Regent’s University - MACL
Sense-Making in a
Complex World
Wickedness at Work –
Complex System Theory
Alexander Knapp
Visi...
Complex System Theory and Practice
Workshop Outline
© Alexander Knapp, 2014 - All Rights Reserved. alexander@knapp.net
1. ...
Section Two - Complexity in Focus
Outline of Content
© Alexander Knapp, 2014 - All Rights Reserved. alexander@knapp.net
2....
2.1 ‘Plectics’ – A History…
Evolution of the Science
© Alexander Knapp, 2014 - All Rights Reserved. alexander@knapp.net
Th...
2.1 ‘Plectics’ – A History…
Paradigm Shifts
© Alexander Knapp, 2014 - All Rights Reserved. alexander@knapp.net
"Literally ...
2.1 ‘Plectics’ – A History…
‘Greater Than the Sum of Its Parts…’
© Alexander Knapp, 2014 - All Rights Reserved. alexander@...
2.2 Nonlinearity
Have You Ever Noticed…
© Alexander Knapp, 2014 - All Rights Reserved. alexander@knapp.net
“For the want o...
2.2 Nonlinearity
Crystal Balls and Other Myths
© Alexander Knapp, 2014 - All Rights Reserved. alexander@knapp.net
“Ich kan...
2.3 Self-Organisation
Have You Ever Noticed…
© Alexander Knapp, 2014 - All Rights Reserved. alexander@knapp.net
“Making go...
2.3 Self-Organisation
…On the Other Side of Complexity
© Alexander Knapp, 2014 - All Rights Reserved. alexander@knapp.net
...
2.4 Emergence
Have You Ever Noticed…
© Alexander Knapp, 2014 - All Rights Reserved. alexander@knapp.net
‘The Ghost in the
...
2.4 Emergence
‘More Than the Sum…’
© Alexander Knapp, 2014 - All Rights Reserved. alexander@knapp.net
Emergence has
five c...
2.5 System Theory
Have You Ever Noticed…
© Alexander Knapp, 2014 - All Rights Reserved. alexander@knapp.net
“Science is fa...
2.5 System Theory
The ‘Ideal’ Home Temperature
© Alexander Knapp, 2014 - All Rights Reserved. alexander@knapp.net
Gwilym J...
2.6 Networks
Have You Ever Noticed…
© Alexander Knapp, 2014 - All Rights Reserved. alexander@knapp.net
“My people! I
must ...
2.6 Networks
© Alexander Knapp, 2014 - All Rights Reserved.
‘Vertices’ and ‘Edges’
alexander@knapp.net
“In the past, an
in...
2.7 Co-evolution
Have You Ever Noticed…
© Alexander Knapp, 2014 - All Rights Reserved. alexander@knapp.net
"The Net interp...
2.7 Co-evolution
Market Forces
© Alexander Knapp, 2014 - All Rights Reserved. alexander@knapp.net
“Any real change
implies...
2.1 ‘Plectics’ – A History…
‘Greater Than the Sum of Its Parts…’
© Alexander Knapp, 2014 - All Rights Reserved. alexander@...
“You think
because you
understand ‘one’
you must also
understand ‘two’,
because one and
one equals two.
But you must also
...
Session Two - Complexity in Focus
© Alexander Knapp, 2014 - All Rights Reserved. alexander@knapp.net
Questions?
Regent’s University - MACL
Sense-Making in a
Complex World
Wickedness at Work –
Complex System Theory
Alexander Knapp
Visi...
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"Managing Complexity" Executive MBA Presentation (2/3)

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This presentation, companion resource to the Regent's University (London) Masters in Creative Leadership module on "Sense-Making in a Complex World" explains how models of new science (including quantum physics, non-linear dynamic, complex system theory and others) provide better options to classical tools when trying to understand and manage Wicked Problems.

