Nassim Taleb [Princeton Uni. presentation]:: Fragility and “Anti-fragility” [resilience]


When Taleb speaks the financial world should listen

I am a fan of Nassim Taleb and, even though I never studied Maths beyond school, I understand what he is saying. And, more importantly, WHY! For me, he is “the contrarians contrarian”.

For the sake of clarity, when NNT refers non-linear systems these are complex systems…like a business.

Although NNT delivers this presentation as if someone else had prepared it…in an unfamiliar language… the message is pretty clear. The fact that much of it runs contrary to “conventional wisdom” is no bad thing. In fact, with the growth in his personal popularity, following on from the success of his excellent books and the advent of the Institute for New Economic Thinking, it is reassuring that those who have questioned aspects of the thinking that has underpinned the Financial Sector for so long, are no longer so easily dismissed as radicals, nutters or heretics. It is only with a growing number of informed-thinkers on this and related subjects, that we have any chance of reaching a, much-needed, “tipping point” from where we can begin to repair the damage done…instead of adding to it! Read more of this post

Do you work in a “Corporate Death camp”?:: Prof Roger Steare on “Moral DNA”


One thing I have come to really appreciate about the “Corporate Philosopher’s” approach is his pursuit of the root cause of so many of the [Corporate] World’s ills. We can only really get reliable answers by establishing causality. That, albeit from a very different angle of attack, is what I attempt to do in business and what the technology developed by Dr Jacek Marczyk (Founder & CTO – “genius” according to this article) at Ontonix has facilitated with their model-free technology…but there is still a long way to go with spreading such understanding and insight!

But, if we are dealing with sources of systemic risk, that threaten the sustainability and resilience of ALL that we have come to rely upon, then this is a critical mission.

In the “risk society” we tend to get side-tracked, even bogged down, by the sheer volume of information that assaults our senses on a daily basis. Excessive complexity and the promotion of “flawed” correlations are allies of the leading exponents of the sick, prevailing, culture that the Prof. is intent upon “outing”. That is why TRANSPARENCY is such a threat to institutions or organisations that have cultivated and exploited an institutional mentality!!! Read more of this post

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!!!!

Read more of this post

BREAKING THE CYCLE: “i2o” the complexity change code


Time For Change by David Reece.
Originally published June 2010 but worthy of reprise!
Collaboration has played as significant part in some of the most remarkable advancements in the history discoveries, inventions and science. Whether progress was born out of curiosity or concern great leaps forward in our understanding of “our world” have occurred when interdisciplinary discussion and research take place. I am relieved that the collaboration tools now at our disposal are helping to connect thinkers, leaders and like-minded individuals to consider our collective future. If we listen and contribute we may even avoid making the same mistakes…

In many respects Edge Foundation are leading the way but, thankfully, they are not alone! Like other “citizens” they are impacted when the errors or assumptions of Politicians and commerce are socialised. They recognise the INTERDEPENDENCE of ECONOMIC; ENVIRONMENTAL; SOCIAL; CULTURAL domains. They are key to our own SUSTAINABILITY.

Businesses must take a similarly holistic view…DON’T WAIT AROUND FOR GOVERNMENTS AND INSTITUTIONS TO TAKE A LEAD!!!

It is no longer about reward for SHAREHOLDERS at the expense of STAKEHOLDERS. Organisations need to embrace CHANGE.

Every business evolves in an effort to maintain its competitive advantage within a changing marketplace. But, too often, the change is short-lived [either by accident or design]: to create the “right impression”; to generate the right results; to appease the shareholders/new management/bankers/market; adopt new working practices; because others have adopted similar; “it seemed like a good idea at the time”…

What’s i2o and why is it any different?

Well it is something that I thought summed up what Quantitative Complexity analysis is all about! Getting right to the heart of the matter to build a clear – objective – picture [complexity map], literally, from INSIDE TO OUT: i20. Because Change Management is a difficult enough task to perform when people have their little empires to protect, Silos begin to close ranks and unite like they rarely do on a day-to-day basis! Even within relatively small organisations there is always someone to question the motivation for change. Hardly surprising if there is little [or no] transparency associated with the decision-making process!

TOP DOWN requires an in depth and objective management review. Ultimately, change needs the buy-in of engaged employees. Too often this approach is, understandably, associated with a “command and control” management strategy even where “persuade and influence” is preferred.

BOTTOM UP is all too often dismissed as irrelevant, ill-conceived, impractical or not financially viable, by “the management”.

The result, at least in theory, is impasse. or, at best, compromise that results in minor – often short-lived change.

Hence the benefits offered by i2o. Objective and transparent based upon a quantitative complexity analysis that can be measured, monitored and managed on an ongoing basis. Reduce the number of KPI’s. Identify strengths and weaknesses within the operational structure whilst monitoring the overall complexity of the system and its ecosystem.

RESULT: CONSISTENT, TRANSPARENT, QUANTITATIVE, DECISION-MAKING. Good for everyone, well, except for those with a hidden agenda…