Cities, companies, and innovation – Accelerate!

In their quest for the commonalities and differences between cities and companies, Geoffrey West and his team came across the crucial interplay between those two social structures. And from those findings, we can see that the role of cities in innovation is a lot stronger than we usually realise. A grand idea The heart of the matter is […]

Cities, companies, and innovation – Why companies will die

Geoffrey West started his scientific career as a theoretical physicist before he shifted his attention to complex adaptive systems. He focused on interdisciplinary research with a specific interest in the commonalities that social systems share with biological systems: Could it be that cities or companies actually follow the same underlying principles like plants or animals? Is London a great big whale? Is Walmart […]

Cities, companies, and innovation – Why cities keep growing

A theoretical physicist and researcher of complex adaptive systems, Geoffrey West asked himself what social systems have in common with biological systems: Could it be that cities or companies actually follow the same underlying principles like plants or animals? Is London a great big whale? Is Walmart an elephant? In earlier work, he and his team had investigated the role […]

Cities, companies, and innovation – Biological beginnings

Coming from the background of theoretical physics, Geoffrey West looked at the field of biology from the angle of complex adaptive systems. Given the seemingly infinite diversity of life, he set out to find the basic underlying principles that run through biological systems, hoping in the end to transfer those principles to social (human-made) systems like cities or […]

Cities, companies, and innovation – Prologue

It’s rather rare that I’m immediately fascinated when I hear about an idea for the first time, but Geoffrey West’s 2011 TED talk about The surprising math of cities and corporations really stunned me. A theoretical physicist and former president of the Santa Fe Institute, West’s quest is for a genuine science of cities, based on universal principles, with quantifiable […]