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"Managing Complexity" Executive MBA Presentation (2/3)

  1. 1. Regent’s University - MACL Sense-Making in a Complex World Wickedness at Work – Complex System Theory Alexander Knapp Visiting Lecturer, International Relations, Business and Strategy
  2. 2. Complex System Theory and Practice Workshop Outline © Alexander Knapp, 2014 - All Rights Reserved. alexander@knapp.net 1. Complexity In Context 2. Complexity In Focus 3. Complexity Toolbox Why? What? How? “We all agree that your theory is crazy, but is it crazy enough?” - Niels Bohr
  3. 3. Section Two - Complexity in Focus Outline of Content © Alexander Knapp, 2014 - All Rights Reserved. alexander@knapp.net 2.1 ‘Plectics’ – A History 2.2 Nonlinearity 2.3 Self-Organisation 2.4 Emergence 2.5 Systems Theory 2.6 Networks 2.7 Co-evolution 2.8 Session Three: Tools “How wonderful that we have met with a paradox. Now we have some hope of making progress!” - Niels Bohr
  4. 4. 2.1 ‘Plectics’ – A History… Evolution of the Science © Alexander Knapp, 2014 - All Rights Reserved. alexander@knapp.net The interplay between simplicity and complexity is the heart of the name. The Indo-European root *plek- gives rise to the Latin verb plicare, to fold , which yields ‘simplex’, literally oncefolded, from which our English word "simple” derives. But *plek- likewise gives the Latin past participle plexus, braided or entwined, from which is derived complexus, literally braided together, responsible for the English word "complex." A Complex System cannot be described without describing each part but each part must be described in relation to other parts. These systems contain continuously changing relationships that aren’t easily measured or simply altered in a predictable way. A (Non-)Linear View of Complexity Science
  5. 5. 2.1 ‘Plectics’ – A History… Paradigm Shifts © Alexander Knapp, 2014 - All Rights Reserved. alexander@knapp.net "Literally a ‘jumping together’ of knowledge by the linking of facts and fact-based theory across disciplines to create a common groundwork of explanation.” - Consilience E.O. Wilson, p. 7 1950 – 1970’s Ghost in the Machine 1980 – 1990’s “Theory of Everything” 2000 – 2010’s Physical to Social Sciences Growing recognition of dynamic effects in (and unexplained by) physical sciences and models Rapid expansion of complexity research developing ‘new’ science to fill non-linear gaps Diminishing impact of socio-economic policy triggers pattern recognition of complexity
  6. 6. 2.1 ‘Plectics’ – A History… ‘Greater Than the Sum of Its Parts…’ © Alexander Knapp, 2014 - All Rights Reserved. alexander@knapp.net “It is a wonderful feeling to recognize the unity of a complex of phenomena that to direct observation appear to be quite separate things.” - Albert Einstein Network of Sciences Nonlinearity Self-Organisation Emergence Systems Theory Networks Co-evolution
  7. 7. 2.2 Nonlinearity Have You Ever Noticed… © Alexander Knapp, 2014 - All Rights Reserved. alexander@knapp.net “For the want of a nail the shoe was lost, For the want of a shoe the horse was lost, For the want of a horse the rider was lost, For the want of a rider the battle was lost, For the want of a battle the kingdom was lost, And all for the want of a horseshoe- nail.” - Benjamin Franklin Unintended Consequences – The best of plans lose effectiveness over time, or generate random results Paralysis by Analysis – The eventual collapse of an effort due to fruitless attempts to map all variables ‘The Butterfly Effect’ – A small, ‘insignificant’ change is unpredictably magnified to have dramatic impact
  8. 8. 2.2 Nonlinearity Crystal Balls and Other Myths © Alexander Knapp, 2014 - All Rights Reserved. alexander@knapp.net “Ich kann nicht mehr um sieben eckern schildern.” [German] “I can’t see around more than seven corners.” Nonlinearity – An effect limiting predictability because variables in the system create exponential options for paths and results
  9. 9. 2.3 Self-Organisation Have You Ever Noticed… © Alexander Knapp, 2014 - All Rights Reserved. alexander@knapp.net “Making good judgments when one has complete data, facts and knowledge is not leadership – it’s bookkeeping.” - Dee Hock Birds Flying – Flocks of birds fly together in cohesive, elegant groups without any single agent giving direction Social Synchronisation – The gradual coordination of applause in an audience to a single rhythm Roundabouts – Application of fluid dynamics to complex traffic patterns without central control
  10. 10. 2.3 Self-Organisation …On the Other Side of Complexity © Alexander Knapp, 2014 - All Rights Reserved. alexander@knapp.net Third Law of Quantum Physics Inherent in the vastness and apparent chaos of the universe is a natural and tantalizingly simple order. Self-Organisation – A process where global order arises out of the chaotic local interactions without external control or direction Rule 1 – Maintain a constant speed; Rule 2 – Maintain a constant distance from other members; and Rule 3 – Avoid fixed objects. ?
  11. 11. 2.4 Emergence Have You Ever Noticed… © Alexander Knapp, 2014 - All Rights Reserved. alexander@knapp.net ‘The Ghost in the Machine’ Originally coined by British philosopher Gilbert Ryle as he describes René Descartes’ theory that the mind and body were separate entities. Now often used to refer to the emergent and unexplained phenomena in highly complex software and technological systems that can’t be traced to physical systems or lines of code. Crowd-Sourcing – The development, management, growth and evolution of the Wikipedia website Cities – No central planner ensures that there are sufficient tinned tomatoes in each neighbourhood Water Molecules – We understand oxygen, we understand hydrogen, they’re both gases. What makes water wet? ?
