Complexity:: Strategy and the ‘threatened’ business model

It would be wrong to say that I am in total agreement with the content of this article but that is simply because, courtesy of Ontonix, I hold an ‘informational advantage’! That is because, of course, it is a great deal easier to identify which products, services or aspects of the operation are dragging the model down when you can, objectively, identify sources of internal [endogenous] risk and measure their impact upon the stability [or resilience] of a complex system.

But there is a lot of good stuff that I would highly recommend. Particularly for those readers who have already determined (subjectively) that any downward trend is temporary, a result of ‘bad’ luck/timing, financial volatility or unforeseeable uncertainty. Of course, you may be right but you COULD be wrong and your inaction might only be exacerbating the problem…or accelerating the rate of decline.

I dread to think how much valuable resource is wasted by organisations treating symptoms that are self-generated. John Seddon, a leading ‘Systems Thinker’, talks (with some humour) about the need to address the right problem instead of, inadvertently, creating more "failure demand". It would be fair to say that with an understanding of the complexity of business systems – aided of course by a means to identify and address sources of risk and uncertainty – even the business owners, without whom the organisation may not have come into being, can learn a great deal about a business they feel they know intimately.

But this ‘mistress’ has secrets that will remain hidden unless they are coaxed out…

Business ecosystem

The Gravity of Risk Can Slowly Crush Business Models

Executives must proactively assess their business model, and do so on a regular basis. What was once a great business engine can grow less viable years later because it has become outdated or ineffective due to market shifts or new developments in industry’s business environmental conditions. It is the course all businesses must run, facing the need to change along the way in order to survive.

Risks are about events that, when triggered, cause problems. Hence, risk identification can start with the source of problems, or with the problem itself. It is important to remember that risks emanate from threats, but the manifestations are much broader and may be internal or external to the organization.

Strategy and the Threatened Business Model | Corporate Strategic Planning | Strategic Planning Articles and Resources | Management Consulting Services Firm | Business Strategy Consulting.

Ontonix:: WE have every reason to advocate transparency

The Ontonix ‘Corporate Mission’ is clear and there is no better starting point – or time to start – on the road to building a more effective and resilient business – communities – economies – world, than RIGHT NOW!

“In the past few decades we have conceived, designed and constructed extremely complex systems and infrastructures on which our lives depend to a very large degree. The list is endless but it all comes down to…

Check out this 3 minute video from Ontonix

Conventional tools and “wisdom” are inadequate for today’s Complex systems

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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.

Unchanged, unpunished, unrepentant, unreliable:: Ratings agencies – authorised to take money under false pretences

A closeup taken on December 31, 2011 in Lille, shows triple

The two biggest rating agencies refused to say sorry for their role in the financial crisis that began in 2007-08, instead telling MPs that investors should not pay too much attention to what they say.

"Ratings are opinions. They are one piece of important information which is available to the market and investors, but there are many other pieces of relevant information around about credit decision making," Mr Crawley said.

"We have been clear that we do not expect an individual investor, or at the other end of the spectrum a sophisticated asset manager, to rely solely on what we provide."

Mr Taylor said that although ratings were a good indication of long-term credit worthiness, there was no guarantee that agencies would not miss things in the future.

"We don’t have a crystal ball. We can’t predict the future.

Ratings agencies Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s refuse to apologise to MPs for financial crisis

The simple truth is that, ANYONE who thought that Rating Agencies actually could predict the future, should have their shoelaces and belt removed immediately! The more complex version…that is no less truthful…is that no-one can predict the future, even with access to an infinite amount of data about the present or immediate past.

I am not sure whether I find their arrogance or ignorance more offensive and, in the view of their role in the financial crisis, wonder why their “opinions” still so sought-after and costly?

At Ontonix we offer a credible, quantitative, cost effective [on-line] alternative:

Ontonix: Ratings – From an Opinion to Science


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Why systems-thinking and Complexity management are vital for survival

Collapse, if and when it comes again, will this time be global. No longer can any individual nation collapse. World civilization will disintegrate as a whole. Competitors who evolve as peers collapse in like manner.


The Collapse of Complex Civilisations (1988, p214)

Complexity is a characteristic of dynamic systems. It is the multiple inter-connections, sometimes referred to as the “problem-solving capability”, without which the system cannot perform its intended purpose(s). Every system has a sustainable level of complexity [critical complexity].

Butterfly Effect: Due to the inter-connectedness of systems the impact of a single (even relatively minor) event can be manifest in more than one outcome.

Catastrophic changes in the overall state of a system can ultimately derive from how it is organised — from feedback mechanisms within it, and from linkages that are latent and often unrecognised.

From a report for Federal Reserve Bank of New York Read more of this post