- Published: Thursday, 25 February 2016 12:00
My last blog was all about ants. It touched on step changes, which allow for an increase in complexity within a system, and the importance of structure. In ant colonies simple rules guide members within an interactive feedback system, without higher level decision making or guidance.
So what did we learn from ants? Well, they are highly interconnected which helps information to flow around the system so that the system can continually adjust. The ants maximise their search efficiency by communicating and then changing their movement patterns – responding to each other, their environment and to other systems. The fancy word for this is a Complex Adaptive System.
This means that the colony system is more than just the sum of its parts. The behaviour of the collective whole emerges from the different behaviours of each individual and their relationship to each other. Think about a water particle in the ocean. Look at it on its own and you can’t see much potential, but when a wave forms you can see a greater pattern emerge from the behaviour of many small particles. This is emergence.
Working in emergence is exciting! It lets us explore how we might grow and change into new areas. As an organisation, we want to exist in the space known as the edge of chaos, where there is maximum creativity, potential and adaptability but also stability.
We use Lean philosophy as a collection of guiding principles to achieve this. The Lean principles are the support pillars so that when change occurs, we can adapt and things don’t crumble. Lean philosophy is the way that we think about structure, relationships and processes in the constantly evolving world of Complex Adaptive Systems.
The most exciting part is that a Complex Adaptive System on the edge of chaos can become a system that can learn for itself and uses its own momentum as the fuel for growth. That means that there are no limits to the possibilities of what we can achieve.
The video below explores the Edge of Chaos a little bit further.
- Frank, CEO -