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


Although I have been very busy since the last newsletter, my efforts seemed to be largely confined to workshops and admin. I can recommend the Inland Revenue's Small Business Team who ran an excellent course on PAYE.

Cognitive Process Profiling

ASE have brought out new concept in profiling which uses a computer programme to assess how people approach and solve problems by analysing the (computer) mouse movements. This is then charted against 16 cognitive styles.

Although it is a totally new instrument, and refreshing because of that, the concentration is still on the individual rather than the relationships between the individuals (which is where complexity theory suggests we should concentrate).

More details at

Perverse Thinking

The ASE workshop referred to above did get me thinking about my own preferred cognitive style and I came to the conclusion that it is the perverse thinking style (which is not one of the 16 that ASE have identified)

Perverse thinking is about purposely looking at things backwards, such as
· Is the problem really a problem and what would it take to make our it aim
· If we treated our problem as our goal what would we do to achieve our goal (and it is surprising how many of our existing activities are bringing about the problem)
· If we are presented with a system/model/process what would happen if we ran it backwards
· List what would have to be true for the exact opposite of something we currently believe in to be true, and then identify how many of those points on the list are actually true

"I believe that in business that the truth is usually the exact opposite of what we believe to be true"
Dee W Hock founder of the Visa Corporation

"I believe that everything that I believe is probably not true"
Peter Fryer

Items from the Last Newsletter

The London School of Economics' ICoSS lauch was an excellent affair with a lot of rich new connections being made - especially for me. By chance Bill McKelvey (the world renowned complexity specialist from the University College of Los Angeles) was staying at the same hotel and had dinner with Frances Storr and I. We had a lively discussion about many aspects of complexity.

The Open University Conference was an interesting mix of items, which catered for the complexity novice as well as the initiated. One of the concepts raised (by Bill McKelvey actually) was that of the Benard Cell. I downloaded this description from the net:

The Benard cell
The "Benard instability" is another striking example of the instability of a stationary state giving rise to the phenomena of spontaneous self-organisation. The instability is due to a vertical temperature gradient set up in a horizontal liquid layer. The Benard instability is a spectacular phenomenon. The convection motion produced actually consists of the complex spatial organisation of the system. Millions of molecules move coherently, forming hexagonal convention cells of characteristic size.

So now you know! Answers please, on a postage stamp………

Out and About

I had a most interesting meeting with Arthur Batrum, the author of "Navigating Complexity" and we have agreed to collaborate on a couple of pieces of work including writing the Humberside TEC story for his next book. His web site can be viewed at

I also had a fascinating discussion with Raul Espeju at Lincoln University, and he challenged, in a supportive way, the experiences we had in Humberside TEC which enabled me to understand them from a higher level. He also introduced me to the metaphor of a glider for co-evolution, where the pilot is constantly co-evolving with her environment in order to stay in the air.

Finally, for this newsletter, I am currently reading a brilliant book - "Awareness" by Anthony De Mello. It is very thought provoking and is causing me to re-evaluate much of my approach to life. Although not about complexity, there are a considerable number of parallels to be found in the book.

Best wishes

Previous Page