Thursday, 18 March 2010

Not all complex adaptive systems lead to system growth

This picture provides a stark reminder that complex adaptive systems sometimes exhibit behaviour that leads the whole system to termination rather than growth. As ever, the lesson for social systems is whether we can identify that the 'strange attractor' underlying the system's behaviour contains system termination points - and whether there is a lever available in our meta-planning toolkit either to eliminate such points from the set of possible options or to make them less likely as system destinations.

For the starfish, the answers to these two questions appear to have been 'Yes' and 'No' respectively. If our social systems are to avoid the same fate, it would be good for us to find the answers which apply to us. We still seem some way from this position.

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