The State of the Art
Complexity and Business
Knowledge Managment and Complexity

Where the new field complexity is promoted by an increasingly amount of researchers and practitioners, to be a promising landscape to innovate and find patterns useful in business. There are a lot of perspectives, aspects and thoughts that we would put in under this headline. But then we would bore you to death. But there are a few that been in our minds more then others. And the choice is yours to pick one or more and evaluate it.

Ernst&Yung Center for Business Innovation
Think that complexity science have much to give.

What they say about science of complexity and coupling to organization strategy, and the day-to-day activation.

The scientists but fully readable and very enjoyed newspaper Complexity by the producer John Wiley & Son's, Inc.
Executive Editor is John L Casti Santa Fe Institute.

Complexity Volume 3, Number 4, Pages 36-40 March 1998 
Copyright © 1998 © John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Christopher Meyer is Director of the Ernst & Young Center for Business Innovation, an applied research organization focused on the horizon of management thinking. As Director, Chris holds overall responsibility for ensuring that the Center’s research produces insights and innovative solution approaches for Ernst & Young consulting practitioners and clients. His own research interest is in the business applications of the new sciences of chaos and complexity, and particularly the management of the organization as a complex adaptive system. Chris and his colleagues designed this conference to promote a shared conversation among the managers, academics, and business commentators who are bringing the topic to the fore. 

Chris Meyer believes that recent discoveries about the nature of complexity and the phenomenon of self-organization will have a profound effect on how companies formulate strategy, inter-relate with other players in their industry, and organize themselves to compete—possibly the most profound shift they have undergone since the industrial revolution. In this introductory session, he suggests that business people will ultimately apply these lessons in operations, strategy, and management of the organization. Speakers at the conference are diverse group, with some offering ideas and predictions, others espousing theories, and still others explaining specific tools that are already proving useful. Today, it seems, we have many ideas about how management of the organization might change with a new perspective on it as a complex adaptive system. We have some excellent theories about how strategy might be better informed by a new view of the economy. But so far, we have actual tools in place only in the realm of operations. Signs are good, however, that we are pushing the envelope of theory and practice, and will see the emergence of practical tools for strategy and organization management. This conference is a launching point for ongoing research and development by the Ernst & Young Center for Business Innovation, which hopes to be a major contributor to that progress.

Stuart Kauffman´s own project, financed with E&Y CBI.

Stuart Kauffman is the leading thinker on self-organization and the science of complexity as applied to biology. He was formerly Professor of Bio-chemistry and Biophysics at the School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, and External Professor at the Santa Fe Institute. Professor Kauffman was awarded a John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Fellowship in 1987.

Understanding how complex adaptive systems relate to business begins with understanding something about complexity science. And understanding complexity science means appreciating why it is a revolutionary break from earlier thought. Author and educator Stuart Kauffman takes on the task of giving us that background in a single session. Thirty years of research have convinced him that the dominant view of biology—the theory of natural selection—is incomplete. It’s another source, he believes, that is the root of the order we see in our world: self-organization. Through its workings, order arises naturally and spontaneously (in fact, “for free”)—not simply through a process of selection among random mutations. The phenomenon of self-organization accounts for much in our world that cannot be explained purely by natural selection. The greatest contribution of complexity science is that it corrects for a tendency in science to be reductionist. To make problems soluble, scientists have worked ceaselessly to break complex systems into simple parts, and those in turn to simpler parts. The problem with the reductionist program is that, in the end, it leaves us without a theory of the whole. “The deep difficulty,” Kauffman writes, “lies in the fact that the complex whole may exhibit properties that are not readily explained by understanding the parts.” Such collective features, known to complexity scientists as “emergent properties”, are the all-important forest so often masked by trees.