Posts Categorized: Complexity

The collapse of complicated business models

Clay Shirky, in the collapse of complex business models, notes: Bureaucracies temporarily reverse the Second Law of Thermodynamics. In a bureaucracy, it’s easier to make a process more complex than to make it simpler, and easier to create a new burden than kill an old one. The premise of his article is that successful organizations… Read more »

Wired Work

Wirearchy may be a neologism, but I’ve found it to be a most descriptive term for discussing what happens when you connect everyone via electronic networks. To paraphrase Jon Husband: It is generally accepted that we live and work in an increasingly ‘wired’ world. There are emerging patterns and dynamics related to interconnected people and… Read more »

A linchpin culture

Here is Seth Godin being interviewed by Hugh Macleod: In a sta­ble envi­ron­ment, we worship the effi­cient fac­tory. Henry Ford or even David Gef­fen… feed the machine, keep it run­ning smoothly, pay as little as you can, make as much as you can. In our post-industrial world, though, fac­tory worship is a non star­ter. Cheap… Read more »

Complexity and change

Interesting things I learned on Twitter this past week. Complexity The State of Social Learning Today & Some Thoughts for the Future of Learning & Development (L&D) in 2010 via @c4lpt If it seems too complex for L&D to take on the “responsibility” for enabling learning across the organisation, then bear in mind that this… Read more »

Sharing tacit knowledge

H.L. Mencken, American satirist, wrote that, “For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong.” That pretty much sums up the problems we are facing today in our organizations and institutions. We are using tools that assume simple, or at most complicated, problems when many are actually complex. A mechanistic… Read more »

Co-operation: from soft skill to hard skill

What are known as soft skills, like getting along with others, are becoming much more important than commonly known hard skills. This is still not a general perception amongst business leaders; as recently as last year, Management-Issues reported: The annual CEO study by PricewaterhouseCoopers has argued that what companies around the world are crying out… Read more »

Embracing complexity at work

After our session at Online Educa this morning (well, it was early morning for me anyway) I thought some more about one of the models I used. The Cynefin framework is a good way to explain different types of work and how training can only help in some cases: when work is simple (cause &… Read more »

Simplexity – review

In Simplexity Jeffrey Kluger writes an easy-reading book on “why simple things become complex and how complex things can be made simple”. First of all, this is not a book for anyone looking for a deep examination of complexity theory. Kluger is a writer for Time, not an academic or researcher. This makes Simplexity a… Read more »

Increased complexity needs simplified design

In the book Informal Learning: rediscovering the natural pathways that inspire innovation and performance, Jay Cross draws a parallel between the development of: 1) Bands, 2) Kingdoms, and 3) Democracies with 1) Small, local businesses, 2) Large, central corporations, and 3) Loosely coupled networks. The learning analogy Jay provides is 1) One on One, 2)… Read more »

Grains of sand

Though she calls it micro-planning, in my view Beth Kanter describes one way of developing emergent practices for complex environments or situations, which more workplaces are facing each day. When faced with complexity, I propose that we should organize as networks, continuously develop emergent practices, practice open cooperation, and collaborate around common goals. Micro-planning is… Read more »