Science strives for precision and finding the right or at least the best answers to questions. The science of complexity means shifting our thinking from right answers to appropriate ones and what is best to good. The recent debate over parenting (particularly among Chinese families) illustrates how framing the issue and the outcomes makes a big difference. Is Amy Chua’s method of parenting successful or not, supportive or harmful, right or wrong? The answer is yes.
Complex systems require the kind of deep attention that science brings, the spirit of engagement and problem solving that designers offer, and a space to bring them together. With their focus on reductionist science and the lack of embrace of design, universities haven’t been the home to this kind of thinking. But things can change because, after all, this is a complex dynamic system we’re talking about.
Using complexity science principles to guide the process and powered by social media and face-to-face engagement, the power to take what we know, contextualize it, and transform it into something we can act on seems to me the best way forward in dealing with problems of chronic disease that are so knotted and pervasive, yet demand rapid responses.
Malcolm Gladwell recently authored an article for the New Yorker that has been widely circulated and debated within the social media world. The piece, entitled Small Change: Why the Revolution Will Not Be Tweeted, takes the stance that Twitter and other social media tools are not much better at facilitating social change than the coffee […]
Posted on September 28, 2010
A recent fire in Toronto shows some of the flaws with emergency preparedness plans and how they often fail to take in the true complexity of what actually happens, rather they deal only what what could happen in a limited scenario
In John Maeda’s 5th Law of Simplicity, he states that simplicity and complexity need each other. While true, the challenge that more complexity adds is evident in that there is simply more complexity. Another look at the relationship between simplicity and complexity.
John Maeda’s 4th Law of Simplicity states: “knowledge makes everything simpler”. In this post I lay out why this might be only partly correct, suggest that there are problems where this works better than other and illustrate how knowledge can also make things more complex, rather than simple.