The Order Of Chaos – Dealing With Complexity

chaos order complexityChaos, disorder, entropy – it always seems to increase. To try and make sense of this fact, organisations put in place more and more elaborate structures. We simply cannot tolerate chaos, either as individuals or as organisations.

We grow up listening to the mantra ‘You can only manage what you can measure’, or at least manage what you can grasp hold of or touch! Our endless creation of structures, procedures, and hierarchies has been a fruitless task, like repairing earthquake damage with sticky tape.

As many scientists know, entropy always increases, we can do nothing to stop it, and I do not propose that we try. Here I talk about chaos, which is what we feel and observe and which causes physical reactions such as stress. This we can do something about.

Is chaos simply a matter of perspective, a product of where we make our observations from, and how far away we are?

If you sit inside an atom and watch electrons whizzing around your head like flies around a picnic, you might think this is chaos. Step up a level and our atom now seems to have some order.

We see electrons moving around the nucleus of the atom, rather like planets orbiting around the Sun.

Step up again and you might see molecules or even real objects such as chairs or tables. It’s all about perspective. We can now see patterns, there is no random motion, BUT we do appear to have lost some detail.

Changing perspective is the backbone of creative or alternative thinking. Think of a time when you were reading house particulars. One family member sees a games room with bar, another sees a well-equipped kitchen whilst some simply see comfortable bedrooms and tranquil bathrooms. Everyone is, however, looking at the same thing but from a different perspective.

By shifting perspective we can bring order to chaos, but is this what we need (or want). I shall examine this further in upcoming posts. Stay tuned!


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