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complex adaptive systems thinking

For example, a wicked problem might be world hunger, yet there is enough food to feed the world (2640 kcal/person/day of per capita food availability), so this issue is resolvable. Complex adaptive systems thinking (CAST) is a different approach to analysis that takes into account the features and elements of a system, how they work together and how they influence each other. She is also a senior researcher at the Cabrera Research Lab. Let’s call them CAS (complex adaptive systems theories), and it will be mostly Cynefin plus relevant background theories that have informed it. Note that Wicked Problems are Complex Adaptive Systems too: they behave differently when repeating the same stimulus. This is because understanding the simple rules is not difficult, but understanding how the simple rules work is not possible without understanding complexity. Causing a sustainable change in a CAS is most effective at the level of the simple rules the agents act upon. On the other hand, Systems Thinking provides the insight that if we succeed to identify the agents and their simple rules, we will be able to find a successful scaled Scrum implementation. Most of us have never seen the Mona Lisa, a Picasso, a Van Gogh, or a Michelangelo. Here are a few examples of complex things that have relatively simple rules underneath. The term complex adaptive systems, or complexity science, is often used to describe the loosely organized academic field that has grown up around the study of such systems.Complexity science is not a single theory—it encompasses more than one theoretical framework and is highly interdisciplinary, seeking the answers to some fundamental questions about living, adaptable, changeable systems. In fact, we delay the point (aka the setpoint) where the system tips from one type of behaviour into another. If we focus on what systems thinking is we will have little hope of actually achieving it. Systems thinking is a complex adaptive system. In other words, the goal of their intervention is to change the behaviour of the CAS. Ole’s 1958 Lego patent (#3005282) states, “the principle object of the invention is to provide for a vast variety of combinations of the bricks for making toy structures of many different kinds and shapes.” And that was the magic of Lego—vast variety from simplicity. The agents act locally: everybody focuses on his neighbour. We'll further explain how they function dynamically as rules in the next chapter. The largest human wave consists of 80,000 people acting as a single superorganism with no leadership, all following one simple rule: do what the person to your left does: when they stand, you stand. Humans are complex adaptive systems, which means that applying the same stimuli on the system will yield different emergent behaviour. In this section, the concepts and techniques involved in the proposed conceptual scientific model are presented and discussed. A thing or idea can simultaneously be a distinct thing, a perspective, a part of a larger whole and a relationship. One of the most important insights about DSRP is that it represents four cognitive functions that you must have just to form ideas. For a brief introduction to Conway's Game of Life, watch below. Systems thinking is a broad paradigm concerned with inter-relationships, perspectives and boundaries (Williams and Hummelbrunner, 2011). For example, there are 318 billion possible ways to play the first four moves. Yet our minds are not beyond making up a cause to relieve the itch of an unexplained effect. Systems thinking is not a process but an outcome—it is an ends, not a means. Basics of systems thinking 3. The dog is a complex adaptive systems (or CAS), in that it adapts its behavior to better navigate its environment. Look at how quickly millions of birds pivot from all moving left to all moving right. The longer-term effects that are also triggered by the intervention are not perceived to be related. In the upcoming Systems Thinking episode I will talk about the human CAS and our learning capabilities being one of our emergent properties. Otherwise, it's just plain old thinking, with all its sundry biases and issues. Because of four simple colors—Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Black, or CMYK. What makes these four simple colors amazing isn’t that they are the most beautiful; a world painted in only these four colors alone would be monotonous. Complex Adaptive Systems and Agent-Based Modeling proved to be a potent combination of paradigms to address … When the number of items in the sprint is lowered to an insane minimum, the team morale goes up. At the basis of any emergent behaviour of a CAS, each agent follows a simple set of rules. What we know about complex systems is that underlying their complexity are simple rules. For example, systems-as-cause and closed loop thinking allow members to better understand causality and change that is not linear and always predictable (Richmond, 2000). People knew that if the manager invited you “to have a coffee”, this probably meant you were either fired or moved to another team. But most of us have never seen the real thing. We now know that underlying complex adaptive systems are simple rules. It is revered as a complex game, causing us to bestow grandmasters with the title of genius, yet it is a game a child can learn to play at an early age. During the course of this conflict with Mr. Miagi, he realizes he has been taught four simple movements that underlie all of the strikes, kicks, and blocks that make up karate. Strange? © 2020 Roland Flemm made with by Studio nulelfzeven. The process of systems thinking results in a product: mental models. As one American diplomat recently reflected: “from climate change to the coronavirus, complex adaptive systems thinking … Scaling is a larger system that encapsulates local operating Scrum teams. The mental model they need is that underneath