Complexity links

I use Delicious to keep track of web resources and recently passed on, via Twitter, my social bookmarks tagged with complexity. Here are some of those bookmarks.

James Surowiecki’s three conditions on the use of the Wisdom of Crowds [something often overlooked], via Dave Snowden:

  1. independence of opinion between the individuals
  2. relevant diversity among the individuals
  3. decentralization of the decision-making process

A short explanation of the Cynefin framework (and video by Shawn Callahan), by Ton Zijlstra:

Over the years I’ve seen the number of issues companies and professionals are dealing with shift more and more to the complex realm. Because our internet and mobile communications connected world as a whole has shifted towards this complex domain more by increasing the connections between us and as a result the speed of change, the dynamics around us and the amount of information. A quantitative shift with massive qualitative impact. Complexity is where predictability is absent, and only in hindsight cause and effect are clear. It’s the messy bits, as Shawn says, where human interaction, culture, innovation, trust are at play. And it’s those same messy bits where increasingly organizations are able to distinguish themselves from others, or not.

On transforming to the enterprise of the future, by Art Murray at KM World:

Move from a posture of sense-and-respond to one of “co-creating.”

Stephan Haeckel’s Adaptive Enterprise brought us from make-and-sell to sense-and-respond. In today’s environment, even sense-and-respond may not be enough. Enabled by massive social networks with memberships numbering in the hundreds of millions, the cycle of listening to customers and filling their wants and needs is both rapid and continuous. You need to get into your customer’s mind, and let your customer into yours. The same goes for your suppliers, even your competitors.

Action: Trash the stupid customer surveys, along with the sales presentations. Have an ongoing conversation instead. Ask thought-provoking, open-ended questions and listen intently (the right way to do knowledge capture). Focus on needs and desired results, and find the most efficient and effective way to achieve them.

Added bonus: Do the same internally, from staff meetings to budget planning to performance reviews. Get knowledge flowing in all directions.

Rob Paterson, “ … we refuse to see the complex and work as if complexity was complicated or simple.”

It’s a simple message, really. But if you don’t get it, you’re headed for chaos.

Simple = easily knowable.

Complicated = not simple, but still knowable.

Complex = not fully knowable, but reasonably predictable.

Chaotic = neither knowable nor predictable.

Simple Rules, by Michael Dubakov [check out the simulations]:

Many complex systems are based on simple rules. A set of several simple rules leads to complex, intelligent behavior. While a set of complex rules often leads to a dumb and primitive behavior. There are many examples.

The Cynefin framework and (the complexity of ) classroom instruction, by Andrew Cerniglia:

Classroom instruction is complex but do we treat it as such? Is “sensing” a priority of teacher education? How would an instructor who waits for “patterns to emerge” be viewed by their supervisor? As laid back? Aloof? And does outcome-based education (unintentionally) result in educators treating complex situations as complicated, or worse yet, simple in nature?

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