Seven implications of complexity for organisations


My last post was about Paul Cilliers’s 7 characteristics of complex systems.  In this post I want to explore 7 of the implications of complexity that he thought was important for those working in and on organisations  (his original text is in italics). 1.Since the nature of a complex organization is determined by the interaction … Continue reading Seven implications of complexity for organisations

Levers, blueprints and roadmaps: 3 tips to combat “dark” metaphors


For those who follow me, it’s probably become apparent that I have a love for metaphors and analogies. Because much of what I do involves introducing others to new concepts, I find them to be useful “hooks”, linking the new idea to something familiar, thereby providing a “scaffold of mind” while understanding grows. Because of this, … Continue reading Levers, blueprints and roadmaps: 3 tips to combat “dark” metaphors

Want resilience? Nurture diversity.


One of the learnings from complexity that I find particularly valuable in the workplace, is the need for a “requisite diversity” for a system to be resilient and able to evolve. Too little diversity limits the system’s adaptive capacity and too much diversity leads a loss of coherence. This is valuable insight, especially in countries like … Continue reading Want resilience? Nurture diversity.

Walking with the elephants


Today I want to share one of my favorite analogies.  I use this in almost every presentation as a way to challenge the prevailing paradigm that priveleges expert design and control. There are two ways to lay out a park … … one is to employ an expert landscape architect to design an ideal layout … Continue reading Walking with the elephants

On mayonnaise and survival


Mayonnaise

I recently attended the 4th International Conference for Responsible Leadership, hosted at Gibs by the Albert Luthuli Centre for Responsible Leadership (University of Pretoria).  One of the highlights was getting the chance to facilitate a panel discussion on Complexity Leadership in South Africa with a group of highly respected local and international academics. Another was … Continue reading On mayonnaise and survival

A short chronicle of 2016


I always admire those writers who have the discipline to publish consistently regardless of circumstance. I tend to write in spurts. I find that when I become really busy with projects and speaking engagements, my writing suffers. So in case you were wondering why I’ve been so quiet, I thought I’d write a short update … Continue reading A short chronicle of 2016

Jungle vs Zoo – Reflections on change and resilience


In my previous post I introduced the analogy of a jungle vs a zoo to help us make sense of the complex contexts we face and the often ordered organisational structures and processes we tend to create.  In this post I want to explore this analogy further and look specifically at how change and resilience from the … Continue reading Jungle vs Zoo – Reflections on change and resilience

It’s hard to survive in the jungle if all you know is the zoo


I recently posted a tweet that created an unexpected enthusiastic response. It read: “It’s hard to survive in the jungle if you were trained in a zoo” I love using metaphors and analogies to explain the concepts I work with, like the difference between complex (jungle) and complicated or obvious (zoo) contexts. This is one … Continue reading It’s hard to survive in the jungle if all you know is the zoo

Cognitive Edge launches CultureSCAN!


Cognitive Edge have finally lauched CultureScan.  For all of you who have wanted a safe to fail introduction to Sensemaker, this is the ideal opportunity.  As this is the first Scan that is formallhy launching, you can get it at a 50% reduced cost until the end of June.  Don’t miss out on this opportunity. … Continue reading Cognitive Edge launches CultureSCAN!

Connectivity or coupling: keep Goldilocks in mind (Building resilience: Principle 2)


My mother always said that nothing with a “too” in front of it is good.  That is certainly true about connectivity, too little and too much can be equally detrimental.  High levels of connectivity can facilitate the fast recovery of a system after a disruption, but at the same time some disruptions spread faster in highly … Continue reading Connectivity or coupling: keep Goldilocks in mind (Building resilience: Principle 2)