Some interesting links that caught my eye this week.
Leonard Susskind has linked the growth of black holes to increasing complexity. Is it true that the world is becoming more complex?
“It’s not only black hole interiors that grow with time. The space of cosmology grows with time,” he said. “I think it’s a very, very interesting question whether the cosmological growth of space is connected to the growth of some kind of complexity. And whether the cosmic clock, the evolution of the universe, is connected with the evolution of complexity. There, I don’t know the answer.”
This is the vision I have been asking for from our governments. This vision is the one that would get me on board with using our existing oil and gas resources to manufacture and fund and infrastructure to accelerate this future for my kids. The cost of increasing fossil fuel use is so high, it needs to be accompanied by a commitment to faster transition to this kind of world. Read the whole thing.
Sonja Blignault is one of the people in the world with whom I share the greatest overlap of theory and practice curiosities regarding complexity. I know this, because whenever she posts something on her blog I almost always find myself wishing I had written that! Here’s a great post of five things we can do to disrupt thinking about problem solving to enable us to work much better with complexity.
Money and technology are hugely valuable resources: they are certaintly necessary but they are not sufficient. Simply throwing more money and/or more advanced technology at a problem will not make it go away. We need to fundamentally change our thinking paradigm and approach things in context-appropriate ways, otherwise we will never move the needle on these so-called wicked problems.
I miss Bernie DeKoven. Since he died earlier this year I’ve missed seeing his poetic and playful blog posts about games and fun. Here is one from his archives about variations on rock/paper/scissors
The relationship between the two players is both playful and intimate. The contest is both strategic and arbitrary. There are rumors that some strategies actually work. Unless, of course, the players know what those strategies are. Sometimes, choosing a symbol at random, without logic or forethought, is strategically brilliant. Other times, it’s just plain silly.
So they play, nevertheless. Believing whatever it is that they want or need to believe about the efficacy of their strategies, knowing that there is no way to know.
The longer they play together, the more mystical the game becomes.
They play between mind and mindlessness. For the duration of the game, they occupy both worlds. The fun may not feel special, certainly not mystical. But the reality they are sharing is most definitely something that can only be found in play.
An unassuming little article that outlines five key practices that could be the basis of a five-day deep dive into complexity and evaluation. I found this article earlier in the year, and notice that my own practice and attention has come back to these five points over and over.
While evaluation is often conducted as a means to learn about the progress or impact of an initiative, evaluative thinking and continuous learning can be particularly important when working on complex issues in a constantly evolving system. And, when evaluation goes hand in hand with strategy, it helps organizations challenge their assumptions, gather information on the progress, effects, and influence of their work, and see new opportunities for adaptation and change.