the wider Financial sector!

The more closely I looked at subjects, that were relatively unknown to me, the greater my appreciation of those matters AND, through that, the more I understood (and questioned)  things that were already known to me.

However, apart from my new found appetite for science, what startled me most was the realisation that, much of what has become “accepted practice” in the business environment is based upon (wrong) assumptions and the attitude that “there is little that we need to learn about business and risk management”…especially from science!

Such is the culture of an industry with little doubt about its own infallibility!!!!

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