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Generative Systems Design
Complex Adaptive Systems, Process Design, Adaptive Push Back, Antifragility, Dynamic Organization, Autopoiesis
Curated by Anne Caspari
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All Systems Need A Little Disorder

All Systems Need A Little Disorder | Generative Systems Design | Scoop.it

Managing complex adaptive systems (CAS) is a constant balancing act between many goals that are often in conflict with each other. Most systems need to be managed to limit resource usage i.e. they need to be efficient. The mantra of efficiency is most visible in economic systems but even other systems such as biological systems cannot typically get away with profligate wastage of resources. But efficiency is not enough. Systems also need to be robust. There is no point in achieving optimal efficiency if the first change in environmental conditions causes the system to collapse. Robustness is not just about avoiding collapse and persisting. Robustness is the ability of a system to maintain critical functionality in the face of significant stress.

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Defining and Modeling Complex Adaptive Systems

Defining and Modeling Complex Adaptive Systems | Generative Systems Design | Scoop.it
Almost all the critical problems of our time are problems of control and almost all of them concern complex adaptive systems. If we want to know more about our bodies, it is not just to increase knowledge but so that we can control our health.

 

CAS are  “systems that don’t yield compact forms of representation”1. In other words a complex system cannot be described by a simple set of equations. Why would this be the case? It is the “adaptive” nature of these systems that leads to this intractability. Agents within the system respond to each set of environmental conditions within a complex adaptive system with a different set of responses and the number of such environments and their corresponding agent responses that need to be accounted for to construct an accurate model of the system is simply too large. But is this simply a problem of impracticality? Could we, at least in theory, construct a model that takes into account all possible environmental conditions and all possible agent behaviours? Although some scientists may argue that such an approach is theoretically possible, there is ample evidence that the critical “adaptive” component of some complex adaptive systems may in fact be unmodelable

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luiy's curator insight, March 18, 2013 1:12 PM
What Is A Complex Adaptive System?

The first question that then needs to be answered is: What is a complex adaptive system? David Krakauer defines complex systems as “systems that don’t yield compact forms of representation”1. In other words a complex system cannot be described by a simple set of equations. Why would this be the case? As Krakauer notes, it is the “adaptive” nature of these systems that leads to this intractability. Agents within the system respond to each set of environmental conditions within a complex adaptive system with a different set of responses and the number of such environments and their corresponding agent responses that need to be accounted for to construct an accurate model of the system is simply too large. But is this simply a problem of impracticality? Could we, at least in theory, construct a model that takes into account all possible environmental conditions and all possible agent behaviours? Although some scientists may argue that such an approach is theoretically possible, there is ample evidence that the critical “adaptive” component of some complex adaptive systems may in fact be unmodelable. There is no better example of this than the problems faced by the economist Hyman Minsky in formalising many of his most important ideas.

Luciano Lampi's curator insight, March 19, 2013 9:02 AM

Interesting to read!

Léonne Willems's curator insight, March 25, 2013 4:27 PM

Another way to think about environmental influences at the source of tensions at work (as opposed to individual lack of employee performance or motivational problems). Are these 'tensions' actually symptoms of a system out of balance? Are these tensions the real gems for organisational steering? Check out how Holacracy capitalises just on that!