Complexity

The motion of Heavenly Bodies

Busy writing proposals today - a series of workshops on leadership, collaboration and culture; an exploration of national attitudes in Africa; and a debate on the role of narrative in defence and military operations. ... A perfect piece for distinguishing between the Complicated world, where prediction and analysis apply, and the Complex world, which relies instead on understanding where the emergent patterns of a system might lead next.

By Tony Quinlan, ago
Complexity

The weight of cattle – an extruded parable…

Whenever I'm lucky enough to teach (DC next week for anyone who's interested and Amsterdam in early February), one of the key points we cover on the Cognitive Edge Practitioner Foundations at the moment derives from James Suriowecki's "The Wisdom of Crowds". It's how when using large groups of experts the average answer is better than any single answer, iff: a) every respondent is knowledgeable about the subject; and b) answers are given independently, without seeing others' answers.

By Tony Quinlan, ago
Cognitive Edge

First, do no harm…

For example, I sat watching a group looking at intervening in a natural disaster situation - extremely effective, intelligent people coming up with interventions that would be "safe": funding local villages to find their own water (on the basis that they may know about natural resources, but didn't have the wherewithal to transport it). ... The upshot is that, for all the fear of the "f-word", safe-to-fail probes are relatively simple to produce: Do no harm Make them low-resource Make them situation-relevant (much easier if you have narrative material coming in) Monitor them Increase the diversity of people looking at the problem

By Tony Quinlan, ago
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