Management Consultants: “Capitalising on complexity”


I have accumulated quite a collection of “papers” advising business how to deal with complexity and am happy to share them…so long as everyone understands that I am not endorsing any of them!

For your delectation I am pleased to add to the list of what, in the main are “qualitative management consultant-speak” that, even when referring to research, interviews, etc. read (to me at least) like documents produced on a topic, primarily because it is topical and offers a further opportunity to secure some well paid consultancy work.

This latest publication is from Celerant Consulting. Make up your own mind…then take another look at the Ontonix website.

Call, email me or get an objective, quantitative, insight into complexity for  FREE!

It really makes my day when other people do a marketing job for Ontonix! OK, so there is never a specific recommendation to contact us but we are happy to settle for the next best thing. That is to identify where complexity IS already costing and will, increasingly, cost through: the impact upon clients, customers, employees and “the bottom-line” budget to identify, measure, manage and monitor on an ongoing basis reduced ROI on assets and facilit … Read More

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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.

Reveal Your Hidden Profits: Looking at complexity in business?


It really makes my day when other people do a marketing job for Ontonix! OK, so there is never a specific recommendation to contact us but we are happy to settle for the next best thing. That is to identify where complexity IS already costing and will, increasingly, cost through:

  • the impact upon clients, customers, employees and “the bottom-line”
  • budget to identify, measure, manage and monitor on an ongoing basis
  • reduced ROI on assets and facilities or increased insurance/risk management outlay
  • reduce business capabilities &/or become less flexible (lose competitive advantage!?)

“I wouldn’t give a nickel for the simplicity on this side of complexity, but I would give my life for the simplicity on the other side of complexity”                                                                                               – Einstein

In previous posts I have made reference (and provided links) to reports by, such as, IBM, McKinsey, PwC, Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) – on behalf of RBS, KPMG and  AT Kearney, each spelling out WHY COMPLEXITY IS SUCH A MAJOR ISSUE for modern business!

It is reassuring to now see that business’ are being recognised as “systems” operating within inter-connected ecosystems and networks. As a result the “Economic domain” is beginning to benefit from a the lessons learnt in a wide range of inter-disciplinary scientific fields…and can build resilience across domains, rather than destroy it.

Read more of this post

Economist Intelligence Unit: New complexity research


HOT OFF THE PRESS!

The complexity bandwagon just keeps rolling along. Hard on the heels of a report on Complexity from KPMG here are the latest findings – see Executive Summary below.

If you find the video and summary interesting but, perhaps, “woolly” or a bit light on practical, quantitative, solutions we will be delighted to help.

At Ontonix we offer a clear, concise, definition and rigorously tested scientific solutions to this important topic that others appear content to approach from a qualitative angle. It certainly gives the impression of being more about marketing based upon COMPLEXITY, quite rightly, being identified as a major issue for modern business in an inter-connected global society.

Alternatively, if this is your preferred version of complexity or you are content to read about it rather than take decisive action, I will provide you with a full copy of this report along with those of KPMG, IBM, McKinsey and AT Kearney. Just drop me an email:david@ontonix.com Hopefully I can be more of a help than that!

Executive Summary

How severely is increasing complexity affecting businesses? The Economist Intelligence Unit conducted a global survey of 300 senior executives to ascertain the level of this challenge, as well as the causes and impact of it. This report also looks at what firms are doing to tackle the complexity.

The main findings from the research are as follows.

Doing business has become more complex since the global financial crisis. An overwhelming majority of survey respondents (86%) think that business has become more complex in the past three years. While 28% say doing business has become “substantially” more complex in this period, 58% say complexity has “somewhat” increased. Among sectors, complexity seems to be of greatest concern in technology and telecommunications, with 41% of respondents from this sector flagging it as a clear and present challenge.

Firms are finding it increasingly hard to cope with the rise in complexity. Just over a quarter of respondents (26%) describe their firm as “complex and chaotic” but just one in five say they would have described their firms this Read more of this post

Who ever thought risk was optional?


I can’t help but observe the recurring theme of RM having to justify itself in the face of other (financial or operational) considerations. It’s like there is almost an acceptance of the need to “sell RM” within an organisation!!! This won’t be news to experienced Practitioners – some of whose professional persistence has proven pretty costly – but is this not a damning indictment of the prevailing Corporate culture?

Since the phrase “Black Swans” was first coined in the context of the Financial Sector, even when they don’t understand what it means(!), it has served as a ready, C-level, excuse for failure but, it is rarely the case…

Black Swans: A Corporate Governance “blind spot”

Where are the “risk leaders”? Instead of FS compounding the problems we should be utilising our expertise and resources to establish a means of “repaying” society, by promoting, supporting and investing in building community resilience.

EVERY project, process, task, operation being undertaken by an organisation is reliant upon varying degrees of INTER-CONNECTED function. Each contains some degree of risk.

The more complex the process or product the greater the exposure. Risk does not “run parallel” to the function, it is inherent to it and, as such, RM cannot be viewed as an option or add-on! To me this (scarily common) approach serves to reinforce the need for a paradigm shift in Corporate culture. Read more of this post