  12. 12. 2.4 Emergence ‘More Than the Sum…’ © Alexander Knapp, 2014 - All Rights Reserved. alexander@knapp.net Emergence has five characteristics: 1. Radical novelty (features not previously observed in systems); 1. Correlation or coherence (sustainable systems); 1. A global or macro “level” (there is some property of "wholeness"); 1. A dynamic process (it evolves); and 1. It is “ostensive” (it can be perceived) - Jeffrey Goldstein, Emergence Emergence – A process whereby larger entities, patterns, and regularities arise through interactions among smaller or simpler entities that themselves do not exhibit such properties
  13. 13. 2.5 System Theory Have You Ever Noticed… © Alexander Knapp, 2014 - All Rights Reserved. alexander@knapp.net “Science is facts; just as houses are made of stones, so is science made of facts; but a pile of stones is not a house and a collection of facts is not necessarily science.” - Henri Poincare Restaurant Popularity – A ‘hidden’ treasure gradually becomes too popular, and quality drops Government Policy – Reactive legislation/regulation swings from one extreme to another ineffectively Guerrilla Combat – Two people with different temperature preference in one flat (or in one bed)
  14. 14. 2.5 System Theory The ‘Ideal’ Home Temperature © Alexander Knapp, 2014 - All Rights Reserved. alexander@knapp.net Gwilym Jenkins summarises systems analysis: 1. A complex grouping of human beings and machines; 2. Able to be broken into sub- systems; 3. With interaction between sub- system inputs and outputs; 4. And part of a network of systems; 5. Having an overall objective; 6. Designed in a way capable of meeting its overall objective. Governance Input Process Output Feed- Forward Feed- Back Monitoring Goal or Objective – ‘Warmer’, ‘Colder’, Exactly 17°Thermostat – How close is the temperature to target?Feed-Forward – Set the target temperatureInput – Gas from the mains to the furnaceProcess – Burn the gas to heat the waterOutput – Pump the water to the radiatorsFeed-Back – The change in temperature experienced
  15. 15. 2.6 Networks Have You Ever Noticed… © Alexander Knapp, 2014 - All Rights Reserved. alexander@knapp.net “My people! I must hasten to follow them, for I am their leader.” - Ted Olson ‘Away Message’ Resonance – Bouncing automated E-mails eventually overwhelm and crash a network ‘Six Degrees of…’ – Weak ties among global nomads skew modern social networks from “6” to… Modern Satellite TV – Pay £100 per month to get 800+ channels and there’s still nothing to watch 2.7
  16. 16. 2.6 Networks © Alexander Knapp, 2014 - All Rights Reserved. ‘Vertices’ and ‘Edges’ alexander@knapp.net “In the past, an innovation’s momentum indicated significance. Now, in the network environment, where biological behaviour reigns, significance precedes momentum.” - Kevin Kelley Density (D) - The ratio of the number of edges (E) to the number of possible edges Size (N) - The number of nodes (N) or, less commonly, the number of edges (E) Average Path Length (P) - The average number of steps from one member of the network to another Clustering Coefficient (C) - The ratio of existing links to the possible number of links from a node Diameter (L) - The longest of all the paths between all nodes in a network (as if it were ‘unravelled’) Network – The study of complex interacting systems represented as graphs demonstrating directionality and influence Density (D) – Health of customer ‘community’ Size (N) – Number of customers/clients Path Length (P) – Distance from advertising source Clustering (C) – Power customers (Pareto) Diameter (L) – Market penetration, reach Network Theory: Marketing
  17. 17. 2.7 Co-evolution Have You Ever Noticed… © Alexander Knapp, 2014 - All Rights Reserved. alexander@knapp.net "The Net interprets censorship as damage and routes around it.” - John Gilmore Workspace ‘Workarounds’ – Employees will display incredible innovation and effort to obviate frustrating systems and policies Internet Spam – Adapts in form, content, media to emerging targets, opportunities and defenses Price ‘Wars’ – One grocery lowers prices on gin, a second matches it, but raises prices on tonic and lime
  18. 18. 2.7 Co-evolution Market Forces © Alexander Knapp, 2014 - All Rights Reserved. alexander@knapp.net “Any real change implies the breakup of the world as one has always known it, the loss of all that gave one an identity, the end of safety.” - James Baldwin Co-evolution – A process where the development of one entity is dependent on the adaptation of others in the same ecosystem
  19. 19. 2.1 ‘Plectics’ – A History… ‘Greater Than the Sum of Its Parts…’ © Alexander Knapp, 2014 - All Rights Reserved. alexander@knapp.net “It is a wonderful feeling to recognize the unity of a complex of phenomena that to direct observation appear to be quite separate things.” - Albert Einstein Network of Sciences Nonlinearity Self-Organisation Emergence Systems Theory Networks Co-evolution
  20. 20. “You think because you understand ‘one’ you must also understand ‘two’, because one and one equals two. But you must also understand ‘and’ and ‘equals’.” - Rumi 1.8 Session Three: Tools From “What?” to “How?” © Alexander Knapp, 2014 - All Rights Reserved. alexander@knapp.net The world isn’t getting more complex…instead, our understanding of its complexity is getting more complete. Tools can turn complex systems from destructive to constructive, but they all start by admitting we never had control in the first place.
  21. 21. Session Two - Complexity in Focus © Alexander Knapp, 2014 - All Rights Reserved. alexander@knapp.net Questions?
  22. 22. Regent’s University - MACL Sense-Making in a Complex World Wickedness at Work – Complex System Theory Alexander Knapp Visiting Lecturer, International Relations, Business and Strategy

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