Jean G. Boulton



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Embracing Complexity Strate...

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“Wishing the world was predictable an controllable does not make it so, and it might make us disregard what is actually happening”
Jean G. Boulton

“What is easy to miss in saying all this is that embracing complexity can actually makes things easier, simpler, and more straightforward! How much time gets spent by organizations making cases, forming detailed plans, completing analyses, and demonstrating outcomes? How much of this really gets to the heart of the situation and really determines either what to do or what has been done? Perhaps less planning but more experimentation would be not only more effective but also simpler? Perhaps more focus on the initial selecting of good professionals, allowing them more autonomy to respond more effectively to the situations they are facing, would be less time consuming than the considerable efforts put in by managers to direct, measure, and control their performance. If the world is complex, then acting congruently with that complexity can be simpler than trying to control a machine that does not exist.”
Jean G Boulton, Embracing Complexity: Strategic Perspectives for an Age of Turbulence

“First, adaptability and resilience require diversity, variation, and fluctuations. Allen (2001) describes the need for this redundancy (that is, having more options or pathways that are necessary to function like a machine) as the law of excess diversity. He is saying that unless there are more pathways or options (called degrees of freedom by mathematicians) than are required to operate efficiently, there is no resilience to changing circumstances. However much diversity seems requisite (Ashby, 1956) for a system to function at a given time, more than this will be required to cope with what is likely to happen in the future.”
Jean G Boulton, Embracing Complexity: Strategic Perspectives for an Age of Turbulence



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