'Antifragile' is a celebration of risk and randomness and a call to arms to recognize and embrace antifragility.
Many readers misunderstand Taleb’s core message. They assume that because Taleb writes about unseen and improperly calculated risks, his objective must be to reduce or eliminate risk. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Antifragile is a celebration of risk and randomness and a call to arms to recognize and embrace antifragility.
Rather than reduce risk, organize your life, your business or your society in such a way that it benefits from randomness and the occasional Black Swan event.
Taleb’s own life is a case in point. He had the free time to write Fooled, The Black Swan and Antifragile because—in his own words—he made “F___ you money” during the greatest Black Swan event of our lifetimes, the 1987 stock market crash.
...Taleb’s trading style is antifragile, had the 1987 crash never happened, Taleb would not have been materially hurt. His trading style puts little at risk but allows for outsized returns.
Complex adaptive systems are all around us. Most things we take for granted are complex adaptive systems, and the agents in every system exist and behave in total ignorance of the concept but that does not impede their contribution to the system. Complex Adaptive Systems are a model for thinking about the world around us not a model for predicting what will happen. I have found that in nearly all situations I can view what is happening in Complex Adaptive Systems terms and that this opens up a variety of new options which give me more choice and more freedom.
We have found in both our research and consulting that those who hope to launch collective impact efforts often expect that the process begins by finding solutions that a collective set of actors can agree upon. In fact, developing a common agenda is not about creating solutions at all, but about achieving a common understanding of the problem, agreeing to joint goals to address the problem, and arriving at common indicators to which the collective set of involved actors will hold themselves accountable in making progress. It is the process that comes after the development of the common agenda in which solutions and resources are uncovered, agreed upon, and collectively taken up. Those solutions and resources are quite often not known in advance. They are typically emergent, arising over time through collective vigilance, learning, and action that result from careful structuring of the effort. If the structure-specific steps we have discussed here are thoughtfully implemented, we believe that there is a high likelihood that effective solutions will emerge, though the exact timing and nature cannot be predicted with any degree of certainty. This, of course, is a very uncomfortable state of being for many stakeholders.
And yet staying with this discomfort brings many rewards.
A previously unnoticed evidence-based practice, movement, or resource from outside the community is identified and applied locally.Local individuals or organizations begin to work together differently than before and therefore find and adopt new solutions.A successful strategy that is already working locally, but is not systematically or broadly practiced, is identified and spread more widely.
Anne Caspari's insight:
“When you are moving towards an objective, it is very important to pay attention to the road. It is the road that teaches us the best way to get there, and the road enriches us as we walk its length.”
Finally an article on CAS that focuses on the right Process Design features. Good.
Folks who do systems analysis have a great belief in "leverage points." These are places within a complex system (a corporation, an economy, a living body, a city, an ecosystem) where a small shift in one thing can produce big changes in everything.
The systems community has a lot of lore about leverage points. Those of us who were trained by the great Jay Forrester at MIT have absorbed one of his favorite stories. "People know intuitively where leverage points are. Time after time I've done an analysis of a company, and I've figured out a leverage point. Then I've gone to the company and discovered that everyone is pushing it in the wrong direction!"
1. Sticking together; cohering.2. Marked by an orderly, logical, and aesthetically consistent relation of parts: a coherent essay.3. Physics Of, relating to, or having waves with similar direction, amplitude, and phase that are capable of exhibiting interference.
This link between Daoism and Complexity theory adds credence to the idea that the Chinese mind is conducive to a Complexity approach to whole systems.
I will conclude by coming firmly off the fence: if the Chinese (as a nation and as a race) master Complexity theory in their business, economic and political lives then they will make a true “great leap forward”. It is tempting to paint a picture of China as communist, autocratic, non-democratic, etc. This is not necessarily wrong but as a civilisation, communism has been just a recent blip. How people cognitively frame things is very deeply rooted and Complexity theory looks like a technical and intellectual counterpart to how they think already, broadly speaking.
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