How our innovation structures deceive us

It’s no surprise: for problems that have been around for a while, we usually develop certain structures to deal with them efficiently. Think about structures as organisations like companies or research laboratories, or processes like quality assurance or even the scientific method. Each of these established organisations and ready-made processes are designed for a purpose: to solve a specific known problem. And that’s what […]

Cities, companies, and innovation – An emerging narrative

The work of Geoffrey West and his team is truly fascinating. In their cross-disciplinary research on complex adaptive systems, they looked for common underlying principles that could be applicable to biological systems and social systems alike. Of course I’m particularly interested in West’s observations on social systems like cities and companies; and the different roles they play in innovation. Today, […]

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 […]

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 […]

A vision for economics

What could our economy and society be like in thirty to forty, maybe even fifty years? Just doing the same things differently? Or doing really different things? What could those things be? And what could economics tell us about that far-term future? If you ask for such genuine vision, the reaction you’ll most likely receive ranges […]