Wednesday, 18 July 2007

Book Du Jour The Black Swan

Apparently the book de jour right now in business and marketing is called Black Swan.

The Black Swan theory?

"In Nassim Nicholas Taleb's definition, a black swan is a large-impact, hard-to-predict, and rare event beyond the realm of normal expectations. Much of scientific discoveries for him are black swans—"undirected" and unpredicted. An event often referred to as a "black swan" is the September 11, 2001 attacks.[1]"

Hum...that sounds familiar. Isn't that what an emergent system is?

"Emergent structures are patterns not created by a single event or rule. Nothing commands the system to form a pattern. Instead, the interaction of each part with its immediate surroundings causes a complex chain of processes leading to some order. One might conclude that emergent structures are more than the sum of their parts because the emergent order will not arise if the various parts are simply coexisting; the interaction of these parts is central."

Regardless if someone names it black swan or white dove, understanding emergent systems have become more important in our everyday business world.

Here is a quote from the paper "Emergent Phenomena and Complexity" that Peter used to put in our presentations talking about the new business reality with clients:

"Emergent systems are those in which perfect knowledge and understanding may give us no predictive information. The optimal means of prediction is simulation."


Fraser said...

But if you want to communicate solely through buzz words you need to shed the old lingo and embrace the new!

Mark said...

Yeah, it's called marketing. Take something derivative, repackage it as New! Improved! Shiny! Chock full of buzzword goodness! and sell, sell, sell!

I suppose that if black swans can sell the idea of complexity thinking in business, it's better than the albatrosses currently being sold by the majority of management consultants today... that is, until the buzzword billers "make it their own."

Sigh... Cliches - the not-so-silent killers...

Leigh said...

let this be a lesson to you mark - valance theory - not so sexy

how about the 'mango connection' (huh?)

or the 'olive tree theory'

i am sure we can come up with something. Fraser likes buzz words, we should get him working on it....


Mark said...

Well, how about: "the orgy theory of organization" - how intimate relations among many people define the future of organizations.

That way, when people scream about "that f*cking company!" it will be a good thing!

BTW, congrats on the official public launch.

Leigh said...

see mark you are totally getting the idea now.

might rephrase to be much more vague

"intimate organizations: orgy theory and the future of business"

(oh and thanks for the nice write up :)

Fraser said...

I do protest! It's reckless to say, simply, that I like buzz words without some sort of footnote!

Truthfully I hate them when they're used free of sound content, or when only one individual in the conversation understands the meaning.

I do think people are unnecessarily hard on them when used in the appropriate situations.

Leigh said...

Do I need to get all Shakespearean about this?

Protestith too much i say...

(hey Fraser, are you good on your blackberry? Go to wallstrip and get on Team Canada)

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