complex things are simple rules. CAS is a class of systems whose macroscopic behavior emerges from self-organized local interactions of their elements, such as actors … Let’s revisit the idea that systems thinking, at its core, posits that the problems we face—the wicked problems we’d most like to resolve—are most often attributable to the mismatch between the way real-world systems work and the way we think they work. In other words, when we ask ourselves how we can become better systems thinkers it is important to realize that systems thinking is an emergent property. Dr. Macal explains that complex adaptive systems are networks of dynamic interactions and that emergency managers need to be “systems thinkers” to be more effective. Implementing value-driven metrics is a good example of effective leadership decision taken at the autonomous agent level. There’s a relatively simple formula for these complex adaptive systems: autonomous agents follow simple rules based on what’s happening locally around them, the collective dynamics of which lead to the emergence of the complex behavior we see. These types of systems–seen across the physical, natural and social sciences in flocks, schools of fish, traffic patterns, ant colonies and across the spectrum of nature land human society–baffled scientists because it was unclear how the group behavior occurred in the absence of a leader. If leaders want to change the behaviour of their organisations, they need to find the simple basic rules the agents follow and influence the rules at the agent level. In my previous episodes of this series on Systems Thinking, I elaborated on what systems Thinking is and on the Wicked Problems Systems Thinking is trying to solve. I noticed that whenever there was a problem with a team, he responded by explaining Scrum and started drawing posters. But there’s simply not enough time for communication to occur between the leader and the follower, nor enough time for the signal to spread. A complex adaptive systems (CAS) approach means stepping away from reductionist thinking and accepting that within a social-ecological system, several connections are occurring at the same time … Figure 2.17 illustrates the basic idea behind all complex systems—that simple rules and agents lead to collective behavior and emergence. Systemic design –linking systems thinking and design 4. In complex adaptive systems, there is no simple method for understanding the whole by studying the parts, so searching for simple agent-level causes of system-level effects is useless. 3. Distinctions in the Systems Thinking Landscape The field of systems thinking … At the time, he was out of work because of the Depression and decided to build wooden toys in Denmark. Each time, it follows the same laws of physics. If we drive our car faster, we will be transported faster (limited to the system boundaries of the car itself). Underlying all of the complex and adaptive biodiversity of life itself is simplicity. 1 min read, 14 Oct 2020 – PrepTalks. In 1947, Ole got samples of a plastic brick invented and patented (“self locking building bricks”) by Mr. Hilary “Harry” Fisher Page in Britain, and began creating the automatic binding bricks which we know today as Lego Bricks, a name that originated in 1953. We've discovered that once people understand that simplicity underlies complexity, deep understanding and success in systems thinking v2.0 is a breeze. Systems thinking tells us to look at the system as a whole, and not to analyse its parts. The focus on Complex Adaptive Systems is closely identified with this notion of changes in behavior over time, which relates to an important aspect of dynamic complexity: evolving complexity. Thank you Roland for another great and enlightening article. It is written in the book “Handbook of Systems and Complexity” that complexity thinking is a change of mindset away from understanding the whole … 1) A quest for certainty? This is a common pattern of a CAS: After applying a fix, the problem disappears but pops up again later. The result was a low degree of team gel, a high degree of distrust and a company that had problems retaining its employees. With just 6 unique pieces (sixteen total per side) and a simple set of local rules, perhaps nothing captures the complexity-simplicity paradigm better than chess. Conway developedConway's Game of Life, a cellular automata that animated complex adaptive systems for generations of people. There are 1.7 x 1029 possibilities for the first 10 moves. This set of simple rules creates emergent behaviour. One where the interactions and relationships of different components simultaneously affect and are shaped by the system. One where the interactions … It doesn’t change. However, if we understand what are the relevant parts and how they interact in the system, we can change the simple rules of interaction underpinning the complex behaviour and the emergent behaviour of the whole system will change permanently. Let’s take a look at a video online to illustrate this as there’s simply no way to experience it in writing. Perspectives Rule: Any thing or idea can be the point or the view of a perspective. We don’t think of simplicity as a good thing. It is based on the recognition that the world’s human and natural systems are non-linear, characterised by complex … Some examples of CAS in the context of Scrum are: the Scrum team, the team members, scaling Scrum, zombie Scrum, the IT department, management, customers, markets, etc. The reason we can't solve world hunger is because we don't have a mental model that accounts for the social, economic, political, motivational, and cultural issues that shape the problem. Systems thinking is an important way of approaching complex phenomena today. Nurturing & supporting systems thinking … When we take a systems thinking v2.0 perspective, we think like individual soldiers and rely on the collective dynamics of the system to emerge. Organizations aren't just organizations—they're