Friday, 18 November 2011

Embrace complexity, it's the key to growth.

A complex world is what we are familiar with. Complexity is normal. It is something we we have grown to respect. We stand in awe of nature's complexity, from the function of the human body to the incomprehensible marvels of microscopic particles...We fail when we confuse "complexity" with "complication"  To messy minds, complicated things are much easier to construct than complex orderly structures. [Nader, pp. 331-332]

Some tips for embracing complexity from Seth Godin:
"The answer is simple" ...is always more effective a response than, "well, it's complicated."
One challenge analysts face is that their answers are often a lot more complicated than the simplistic (and wrong) fables that are peddled by those that would mislead and deceive. Same thing is true for many non-profits doing important work.
We're not going to have a lot of luck persuading masses of semi-interested people to seek out and embrace complicated answers, but we can take two steps to lead to better information exchange:
  1. Take complicated overall answers and make them simple steps instead. Teach complexity over time, simply.
  2. Teach a few people, the committed, to embrace the idea of complexity. That's what a great college education does, for example. That's what makes someone a statesman instead of a demagogue. Embracing complexity is a scarce trait, worth acquiring. But until your customers/voters/employees do, I think the first strategy is essential.
 You can't sell complicated to someone who came to you to buy simple.


Happiness ensues when we take on ever more challenge,
with commensurate skills development,
whilst living our own values.

Reference
Nader. J. 1999, HOW TO LOSE FRIENDS & INFURIATE PEOPLE: A CONTROVERSIAL book for thinkers, Plutonium, NSW, Australia.

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