This is a revised and updated version of an overview based on the book No Straight Lines: making sense of our non-linear world.
Our industrial society, is being overwhelmed by complexity, typified by the troubles of running of large organizations such as the NHS, or large companies such as Nokia or Kodak who have failed to adapt to a world in transition, or the likes of media companies that in their pursuit of growth undertake activities that are so morally repugnant their actions horrify the world. Exemplified by the failure of global financial systems, resulting in unmanageable sovereign debt and the increasing black hole in our pensions. The psychological strain being placed on working-man and woman, that is creating serious health issues, the increasingly dangerous gap between rich and poor, and the increasing strain placed on society that exists in a more uncertain world where many people struggle to find any sort of meaning in their lives, resulting in more fundamental views of the world, with deadly consequences.
We cannot afford business as usual and it all adds up to a trilemma of unsustainable economic, social and organizational problems. In other words, the rules around which we previously organized our lives no longer applies, we face an uncertain future, without a roadmap.
However, No Straight Lines argues we have the means to transform our world by seeing these problems as a design challenge, whereby we embrace this complexity and build entirely new organizational capability that is more sustainable, more agile, organizations and businesses that are designed around the needs of all humanity, that offers more meaning in the work we do, that are more inclusive, more relevant, and that can deliver an economic vibrancy for which the industrial revolution was celebrated for.