Complexity:: understanding living systems


Reading the attached may, in many respects, do no more than confirm what you already knew…even if aspects are so familiar that they are taken for granted.

“Living Systems” with too much order can become as fragile as those with too much chaos and one of the most significant sentences is, perhaps, the last:

You must not become complacent with a pattern that works today because new patterns will be needed in the very near future

…do we continue to wait for uncertainty like we can do nothing or do we use advanced tools [from Ontonix] to identify the “patterns” than can help us maintain “balance”?

If we don’t prepare how can we be resilient?

Animated gif showing the setting up of a gradi...

Animated gif showing the setting up of a gradient which can then be used by cells to gather information about their position early on in morphogenesis. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

All systems have certain characteristics in common. Non-living systems include heating and air conditioning systems, electrical systems, computer systems, radar systems, weather, the solar system and so on. Living systems include animals, people, organizations, communities, nations and the world. The following key characteristics of systems are based on General System Theory, the landmark work by Viennese biologist Ludwig von Bertalanffy, and other insights from the life sciences.

via Understanding Living Systems.

If you are “hungry” for more Complexity Facts, from the work undertaken by Ontonix, follow the links.

Good Decisions. Bad Outcomes revisited


We can’t entirely avoid outcome-based decisions. Still, we can reduce our reliance on stochastic outcomes. Here are four ways companies can create more-sound reward systems.

1. Change the mind-set. Publicly recognize that rewarding outcomes is a bad idea, particularly for companies that deal in complex and unpredictable environments.

2. Document crucial assumptions. Analyse a manager’s assumptions at the time when the decision takes place. If they are valid but circumstances change, don’t punish her, but don’t reward her, either.

3. Create a standard for good decision making. Making sound assumptions and being explicit about them should be the basic condition for getting a reward. Good decisions are forward-looking, take available information into account, consider all available options, and do not create conflicts of interests.

4. Reward good decisions at the time they’re made. Reinforce smart habits by breaking the link between rewards and outcomes.

The article below is of particular interest to me and my colleagues at Ontonix because it reinforces the approach that we advocate and that is supported by our unique technology.   Business is no longer about linear relationships or processes with the post-industrial resilience suggested by terms like “supply chain”. As was highlighted in this recent blog (video) Eric Berlow: How complexity leads to simplicity, when dealing with the modern [ … Read More

via Get “fit for randomness” [with Ontonix UK]

Haldane & May: Systemic risk in banking


socio complexityNot news, unless you have been living in a cave…in which case I could probably recommend some more appropriate reading!

Assuming (dear reader) that you have some interest in the topic(s) this is a very interesting piece. It can be found/downloaded here.

Andy Haldane (Director at Bank of England), Mervyn King and Lord May have been on this “tack” for at least 2 years – I have come speeches, papers or presentations on the subject if anyone is interested – and I have referred to their views in various blog articles over that period.

However, I did want to share this section from the conclusion. Because, these gents have recognised that there is a great deal that we can learn, about, both, cause and solution, from Nature. However, as they point out, due to the Political processes that will, inevitably, affect Bank of England, it is unlikely that solutions will be implemented quickly!

Read more of this post

Biology of Business: Complex Adaptive Systems


People who “understand” or, at least, have studied Chaos, Complexity, Systems or Information Theories will continue to argue for many years about the finer points of each. Good luck with that!

At Ontonix we refer to “Complex Systems” rather than the, more familiar, “Complex Adaptive System” moniker. We simply don’t see the need, a complex system is…a complex system. Through our work we have established some complexity facts (follow the link) and, rather than indulge in a debate about differences in interpretation, we wanted to give you access to that information whilst sharing a superb presentation on the subject. 

Business and society have become used to complexity without actually really considering what it is and the impact it has. We NEED to improve our understanding and Sharon’s presentation does a splendid job of bringing clarity and simplicity. ENJOY!

If you are hungry for more knowledge and are prepared to delve deeper here is another excellent presentation from Noah Raford…a man involved in so many projects, initiatives and heaps of other things he cannot sleep!

Understanding Complexity will make sense of so much that is evaporating..


…before your very eyes!

As I have declared before I am not a person normally given to viewing a glass as half empty but I am scared (and appalled) by the number of people who see the level of liquid in their glass, despite the rapidly melting ice* and vapour, as acceptable, simply  because the people who have, historically, managed the ambient temperature tell you that the thermostat isn’t broken. It’s just awaiting repair and should be sorted “quite soon”!

Ask about how, when or at what cost and you will find that a satisfactory answer is difficult to come by. Cast your mind back to other “maintenance issues” and you may see a pattern emerging. You may realise that the quality of management has deteriorated whilst their costs have risen. They may have been greedy and taken on too many maintenance and repair contracts but still enjoy the benefit of your trust.

Even when someone tells you and provides documentary evidence that they have been consistently  failing in their duties, lying to you (and others with whom they have contracts), falsifying records and much, much worse.

Look more closely and you will see that the liquid is evaporating. Lots of tiny “bubbles” rising, popping and cascading droplets beyond the rim of the glass from which you, your family, community, employees or co-workers have to drink to sustain yourselves.

At what point do YOU say enough is enough and take steps to ensure that you and yours aren’t deprived of the life-giving liquid???

If this little analogy doesn’t make much sense to you, then, you may be beyond salvation and X Factor may satisfy your thirst…for the time being!

If you want the truth the “system” is screwed. Your tolerance and “maintenance fees” are the only reality. Read more of this post