The Library

A simple complexity strategy session


Organisations have always faced complex issues, where the outcome of various strategies can not be determined in advance. This leads to conflict as all hypotheses have supporting evidence and there is no easy resolution. This may be triggered by an event such as a natural disaster (the Thailand floods in 2011 massively disrupted supply chains internationally), the entry of a new competitor or a new strategic direction for the organisation. It may be a minor issue within a department relating to communication, or macro-economic strategy.

Given that the issue is complex, we can't apply best or good practice, we have to focus on creating something new, and doing so with limited or conflicting evidence.

This Assembly (set of Methods, working together) is intended to provide some simple guidance on how to "string together" a simple set of methods to first identify all the aspects or elements of a situation. Using the Cynefin Framework, then gain some perspective on what features/attributes/elements of the issue (or opportunity) can be seen as Simple, versus Complicated, versus Complex, versus Chaotic, versus unknown (Disorder). Then applying Cognitive Edge Methods to probe the more complex features/attributes/elements.


1) This Assembly doesn't not suggest approaches to those features/attributes/elements that fall into the Simple, Complicated or Chaotic domains. There are other assemblies that deal specifically with Chaos. Traditional consulting tools, techniques, businesses processes, experts, etc. are probably in place in Simple and Complicated domains. On that basis this Assembly is additive to your overall decision-response capability

2) The Assembly is not meant as a comprehensive and complete approach but a preliminary approach, with the data or inputs that you have at the time. More sophisticated Assemblies will be available over time for a deeper more comprehensive plan in the Complex domain. This will get you started...

3) Combine all your existing tools and approaches with this approach for the Complex domain and you have the makings of a comprehensive decision-response.

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