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


This is just a brief newsletter because I wanted to send one before Christmas. Mind you I very nearly couldn't as just over a week ago my computer crashed and when the engineer looked at it he found that there was absolutely nothing on my hard drive - no data and no software - just completely blank. Luckily when they had reloaded my operating system and my software I found that my back up systems worked and I was able to recover nearly everything. Phew!! I will be much more diligent with my backing up in future.


There is a lot of interesting work going on in schools at the moment around the brain and thinking and I actually taught a lesson the other day in a school to thirteen and fourteen year olds as part of an Education Action Zone activity for the more able. It was part of an AS module on critical thinking, and it was a very refreshing experience.

In this context you might like to visit this site


Dissipative Structures - The complexity study group at the LSE

The next Study Group meeting will be with Professor Peter Allen on Wednesday 20 February 2002, between 10.30 and 16.30. Coffee will be available from 10.00 and the meeting will be held at the LSE. A small charge of £25 will be made to cover costs, which includes lunch. This can be paid on the day, but they would like to know as soon as possible whether you will be able to attend.
Peter Allen will talk about the notion of dissipative structures as developed by Ilya Prigogine. We will then ask for short contributions from participants. The objective will be to deepen our understanding on what dissipative structures are and whether they have any application to human systems.
If you wish to prepare a short note on your contribution, so that it can be circulated in advance, then please send it to by 1 February at the latest.
They will send you a background note on the topic once you have registered. A good book is 'Exploring Complexity' by Gregoire Nicolis and Ilya Prigogine, WH Freeman 1989. But please look at other references as well and bring them with you on 20 February.
Can you please let Slavica Savic ( know asap if you are able to attend. She will then send you details of the venue, the note and a map of the LSE if you need one.

Complex Adaptive Systems: Business Applications
The University of Iowa organised a seminar series, sponsored by the
Santa Fe Institute. A detailed report and downloadable article and resources can be accessed at:

Mass Customisation: Strategies and Enabling Technology
A Two Day Workshop on the 14th and 15th May, 2002
at Scarman House, University of Warwick
This workshop will explore the origins and concepts of mass customisation, and assess the strategic implications for manufacturing in terms of operations management and enabling technologies. For further information and a booking form visit:

Manufacturing Complexity Network Conference April 2002
Following the success of the Conference on Complexity and Complex Systems in
Industry at the University of Warwick in 2000, the Manufacturing Complexity
Network is organising its second conference. The conference will take place
at the Downing College of the University of Cambridge. For information
please visit:

Visit the Network Web Site @

Complexity Society

At a meeting at the Open University on Monday 3rd December 2001 the UK's
first Complexity Society was formed. The initiative was led by Professor
Peter Allen from Cranfield University and Dr Elizabeth McMillan from the
Open University. The Society is open to anyone or any organisation with
an interest in complexity science and its application. It aims to spread
understanding about complexity throughout all aspects of British society.
Founder members include business people, healthcare professionals,
consultants and academics.

There are plans for a journal, a web site, a prospectus, a conference in
2002, a major international conference in 2003, and meetings and events in
2002. If you are interested in joining one of the groups working on these
plans or in finding out more please contact Elizabeth McMillan.

Dr Elizabeth McMillan
Centre for Complexity & Change
Open University
Milton Keynes
UK code + 01908.858328

E-mail Address

My home e-mail address has now changed from the packardbell server to karoo, so if any of you are using my packardbell e-mail can you delete it please. The e-mail address to use is my work one In fact you can put anything before the @ and it will get to me!


One of the stories I often tell is about Copernicus.

In 1543 AD Copernicus revealed to the world his latest discovery, his finding was that contrary to what everyone thought, the Earth actually revolved around the Sun and not that the Sun revolved around the Earth. Despite all the evidence he produced, hardly anyone believed him and he was vilified as a heretic. His problem was that he was battling against centuries of conditioning and the common sense of the time because everyone saw every day that the sun did revolve around the earth, or so they thought. So just imagine what things we believe to be true today because we see them but in fact are not true.

Well, in this context I have been thinking about time. We all believe time to be linear because that is how we experience it, but the more I read about time particularly in relation to quantum physics the more it looks like it is just not true that time is linear. For an accessable introduction to this topic try Jenny Randles' book "Time Storms". You might want to skip the first part of the book and go straight to part two.

Any views welcome.

Merry Christmas

A very merry Christmas to you and a happy new year.

Back with you in 2002