Posts Categorized: Complexity

a unique opportunity

“The spread of germs is the price we pay for the spread of ideas.” —Nicholas Christakis Many people want a return to normal. But normal is what got us into this pandemic — mass air travel, global supply chains, constant expansion, pollution, biological weapons research, etc. What we have is a unique opportunity for significant… Read more »

connections trump expertise

A recent research paper — Orthodoxy, illusio, and playing the scientific game — looks at why it took so long for the mainstream medical community to accept that the SARS-CoV-2 virus is predominantly spread as an aerosol and not through surface transmissions. Three fields—political, state (policy and regulatory), and scientific—were particularly relevant to our analysis…. Read more »

addressing wicked problems

Daniel Kahneman, winner of the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel, and author of the popular book, Thinking Fast, Thinking Slow, has recently published a new book — Noise: A flaw in human judgment. Noise in general is unwanted variability. That is, when there is a judgment or a measurement… Read more »

yes, all models are wrong

“Remember that all models are wrong; the practical question is how wrong do they have to be to not be useful.” —George Box So how do we know when a model — particularly one of our preferred mental models — is wrong? It is difficult to change our mind but that is what any good… Read more »

leave standard methods to the machines

Any situation at work can first be looked at from the perspective of — is this a known problem or not? If it’s known, then the answer can be looked up or the correct person found to deal with it. Known problems require access to the right information to solve them. This information can be… Read more »

human engagement counters misinformation

A recent study conducted by Facebook suggests that when it comes to vaccine doubts and misinformation, “a small group appears to play a big role in pushing the skepticism”. Some of the early findings are notable: Just 10 out of the 638 population segments contained 50 percent of all vaccine hesitancy content on the platform…. Read more »

trust emerges over time

Imagine a research-intensive organization where scientists should be sharing what they learn, and the official company policy is to share information and expertise among public and private partners. However, the company is ‘downsizing’ and layoffs are based on performance reviews. If one scientist helps a peer develop a patented product, and as a result the… Read more »

six ways to make sense

One of the big consultancies is promoting ‘six ways’ to make sense of these complex times, or words to that effect. If you believe you are getting leading-edge thinking from these types of businesses, think again. Here is a story about a major consulting company, from one of its own. “Despite having no work or… Read more »

retrieving the cooperative imperative

The biggest challenges facing us today are climate change and environmental degradation. The current pandemic is a symptom of these situations. These are complex issues without simple answers or explanations, because with complex problems the relationship between cause and effect is only seen after the fact. As H.L Mencken stated, “Explanations exist; they have existed… Read more »