Posts Categorized: Complexity

solving problems together

Most situations at work can be considered from the perspective of — is this a known problem or not? If it’s known, then the answer can be looked up or the best person can be found to deal with it. The answer may even have been automated or outsourced. Known problems require access to the… Read more »

seeing the value of cooperation

Nancy Dixon tells a wonderful story about ‘Researcher’s Square’ and the hallway of learning. The whole story is well worth your time. It describes how a diverse group of mostly independent researchers who worked in their individual offices were able to cooperate and even collaborate due to a change in the built architecture. A central… Read more »

the relationship era

“In the agrarian age of the 19th century, when schools meant one-room rural schoolhouses, teaching morality and morals and character was all important. That’s because society needed, and so demanded, good moral character.”—Nineshift Not so long ago “gee’ was an offensive word in the USA. It was considered to be short for Jesus. But a… Read more »

range & inefficiency

An innovation system should preserve range and inefficiency, concludes the book Range—Why generalists triumph in a specialized world, by David Epstein. Focusing deep yields efficiencies and incremental innovation. But a broad base of learning and experience can produce radical innovation. Many (most?) of our research and education practices are designed for ‘kind’ environments where the… Read more »

the silo effect

“Silos are cultural phenomena, which arise out of the systems we use to classify and organize the world,” states Gillian Tett in The Silo Effect. Silos are bounded hierarchies that define specialized work or areas of knowledge. They come in the form of academic fields, organizational departments, schools of thought, and many other forms created… Read more »

metamodernity

To an older culture, a newer one often looks amoral, as morality guides older cultures. To a newer culture, older cultures appear to be primitive, lacking complexity. But each culture has its pros and cons. The challenge in developing what Lene Rachel Andersen calls ‘metamodernity‘ is in taking the positive aspects of previous human cultures… Read more »

status update on society

Many of the changes we face today are similar to a time when a new communications technology came along and changed the face of Europe — print. The Protestant Reformation saw the rise of religious wars, which were later followed by the scientific revolution and the Enlightenment. An age of exploration and colonialism followed, which… Read more »

learning with complexity

Two technologies — machine learning, and the internet — are changing our understanding of the world by showing that we really cannot understand large scale complexity. “We don’t use these technologies because they are huge, connected, and complex. We use them because they work. Our success with these technologies — rather than the technologies themselves — is showing us… Read more »

changing structures

“For the first time since the industrial revolution, organizations are changing at a fundamental level. The change is very much a work in progress in most organizations. But we now have many examples of organizations that are fully functioning in an entirely new way — that is, new ideas about how the organization is designed,… Read more »

connected thinking

“… it’s easy, and it’s seductive, to assume that data is really knowledge. Or that information is, indeed, wisdom. Or that knowledge can exist without data. And how easy, and how effortlessly, one can parade and disguise itself as another. And how quickly we can forget that wisdom without knowledge, wisdom without any data, is… Read more »