The theme (in short) is the need to shift management methods (they use the word science, but I'll leave that alone for now) from the usual simplification of an assumed structured reality to accept and assimilate a complex reality.
Good is that, have noticed that complexity exists, and am reminded about that frequently when discussing enterprise systems with some of the big enterprise software vendors. That said I mostly see such uttering as an alternative to arguing.
Allow me to quote a part from their article:
"Today, advances in complexity science, combined with knowledge from the cognitive sciences, are transforming the field (scientific management) once again. Complexity is poised to help current and future leaders make sense of advanced technology, globalization, intricate markets, cultural change, and much more. In short the science of complexity can help all of us address the challenges and opportunities we face in a new epoch of human history."Promising much, lots of science involved I see.
Then they add some of the characteristics of complex systems (to which I agree fully, here the short version):
- Large number of parts.
- Large number of relationships.
- Non-linear relationships, ripple effects, dynamic.
- System has a history.
Although I agree heartily that assimilating complexity is of utmost importance, there is a small bump in the road:
Today we represent reality's parts and relationships in any recording method (paper or IT) by a roster of event and/or transaction reports.
Want to "know" a widget in the warehouse? Prepare to flip through folders - order sheet, shipping papers, transaction reports, reports, more reports. Parts represented by a stack of event reports, relationships by transaction reports (aka accounting) - in other words increasing the parts in the model (or record) far beyond the parts and relationships that exists in the reality. Bad move.
Allow me to put it more succinctly:
"How in Earth's name do anybody really think they can get a grip on complexity when the add complexity to complexity, usually called complicating things in the worst and most elaborate way??"
Sorry to say, quite the normal way to approach an issue - do not check the fundament just add "science" on top of any wobbliness. Start with the fundament first please.
(If you wonder, thingamy represents one-to-one for parts of any complex system and have precise multidimensional dynamic relationships. It's all about singular things as we say...)
p.s. Next time meeting my friends at the big enterprise systems developers and hear the "remember that business operations are very complex, leave that to us big chaps" I'll smugly retort with "selber schuld!" (your own fault!).
Will behave though when here at SAP's influencer summit in Boston, they again graciously cover my travel costs and they are really nice people.
But after all, what is not friends for if not to tell the truth? ;)