complex adaptive systems. Wicked Problems Systems Thinking is trying to solve. There are many different interaction types… Systems thinking and complex adaptive systems share a number of components, namely: emergence, self-organization, and hierarchies of interacting systems. Humans do this, too. If systems thinking is an emergent property, then those aspiring to be better systems thinkers must focus their efforts where they have influence: executing the simple rules. Y. Bar-Yam, Dynamics of Complex Systems, New England Complex System Institute, Cambridge, Mass, USA, 2003… As the last one (LP) is very known by the scientific community, it is not presented at this section but in the next. Looking forward to the next one! All syste… On the third kick the dog bites. Complex adaptive systems in healthcare organizations Complexity science belongs to newest systems thinking, which explore complex systems, also called CAS, by focusing on the system … Our post today is about complex adaptive systems (CAS), in memory of English mathematician and systems thinker John Conway who died on April 11, 2020 due to COVID-19. Although there is central management in companies, research shows (Hackmanin his book: Leading Teams and this article) that the effect of leaders on the performance of organisations is limited. Let's review the basic logic of the situation: Complexity theory tells us to look for the simple rules that underlie the complex and adaptive human behavior that we know as “thinking.” So what are the simple rules that underlie both the complex systems that make up the world and the way we think about those systems? What makes them special is that they interact together in a complex way that makes an infinite array of colors possible. When an intervention is not applied at the system level (we changed simple rules inside a part of a system and not at the systemic level), the system changes only temporary. Anything imaginable could be built. So systems thinking must be a form of thinking that is somehow qualitatively better at helping us build our mental models. These four rules do not operate in isolation, but in parallel. Your email address will not be published. Systems thinking and complex adaptive systems theories share a number of components, namely emergence, self-organization, and hierarchies of interacting systems. Complex adaptive systems thinking is an approach that challenges simple cause and effect assumptions, and instead sees healthcare and other systems as a dynamic process. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. Complexity thinking is increasingly being embraced in healthcare, which is often described as a complex adaptive system (CAS). The solution requires a deeper understanding of the varied systems that contribute to world hunger, and that can be difficult, but it is not the case that we need to transgress the laws of physics in order to solve the problem of world hunger. Applying CAS to healthcare as an explanatory model for … Kick a dog and it recoils. These types of systems are based on simple, local rules. In addition, thinking itself is a complex system, if not the most complex system known to mankind. When we think in systems with our old mindset, we think like a field commander perched on a hill trying to design and control the complex behavior we want to occur. A chess grandmaster understands the simple rules that combine into numerous possibilities in the game of chess. We seek to integrate these … So let's get started. If we greet a colleague every morning with a … Ole Kirk Christiansen, a carpenter, founded Lego in 1932. There are static systems like cars and complex systems like people for instance. RIP, Excerpt from the book: Systems Thinking Made Simple, Chapter 2. Remarkable. Looking at Scrum from the CAS perspective made me truly understand why “Scrum is simple to understand but difficult to master”. If we analyse and optimise its parts, it is unlikely the performance of the whole system will improve. There is a set of simple rules executed by all or most of the agents of the system. The next four pages provide a quick description for each of these four concepts as well as synonyms you will be familiar with. However, the lead time (time from idea to delivering working software) increases. Leaders apply a change to a CAS because they want to fix a problem. How do you look at a star-nosed mole rat or a seahorse or a giraffe or a platypus and not think: nature is really creative and has an amazing sense of humor. Understanding that Scrum is a CAS helps me to stop fast thinking and move to slow thinking to better understand the counter-intuitive actions that are required to fix Scrum problems sustainably. In a single team Scrum implementation, agents are the Scrum team members following a set of simple rules (the Scrum guide), generating collective dynamics (Scrum practices like using a Scrum board, having the Scrum events,…) that leads to complex emergent properties like self-organisation and problem-solving. But we sure do go bonkers when we see the beautiful biodiversity these four nucleotides can produce when mixed and matched by evolutionary processes. With all these systems as examples, it shouldn't be hard to imagine that something as adaptive and complex as systems thinking could also be predicated upon simple rules. Scrum is a CASSimple rules and agents lead to collective dynamics and emergent behaviour. 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It 's just plain old thinking, with all its sundry biases and issues complex systems are... ” ( CAS ), in that it represents four cognitive functions that must... Can be the point ( aka the setpoint ) where the system boundaries of the system of... On the system at the time, it would have difficulty thinking about even the most insights. Type of behaviour into another called a superorganism, a bunch of individual organisms that act like a organism...

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