Tag Archives: complexity

The Crowd, the Service, the Game and the Future (at the Institute for the Future)

A friend and colleague Jake Dunagan (@dunagan23) started an important initiative at the Institute for the Future called the Governance Futures Lab. I gave a lightning talk at the launch event (The Reconstitution Convention) about how we use foresight in the UAE.  It covers a bit of the history of the UAE and Dubai, about futures […]

Guest blogging at Cognitive Edge, Updated

I finished guest blogging at Dave Snowden’s Cognitive Edge site recently.  Go have a look and see what you think. So far I’ve blogged about: Foveal and Peripheral Vision Threats: What Kind of Threats Do We Face in the 21st Century? Learning to See the Unseen New Movement, New Mastery: Perceptual Dexterity in the 21st […]

Update from the Oxford Futures Forum, 2011

This week (April 18th) I attended the third Oxford Futures Forum at the Said Business School of Oxford University.  Among other things, the Forum aimed to: Forge and support an international community of future-minded practices aimed at actionable knowledge. It was a remarkable gathering of futures practitioners, young and old, with a partial list of […]

Eight Ideas for 21st-Century Risk Managers

UPDATE (April, 2011): The full article (“Gifts of Sight“) is now online at Risk Professional magazine.  It is behind a pay wall, but email me and I’ll send you a personal copy. I was recently asked to explain some of the concepts I use in my research to a journalist interested in new developments in […]

21st Century Causation

“There was no obvious connection, of course. There never was. Cause and consequence proliferated across the world like a network of fractal cracks, infinitely complex and almost impossible to predict. Explanations in hindsight were a different matter.”

Drawing a Better Panarchy Diagram

I am always on the lookout for good graphics and diagrams for my lectures on complexity and adaptive change. I often use the Panarchy cycle, which is a useful theoretical model for explaining how complex adaptive systems change over time.  The image above is from Garry Peterson‘s excellent page describing Panarchy and the Adaptive Cycle […]

On learning, collapse and the reduction of complexity

“…in its beginning it is easy to cure, but hard to recognize; whereas, after a time, not having been detected and treated at the first, it becomes easy to recognize but impossible to cure.” – Niccolo Machievelli In response to a Twitter conversation with Dave Snowden and Andrew Curry, regarding the need / possibility of […]

A DJ is not a conductor: Different design skills for different levels of complexity

Different levels of design complexity Peter Jones (@redesign) recently posted an excellent, considered conversation about different levels of design engagement, drawing on Richard Buchanan’s “Wicked Problems in Design” and GK VanPatter’s “four orders” of what we’re “designing for”. He links to a great (long) interview with GH VanPatter (of the NextDesign Leadership Institute), from which […]

Resilient, durable, or agile? Which metaphor for the future?

Much talk is made about resiliency as a social strategy in the face of uncertainty.  But is this the right metaphor for the 21st century? Resilient Resiliency is an often used term in climate, ecology and social sciences, taken to denote a sense of flexibility or endurance.  The dictionary defines resilience as the ability “to recoil or spring […]

Why the use of best practice can be dangerous and misleading

Best practices are a ridiculous way of learning about the world because their rote application is similar to sympathetic magic.  It’s like building a model of something, building a doll that has a likeness of something else, and hoping that the effects will transfer. Reproducing similar types of interventions in a different contexts is dangerous […]