A complex adaptive system (CAS) recognizes real-world phenomena that linear systems do not such as emergence, diversity, tipping points, feedback loops, self-organization, and irreversibility. In a CAS, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. The more complete view addresses unexpected surprises which can lead to unintended negative consequences and project failure.
Industries, governments, cities, and countries are complex adaptive systems. Resolving complex issues means going beyond reductionism and evolving to paradigms based on complexity and cognitive sciences.
One pragmatic way to make sense of CAS behaviour is the Cynefin Framework. When dealing with turbulence, confusion, dilemmas, and ambiguity, resilient methods, and tools are preferred over command and control techniques such as policies, regulations, standards, and hard-fast rules.
This session provides an introduction to complexity science and the Cynefin Framework. Also covered is how planning, strategy development, and project management demand a different perspective when facing complexity.
The key take-away is appreciating why you cannot manage, simplify, nor control complexity; you must absorb and navigate through it.
After the session, participants will be able to:
- Understand the difference between idealistic and naturalistic planning.
- Explain why in a non-linear world major catastrophes called Black Swans will happen more frequently.
- Know when predicting the future is worthwhile and when it can be a waste of time.
- Decide when to deploy and not to deploy best practices, a business case, or metrics.
- Describe why gathering project data using stories is better than traditional surveys and interviews, and
- Deal with unknowables and unimaginables that emerge on projects including serendipitous opportunities.
Engineering and geoscientist professionals and associates involved in the planning and delivering of projects and programs.
Gary Wong & Associates
Gary Wong has over 40 years of experience starting with his career at BC Hydro where he worked in engineering, line operations, business consulting, and training roles. He later joined Ernst & Young Consulting (now Capgemini Consulting) as a Senior Manager in Strategy and Transformation. During his association with the global consulting firm he acted as a lead practitioner for change management in Canada and the local knowledge management coordinator in the Vancouver office.
Gary has operated his own independent consulting practice over the past decade. He is a Franklin Covey training consultant for programs such as the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.
As an accredited training partner with Cognitive-Edge Inc., Gary co-developed and co-delivers a 2-day complexity-based course, “Creating and Leading a Resilient Safety Culture.