Complex Adaptive Systems

Why KPIs are not the answer for complex systems (part 1)

There's a saying in politics: "When you are sick to the teeth of repeating a message, people are just starting to hear it". By that yardstick, Simon Guilfoyle would make a great politician. For 30 months straight he has maintained a blog with one overriding theme: that numerical targets create dysfunctional behaviour and should be eliminated.

Targets and KPIs are so ingrained into the management mindset that it never occurs to many people to question their necessity. This applied to me too: When I first heard Simon's message, I felt that such a blanket condemnation couldn't be justified. However, after a short conversation with Simon, he completely won me over.

[Read about why Simon's right]

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Our expertise in complex systems analysis, combined with a deep understanding of technology and modern, agile management and leadership techniques makes knowquestion uniquely positioned to find strategic solutions to your tough problems. Contact us today.

ICT is not always a source of productivity

One of the commonly-held beliefs of managers is that productivity improvements can be best done through the development and implementation of new or upgraded ICT systems. The McKell Productivity Report (2012) writes:

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Our expertise in complex systems analysis, combined with a deep understanding of technology and modern, agile management and leadership techniques makes knowquestion uniquely positioned to find strategic solutions to your tough problems. Contact us today.

Launch of knowquestion workshops

knowquestion is proud to launch a series of workshops focusing on practical solutions to organisational problems. While grounded in Information Management and Knowledge Management theory, the workshops aim to fill skills gaps which are critical in order to deliver useful, compliant information systems and productive organisational outcomes. Jargon will be kept to a minimum with a focus on transferring skills that can be immediately put into practice.

Running in July and August 2013, these workshops are essential for managers and staff committed to delivering value, and improving their professional skills and craft.

[Details of the three types of workshops]

Did you know...

Our expertise in complex systems analysis, combined with a deep understanding of technology and modern, agile management and leadership techniques makes knowquestion uniquely positioned to find strategic solutions to your tough problems. Contact us today.

4 Disciplines for Online Discussions

In a recent exchange on the SIKM Leaders discussion board, Kate Pugh wrote a wonderful short piece on treating online discussions as "a team sport, where the goal is collective insight". You should read the whole piece, but this is my favourite part:

The four discussion disciplines are:

  1. Integrity (using your true voice and asking questions that are crisp and engaging)
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Our expertise in complex systems analysis, combined with a deep understanding of technology and modern, agile management and leadership techniques makes knowquestion uniquely positioned to find strategic solutions to your tough problems. Contact us today.

Classes of knowledge

It's always dangerous to try and classify "knowledge", a notoriously slippery and difficult concept. But if we treat knowledge as an enabler of purposeful action, it becomes easier to think about where and how knowledge becomes relevant.

[Read on to learn about foundational, situational, and cultural knowledge]

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Our expertise in complex systems analysis, combined with a deep understanding of technology and modern, agile management and leadership techniques makes knowquestion uniquely positioned to find strategic solutions to your tough problems. Contact us today.

Managing unknown risks

David Griffiths has a post struggling with how to correctly plan around low-probability, high-impact events (a.k.a. "black swans").

He writes:

... we can talk about historic data from past events, but implications and impact will not be transferable ... We can talk about frequency, but we cannot predict the next event or a likely time-frame for that event. We can raise awareness, but we offer nothing ‘tangible’.

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Our expertise in complex systems analysis, combined with a deep understanding of technology and modern, agile management and leadership techniques makes knowquestion uniquely positioned to find strategic solutions to your tough problems. Contact us today.

How to correct misinformation

We know that misinformation, once established, can be surprisingly hard to correct. Now there is research into how you can most effectively debunk misinformation.

See Skeptical Science for more – with a great printable diagram of how you can put the findings to work.

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Our expertise in complex systems analysis, combined with a deep understanding of technology and modern, agile management and leadership techniques makes knowquestion uniquely positioned to find strategic solutions to your tough problems. Contact us today.

Why the idea of complex systems matters

The difference between complex systems and ordinary systems is that complex systems are fundamentally indeterministic. A while ago, Joe Firestone explained why to me using our current understanding of quantum mechanics. Paraphrasing, the key point was that:

complex systems are deterministic on a multiverse level, but indeterministic from the point of view of any single universe.

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Our expertise in complex systems analysis, combined with a deep understanding of technology and modern, agile management and leadership techniques makes knowquestion uniquely positioned to find strategic solutions to your tough problems. Contact us today.

Everything old is new again: the 7 models of selling things

Over at Club Troppo, Ken Parish tentatively flagged the question of micropayments for access to online information (and specifically, news) and promptly got shot down for his troubles.
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However, he did make me consider that the nature of most successful online business models are not some "brand new sales model". Rather, they lean on the oldest principles of commerce in existence.

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Our expertise in complex systems analysis, combined with a deep understanding of technology and modern, agile management and leadership techniques makes knowquestion uniquely positioned to find strategic solutions to your tough problems. Contact us today.

All organisations are pathological

David Griffiths wrote a provocative article about how predator-prey relationships enable the rich biodiversity of complex ecosystems, and the need for predators in organisations.

I would argue that organisations differ from ecosystems in the important respect that most people have the ability to leave whenever they wish. (The word "most" is significant here, as will be shown.)

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Our expertise in complex systems analysis, combined with a deep understanding of technology and modern, agile management and leadership techniques makes knowquestion uniquely positioned to find strategic solutions to your tough problems. Contact us today.