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Linking information management with adaptation to complex emergence

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  • Stephen Grey
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      WGB this week touched on the way information, data visualisation and decision making interact. Not that we went into it in great depth but it was suggested that the interaction might be a useful area to explore.

      Coincidentally, I found today in my reading backlog a piece by Marcus Guest, a UK born consultant who works in Russia. He is a collaborator with David Snowden (Cynefin etc.) and Simon Wardley (Wardley mapping).

      It is not profound and the ideas are well known but might help some frame their own thinking on the subject of managing risk in complex projects.

      The text can be found at

      This extract summarises the core issue:

      “Management is a control mechanism — making decisions that matter for the business. They tend to come in one of two types:</p>

      1. Type 1: Believes the world is uncertain and constantly changing. Therefore they increase the amount of information flowing in, so they have a sufficient variety of options for action
      2. Type 2: Believes the world is stable and predicable. Therefore they decrease the amount of information flowing in, to make the business simpler to manage.”

      The two world views are well understood I think but seeing their responses in terms of the way they adjust their information intake caught my eye. Type 2 managers still walk among us.If we think better results would be delivered by adopting Type 1 behaviour, frail human brains probably need help.

      As I said earlier, not profound but linking the two working groups’ studies could be useful and information is probably the umbilical cord between them.

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