The Third of the Grand Revolutions

There’s a lot of talk about the Digital Revolution and the effects it had, has, might have. Let’s take a step back to put things into perspective: Could it be that this revolution is a lot larger than we usually think? Are we currently experiencing the beginnings of a major transformation not only of our technological base, but of the very […]

The limits of complexity

In our daily lives, we are engulfed with complexity. It is all around us: just think about business transactions, global trade, health care systems, jet engines, the energy grid, the tax code, computers, … Many would even add the remote control of their stereo or the radio in their car to that list.  Yet despite that almost permanent […]

Different scales, different purposes, all intertwined

Complex adaptive systems exists at different scales, both spatial and temporal. As Lance Gunderson and Crawford Holling described it, those different scales form of structure of nested adaptive cycles. To make this idea a bit more tangible, let’s take weather and climate: we are all exposed to the very local patterns every minute we are outdoors; we take into […]

Opposing objectives

The front–loop of the adaptive cycle is very present in our daily experience, no wonder that it dominates our thinking as well. It’s the place where we are most comfortable, where we want to be. Continued growth and the accumulation of resources create an impression that all change is positive, that all change is progress: your business model is […]

The downsides of a front–loop focus

The depiction of the adaptive cycle as the lying eight has many compelling arguments in its favour. And still it is far from intuitive. While the pessimists have an inclination to look for the downsides in life, and thus can more easily reconcile their view of the world with the existence of the adaptive cycle with […]