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Strategy and Complex Systems (2020) [pdf] (smithw.org)
80 points by zeeshanqureshi 21 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 11 comments



This is a brief summary of an incredible field of research - systems theory and operations research. If you are interested, there are some really good authors to read — Peter Senge, Peter Checkland, and Stafford Beer (inventor of viable systems model).


Thanks for the recommendations. I just watched a clip of Beer's conference at Monterrey Tec on his ideas about 'The Intelligent Organization' - incredible indeed!


Stafford Beer is fascinating. Thanks for the Monterrey Tec recommendation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7COX-b3HK50

There's also a terrific multi-part talk by him on CBC's Massey Lecture series: https://www.cbc.ca/radio/ideas/the-1973-cbc-massey-lectures-...


The Monterrey Tec lecture has a part 2 as well. And thank you for sharing the CBC link. I've added it to my list of talks to listen to.


Is this document incomplete? It outlines some interesting topics, but it can't be said to "explore the details of complexity in general, and complex systems, specifically, in the context of business strategy" as set out in the Purpose section.


I studied it as a module at Cass Business School back in 03-06. To see it mentioned here in a completely different environment to the one I studied in has been a pleasant surprise.

I loved how it explained the counter-intuitively of rising crime whilst drug busts put dope on the table, or the risks of an aggressive or non-compliant fishing policy being the EU, or the tale of a group selling their model to a hedge fund for a small fortune.

So many potential ways to use this, and unfortunately I never encountered it at workplaces in my career. I think that’s when you realise that sometimes the ideas have to be presented by yourself.


After skimming through, awesome overview, but to me article should have mentioned; modularity, diversity, and specialization as an critical aspects of self-organization.


One might be better off just to visualize things as an ecosystem and look at the potential paths of evolution from the perspective of value added … the rest follows naturally …


How does one arrive at a standard definition for 'value'?



Nice! From the perspective of discovering and addressing the needs of customers, imagine one could simulate the ecosystem via a population of customers and other context attributes and evolve the ecosystem forward in time, one would be able to observe and measure the outcomes … As for a standard definition of value, there might not be one since it is context dependent … fundamentally, just like “beauty”, value is in the eyes of its beholder :-).




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