Innovation:: managing complexity & reducing risk [Design News]


I was first aware of the author courtesy of this quote…that alarmingly few business ‘leaders’ appear to, either, believe or understand…

“In a complex system, learning how all the pieces—constant and variable—interact gives a depth of understanding that averts catastrophe. That is what we mean by human-centred design—understanding the interfaces among technology, people, communities, governments, and nature. This is what makes complexity manageable”.

If you are in the business of making money based upon the ability of another party to avoid financial loss, then your own ability to identify the properties that distinguish ‘good risk from bad’ is, SURELY, fundamental!? So the message that there is a means to gain “…understanding that averts catastrophe“, through “understanding the interfaces among technology, people, communities, governments, and nature” must surely be greeted with wide-eyed enthusiasm. Read more of this post

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.

A "VUCA" World needs Strategic Thinkers:: Inc.com


If  you have absolutely no idea what “VUCA” stands for the following presentation will be extremely useful and, hopefully, put these “6 Habits” into a meaningful context. By no stretch of the imagination is this a complete guide…by definition there won’t be one! But, if it stops Leaders & Managers from decision-making based upon, potentially dangerous,  assumptions that is a progress!

“We need strategic leaders!” is a pretty constant refrain at every company, large and small. One reason the job is so tough: no one really understands what it entails. It’s hard to be a strategic leader if you don’t know what strategic leaders are supposed to do.

I love this quote from Paul Shoemaker….

“Every leader’s temptation is to deal with what’s directly in front, because it always seems more urgent and concrete. Unfortunately, if you do that, you put your company at risk. While you concentrate on steering around potholes, you’ll miss windfall opportunities, not to mention any signals that the road you’re on is leading off a cliff”

After two decades of advising organizations large and small, my colleagues and I have formed a clear idea of what’s required of you in this role. Adaptive strategic leaders — the kind who thrive in today’s uncertain environment – do six things well: Read more of this post

It IS a VUCA world…and we aren’t helping:: Kevin Roberts [Saatchi & Saatchi]


Perhaps it is going to require a declaration from such as the Pope , Obama, Dalai Lama, Lady Gaga or some “celebrity” enjoying 15 minutes of fame before we, finally, take on board that we don’t know what we are doing! The tools and techniques of the last century topped-up with any amount of talking will change little, if anything and, in all probability, the scale and pace of change will not be sufficient…

“So in the UK, first, we don’t have the dream, second, we don’t have the appetite to win – the Chinese are going to eat our lunch. We’ve lost the desire to win because winning has been ugly in the last economic environment. And the third thing Britain’s getting wrong is execution. We live in a ‘Vuca’ world – a world that is volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous but British companies keep having strategy meetings! What the f***? We have no strategic plans at Saatchi – instead we have 10 things to do in 100 days. Have a dream, get on with it and if you fail then fail fast, learn fast, fix fast.

via Leadership | Kevin Roberts.

Complexity and change – appreciating the implications for strategic decision-making


In much of management and organisational theory, it is common for people to either be ignored or to suggest that behaviour and attitudes can be assumed to be homogenous.

In almost every news programme we hear or see in recent years will be reference to two key influences that s strategic thinker must be cognisant of; markets and economics.

I have to admit to increasing frustration in the way that the behaviour of the former and the assumptions of the latter are treated as if there is no human involvement whatsoever. Indeed, there seems to be a view that the actions of human beings can be rationalised as if they are akin to laboratory rats!

Markets and economics are constructs that have been developed by, normally academics, to theorise (and rationalise) the aggregate actions of human beings. The classic assumption is that if you collect enough data you will eventually develop a sufficiently robust theory which, albeit overly-complex, will be able to cope with every eventuality.

As the most recent crisis in markets should have taught demonstrated, the vast majority of the best thinkers in the world did not foresee the global financial crisis and its consequences for markets. For those who advocate the use advanced modelling, the reply to criticism of their failure to forecast the global financial crisis is to cling onto the blind faith in their models.

via Complexity and change – appreciating the implications for strategic decision-making – Birmingham Post – Business Blog.