If you want a simple yet convincing demonstration of complexity / chaos theory, watch this:




Now, what does this mean to organizations and change management?

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Comment by Jonathan Woocher on April 29, 2010 at 6:20pm
I've long believed that complexity theory has a great deal of relevance to how we envision and pursue change. Once we understand that we can't control or tightly plan what happens, but that we can recognize phenomena like emergence, co-evolution, "strange attractors," and "fitness landscapes" at work and use these to help gently steer change, we're (ironically) on a much firmer footing. For those interested, you can see a direct application of the principles of complexity to educational change in Michael Fullan's Change Forces trilogy.
Comment by Nick Horney on March 31, 2010 at 5:15pm
Holger,

You have quickly brought together a global community of practitioners, students and others interested in change management -- I applaud you for doing this.

I look forward to exchanging information, thoughts, recommendations, experiences, etc. in the area of organizational agility. Chaos theory is very appropriate for the global uncertainty and turbulence which we all are experiencing and will experience into the future. Don Sull, professor at London Business School, recently published a book entitled The Upside of Turbulence: Seizing Opportunity in an Uncertain World.. His hypothesis, which I personally agree with, is that we will survive the economic challenges of today, but the turbulence will continue to grow. Therefore, chaos theory appears to have some overlap with the discussion of turbulence. However, there are practices, tools, processes, etc. that can be used to help improve our odds with antcipating change (e.g., scenario planning). Visit our website so that we can have some follow-up opportunities to compare notes and potentially collaborate on work.

Nick

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