Thursday, November 13, 2008

Managing Complexity - It's tricky

If things are simple, then they are obvious to all; if they are more complex it's too easy for us to fool ourselves we've devined them. It's easy for me, it's easy for a group, and it's easy to do it on a global scale - everybody's heard of the 2008 credit-crunch. Yes?

Here's some instances of managing, or miss-managing, complexity.
  • Entrenched Scientific Error
  • Economic Rationalism
  • Managerialism
  • NP-Completeness
  • Freakonomics
  • Lean 6 Sigma and Statisical Process Control
I hope to discuss all of these and more as part of this blog.

What Mathematicians and Physics Have Taught us about Complexity
  • Attempting to develop all Maths from something as certain as set theory and formal logic, we discovered we going have to live with inconsistencies (Bertrand Russel)
  • Investigating and Analysing the wholy deterministic physical world, only to discover that when we get down to the quantum level, we have to accept it actually isn't absolutely deterministic at all (Hiesenberg, Schrödinger)
What's disappointing, is that it seems these maths / scientific disciplines learnt the lessons a long time ago, but modern mass culture makes the mistakes, en masse, and often quotes the scientific disciplines as "proof" for their conjucture. Also, we take something like economic markets, where we probably shouldn't expect to be able to easily manage the complexity, and everybody buys the snake oil that it's easy to manage, and we just need to trust these clever folk to manage it all. Big mistake.

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