Posts Categorized: Complexity

books in perpetual beta

Finding Perpetual Beta is now in production. This new ebook is part of the continuing journey to understand how individuals and organizations can manage fundamental changes in networked society, business, and education. It is a series of reflections on the themes presented in Seeking Perpetual Beta, published in April 2014. It questions the status quo… Read more »

Networked Knowing

I spoke at the UNL Extension conference in Nebraska last week. The theme was on the changing nature of work as we enter the network era and how learning is becoming integral to individual and organizational success. I noted how the period of 1900 to 1920 saw a significant shift in the American economy, with… Read more »

Visualization for Understanding

When NASA released the photograph of the earth as seen from space, known as the blue marble, it gave new impetus to the environmental movement, showing our planet as a small dot in a black void. Seeing is believing. Visualization can be a very powerful tool in sharing complex knowledge. The visualization of social network… Read more »

Learning quicker by failing safely

I attended the Community Forests International planning session yesterday. This organization, located in our small town of Sackville, is working on two continents and recently received €1.2 million from the European Union for its work on the island of Pemba in Tanzania. The day included participation from many community groups, such as Renaissance Sackville, which… Read more »

Cooking out loud

The simple structure of the company, with its solidly embedded organizational chart restricting knowledge flow, cannot deal with the complexity of the networked economy. It takes too long to make decisions or try new things out. Looser hierarchies and stronger networks are required, but how do you go about this? Working and learning out loud… Read more »

Create space for sense-making

Listening to a story about exploitation in the ivory tower on CBC Sunday Edition this morning made me realize how much we are prisoners of our current reality. The poorly paid contract teaching staff saw no way out of their plight and the professor-turned-administrator went from questioning the current system to promoting its inequalities as… Read more »

Small thoughts, loosely joined

With a hyper-connected society, enabled by over 2 billion connected people and an expected 50 billion devices in the near future, the environment any organization is facing is much more complex than it was a couple of decades ago. But this was when most executives were learning how to do their jobs. Many are ill-equipped… Read more »

Error reduction interferes with gaining insights

Is your organization  focused on merely reducing errors or is it also promoting ways to improve insight? Fifty-eight of the top Fortune 200 companies bought into Six Sigma, attesting to the appeal of eliminating errors. The results of this “experiment” were striking: 91 per cent of the Six Sigma companies failed to keep up with… Read more »

Sense-making Skills

The most difficult part of personal knowledge mastery is developing a sense-making routine. A recent academic paper from the Association for Psychological Science examined various methods to improve learning. In this monograph, we discuss 10 learning techniques in detail and offer recommendations about their relative utility. We selected techniques that were expected to be relatively… Read more »

Build trust, embrace networks, manage complexity

Hierarchies A new model for work is required. Hierarchies, simple branching networks, are obsolete. They work well when information flows mostly in one direction: down. Hierarchies are good for command and control. They are handy to get things done in small groups. But hierarchies are rather useless to create, innovate, or change. We have known… Read more »