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 […]

Adaptive cycles and innovation – first contact

What is it that adaptive cycles could tell us about innovation? Which new perspective could they give us? Could they actually serve as a common backdrop, a “unifying field theory” that covers all dimensions of innovation? That could incorporate the relevant aspects of technology, business, and society? I’m curious to learn more about the ups and […]

The dynamic ups and downs of human systems

No matter how hard we try to keep things simple and under control, many man-made systems turn out to be – or to become over time – quite complex and unpredictable. Despite our effort. Against our intentions. In stark contrast to our preference for simple, linear, static, controllable, predictable systems. Computer software, stock markets and tax codes are […]