Too much of our understanding of complexity is intellectual. There is very little that embodies what complexity philosopher Edgar Morin would term “lived complexity”.
Too often we still view organisations through a mechanistic lens and this impacts on the flows we pay attention to. If we see them instead as living systems, organisms or ecosystems, it soon becomes clear that flow is central to every aspect of the organisation.
I’ve now been using a complex and emergent approach to consulting for around 17 years. A friend of mine read me his coaching “manifesto” recently including his approach to internal change consulting. It made me think about what I’ve learnt about using this approach so I decided it might be useful to reflect on them … Continue reading 7 lessons I’ve learnt consulting as a “complexity practitioner”
Decision-makers commonly mistake complex systems for simply complicated ones and look for solutions without realizing that ‘learning to dance’ with a complex system is definitely different from ‘solving’ the problems arising from it. – Roberto Poli Many people believe that complexity is just higher order complicatedness i.e. that there is a continuum and that the difference … Continue reading 7 Differences between complex and complicated
One of the assertions I make quite often nowadays, is that we need to move from focusing on alignment, to focusing on coherence. I’ve found it interesting that out of all the potentially controversial statements I make, this one seems to generate an inordinate amount of questions and disagreement. It is understandable as this notion … Continue reading All that jazz … making coherence coherent
Problems: Wicked, complex, intractable or adaptive … whatever we choose to call them, we seem to suck at solving them and we often get profoundly overwhelmed and stuck. I believe the reason for this is hidden in the language I used in the title and previous sentence (… and no it’s not the adjectives … … Continue reading Why we suck at “solving wicked problems”
I asked my friend Renée Koch, who was a faculty member at the Whistler Retreat earlier this year, to contribute a guest blog reflecting on her experience and learning at the retreat and beyond. I love her focus on the peripheral; extravagance; and paradox. What struck me is how the notion of extravagance again challenges … Continue reading The peripheral; extravagance; and paradox: Whistler reflections by Renée Koch
Obsessive-compulsive disorder is a debiliatating anxiety disorder that can have devastating consequences for the individual that suffers from it. I think there is a similar disorder that organisations suffer from … I call is Obsessive Certainty Disorder. It too is linked with anxiety and the need for control. And it too has devastating consequences, … Continue reading How organisational OCD is stamping out innovation and agility
While preparing for my recent keynote at Agile Africa, I came across the work of Prof Adrian Bejan, a mechanical engineer who contributed to the field of thermodynamics through his constructal law, which is formulated as follows: “For a finite-size system to persist in time (to live), it must evolve in such a way that … Continue reading 8 guidelines to enable organisational fluidity
“Traveler, there is no path. The path is made by walking. Traveller, the path is your tracks And nothing more. Traveller, there is no path The path is made by walking. By walking you make a path And turning, you look back At a way you will never tread again Traveller, there is no road … Continue reading Ten things to keep in mind when facilitating an emergent process