Complex Systems, Complexity, Chaos Theory,Complex Adaptive Systems,Complexity and Strategy,Organisational Change,Self Organisation,Complex Systems and Knowledge Creation,Brain,Mind,Complex Systems Resources,Complexity and Chaos Resources,Organisational Form, Complexity Theory,Consultancy


I went to Berlin last month with my daughter Vicki and our respective partners. It is somewhere I’ve always wanted to go, we stayed in what was East Berlin and had a fantastic experience. One of the reasons I wanted to go was to see the Berlin Wall (not that there is much left know) because it is one of the examples I use to demonstrate complexity theory.

It is a classic example of self organizing. When the conditions in East Germany changed slightly, in that many of the border guards were moved to the southern border because people were leaving in droves via Hungary, the people of East Berlin found they could gather in groups freely and they decided that they wished to pull down the wall. And they did with no leaders, no rulers, mo systems or processes and as they did more and more people joined them. If only we could harness that power in our organizations – but we can if we can only learn to let go!

New Members

What a coincidence, when I returned from Berlin there was an e-mail message waiting for me from Holger Nauheimer who lives in Berlin. Holger specializes in change management and he publishes a regular free newsletter containing specific tools that we can all use. If you want to know more or would like to receive his newsletter then visit his web site

Another new member is Jessica Mura who is preparing an undergraduate thesis about support techniques to decisional processes emerging by complexity theories. She is particularly interested in complexity application in decisional process, so it would be very useful to her if you could suggest where she could find some decision support tools developed from complexity theories.

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I have had the following books recommended to me recently;-

Frances Storr recommends ‘The Tipping Point’ by Malcolm Gladwell. “It's really
interesting. Although it doesn’t mention complexity specifically but is about how
do you know which small changes will feed back on them selves and get
bigger. Couched in real world examples such as New York state policing.”

Marilyn Herasymowych recommends an interesting book that explores the "Why We're so Nice" theme and the effect of prisoner's dilemma on human society over millennia. It is "Non-Zero" by Robert Wright.

David Somerville has recommended ‘The Sixth Sense’ by Kees van der Heijden and others. It is about accelerating organisational learning with scenarios. Although scenarios are not new this book looks at them from an organisational learning and hence complexity perspective.

Also I have bought Stephen Wolfram’s book ‘A new Kind of Science’. It is a hefty tome and when I’ve waded through it I’ll let you know what I think.


A useful site is which I found via Holger Nauheimer’s site. It links to a variety of sites to do with chaos and complexity.

In previous newsletters I have mentioned Spiral Dynamics, for those who are interested in knowing more this is the site for you.


There is an interesting article in the Journal of Knowledge Management Vol 4 Issue 3 by Mark W. McElroy. Its abstract reads;-

Chronicles the unfolding convergence of thinking and practice behind knowledge management, organizational learning and complexity theory. Of particular interest are the roles that knowledge management and complexity theory play in this impending consilience of ideas. On the one hand, knowledge management is anxious to rid itself of its overly technology-centric reputation in favor of promoting the role it can play in furthering organizational learning. On the other, complexity theory, a confident solution in search of unorthodox problems, has discovered its own true place in the world, an explanation for the means by which living systems engage in adaptive learning - the seminal source of social cognition in living systems.


Courtesy of Dave Gurteen’s newsletter

"Marketing is starting and spreading combustible conversations"
Doc Searles

"Communications is Human Nature; Knowledge Sharing is Human Nurture."
Alison Tucker

And Finally for this Edition

When I was about 6 years old my parents took me to Battersea Funfair and my Dad took me on a ride which was a train on track in the shape of a letter B. The train had two steering wheels and I was sitting in front of one and my Dad the other. As we set of I was steering like crazy because I was convinced I was in control of the train, but my Dad just sat there doing nothing. I was getting really cross with him because I thought I was doing all the work. Isn’t that like the organizations we work in, loads of people frantically operating control mechanisms which actually have no effect on what is really happening when we should just be sitting back and looking for the patterns.

That’s all for this month, please e-mail me with anything of interest.