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.

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

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

Enabling agility: reflecting on the role of heuristics


I’ve been doing a lot of work lately working with organisations to build strategic agility and resilience to continuous change.  This has caused much reflection on what potential enablers might be for strategic agility and distributed decision-making in this increasingly complex and volatile world.  I’ve come to believe that one of the key enablers is an  understanding of … Continue reading Enabling agility: reflecting on the role of heuristics

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)

Maintain diversity and redundancy (Building resilience: Principle 1)


“Systems with many different components (e.g. species, actors or sources of knowledge) are generally more resilient than systems with few components.  Redundancy provides ‘insurance’ within a system by allowing some components to compensate for the loss or failure of others.  Redundancy is even more valuable if the components providing the redundancy also react differently to … Continue reading Maintain diversity and redundancy (Building resilience: Principle 1)