Sundry Links On Complexity

Complexity 3
Complexity 3 (Photo credit: michael.heiss)

Just forwarding a few links that build on the idea of coping with complexity, thresholds, emergence, and entropy which I’ve dipped my toe into here on this blog:


1) Following a tweet from John Hagel, this post on Forbes entitled Managing Complexity: The Battle Between Emergence and Entropy delineates the management of complexity as a tension between three processes: 1) design process, 2) emergent process, and 3) entropic process.


Money quote:


The more open the organisation is to external sources of energy, the easier it is to harness the forces of emergence rather than entropy.

2) Following a comment at the bottom of the aforementioned post, here’s another one entitled Managing Complexity, in which the author points out that the management of complexity requires leadership that goes beyond simply being able to execute well, but moreover must be able to develop adaptivity to that which is beyond prediction or control.


Money quote:


Simply getting a promotion does not make you a manager.  Until you are ready to take responsibility for that which you cannot control, you are just someone with a title, not a leader.

3) Finally, a post from Steven Strogatz, Dangerous Intersection, which I discovered thanks to a newsletter link from Ed Yong, gives a mathematical exposition of how thresholds are crossed and what occurs when the straw that broke the camel’s back is placed.


Money quote:


.  .  . the stage is set for catastrophe whenever a line intersects a folded curve tangentially.



Birkinshaw, J. (2013). Managing Complexity: The Battle Between Emergence and Entropy, Forbes. Retrieved from


Satell, G. (2013). Managing Complexity, Digital Tonto. Retrieved from


Strogatz, S. (2013). Dangerous Intersection, NY Times Opinionator. Retrieved from


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.