To see the interwoven nature of a problem, it would require our minds to “zoom out” from the problem. However, our years of drilling our minds down to details, makes the experience of letting go of the problem to see its dynamic nature, a new and rather anxious one for many of us. It is understandable.

Systems Thinking Leadership Development Institute (STLDi)

As it appeared in the Sunday Standard, Botswana on  Sunday Dec 16, 2012 edition.

Dynamic Complexity vs. Detail Complexity

We face problems daily.  And, we do not doubt our ability to deal with them.

Sometimes, this confidence can pull wool over our heads that we can deal even with the stubborn ones, in much the same way.  We would say to ourselves, just work harder.  We will overcome it.

Stubborn problems are issues that despite efforts to manage or contain it, while it first they may look like they are relenting, the results are short-lived (two-to-three years).  And, then it comes back again, this time harder and faster.

For example, in our efforts to survive arid conditions, we engage in pastoral farming.  Except, over time, such practices wipe out the greens (as when livestock consume grass) that would otherwise encourage rainfall.  In some countries, this means it gets only summer rainfall.  This causes conditions…

View original post 952 more words

Simplifying organisational complexity:: inspired infographics – The Art of Complex Problem Solving


Interactive Infographic: The Art of Complex Problem SolvingClick for interactive version

I’ve never met Marshall Clemens but can state emphatically that I love his mind!

As anyone who has read my blog before will know, simplifying and conveying the message about an abstract concept like complexity is not easy.

Add to that the fact that there is no single/common definition and, apparently, little scope for agreement – certainly not amongst Academics!So not much chance of a common language…UNLESS Marshall has provided an inspired starting point.

“Translating” the scientific and applying it in terms that relate to a business environment is difficult to communicate and, until I found this, difficult for many business-people to visualise. Although excessive complexity can seriously damage both wealth and health!

There are considerable risks associated with conventional, hierarchical, organisations, as well as the management style and associated culture. NOT all of these risks e.g. excessive complexity, are visible…but that does not mean that they are not there! Just that we require the appropriate tools to identify them.

The FACT is, that unmanaged, *self-generated [endogenous], risk is a source of systemic risk and is communicated, using business connections (e.g. financial networks, supply chain) as the conduit, to other entities (large and small; individual and corporate) across industries, communities, borders and domains:

by our inaction WE are adding to the very financial uncertainty and market volatility that we so desperately need to address!

Read more of this post

Oops! Solving global problems in complex systems « Sustainable Development in Government


Personally, I feel that “Oops SORRY!” is the very least we should expect from financial and political “leaders” whose lust for power and wealth has seen unstinting support for the “economic domain” and blinded them to the impact upon other, interdependent, domains.

Over the past 40 years our collective problem-solving didn’t actually solve the problems. Albert Einstein’s classic warning applies; how to be sure that we aren’t still trying to solve today’s problems with the same kinds of thinking which causes them? Adam Smith also warned, “When we are in the middle of a paradigm, it is hard to imagine any other paradigm.” With the benefit of 40 years experience since Stockholm we can add, “When we are in the middle of a gradual international problem-solving process, it is hard to imagine other paradigms.”

How to rapidly imagine, design and implement other paradigms? A starting point for this large challenge could be the smallest possible response, to say “Oops!”.  “Oops!” may not sound like much but this acknowledgement of society’s collective failures could be powerful in shifting the dialogue and creating space for new thinking. As an acronym, OOPS! could provide the international community with an informal ‘Out Of Paradigm Space’ to discuss options that haven’t been considered simply because they didn’t fit in the prevailing shared mental models or institutional architectures. OOPS! would ask, “what are we missing here?”…

via Oops! Solving global problems in complex systems « Sustainable Development in Government.