Maximising components vs maximising systems

Some examples to illustrate what it means to maximise components rather than systems – and why it’s best avoided: Sports teams with star players that don’t gel as a team – maximising individual talent at the cost of collaboration, team…

More from Seth Godin on slack in systems and resilience

A friend was talking about building resilient systems today, something Seth covered at length in Akimbo (S4 Ep 20)… and also in this blog post: Systems with slack are more resilient. The few extra minutes of time aren’t wasted, the…

Seth Godin on slack in systems

If you ask most people who run a factory, or an organisation or a sports team, what they’re looking for is a taut, firm connection between and among everybody: everybody busy all the time. The reason that a bucket brigade…

Resource: Seth Godin on Systems Thinking

Akimbo Season 4 Episode 20 (July 10, 2019) – Systems Thinking This is a great episode of riffs on how systems create – and constrain – possibilities, and the opportunities that open up when systems change. Featuring Mr Heinz and…

Podcast Recommendation: Econtalk with Alain Bertaud on Cities, Planning, and Order Without Design

This is a great episode of Econtalk. Bertaud uses labour markets as a lens for thinking about cities. Helpful examples of emergent order and the challenges (impossibility?) of planning in complex adaptive systems. Highlights (coming up) include: Discussion of the…

Velcro, geckos, and making friends

Some ideas for strengthening your connections within a group of people or scene: Have good, generous intentions. Show up to serve or share where it’s needed and wanted and because being part of this network is its own reward (you…

The Onion (3): exemplar interesting problem – learning to read

Problems gain (or lose) interestingness as their context and scale changes. Take teaching a kids to read as an example. It’s almost inevitable that a child will learn to read given the following ingredients: A supportive family A strong reading…

The Onion (2): a model for solving interesting problems

My first post about The Onion looked at interesting problems as systems of networked sub-problems, and suggested that our solutions will mirror this structure. The Onion is also a good metaphor for the process of finding practical solutions: we work…

The Onion (1): understanding interesting problems

This post is a sketch of a way of thinking about how problems work, and what we need to do to make our solutions (“the change we seek to make”) effective. It’s bit abstract – I’ll share a more concrete…