Interactions and complexity

“Networks are an essential ingredient in any complex adaptive system,” Eric Beinhocker writes in The Origin of Wealth. “Without interactions between agents, there can be no complexity.” Think of a printed page in a book for a moment. It may contain complex ideas, but it is relatively simple. It is hard-linked to the page that… Read More »

Digital speeds up evolutionary design

“Yes, there is local pride. Of course there’s local pride. You’d be a fool to argue that local pride isn’t essential,” Paul Rouse states in a documentary about the Irish game of hurling. “But it’s not just local pride,” Rouse continues. “It’s about winning and it has always been about winning.” Historically, the club that… Read More »

Digital dehumanizes work

As is the case in many countries, in Australia too, there is a banking crisis. The primary cause for this crisis, like other places, is the greed of senior management. The money that senior managers have managed to amass has ballooned over the last forty years, not because these bankers are more talented now, but… Read More »

Humility in the age of complexity

Humans love answers. If certainty is heaven for most people, then randomness is hell. However, as complexity increases, so do uncertainty and randomness. One of the best ways to deal with complexity is with humility. In our complex world, we’re bound to be more wrong than right. Our gut instinct is woefully inadequate for dealing… Read More »

Diversity, polarization and connectivity

At one level, the Web facilitates diversity. At another, it encourages uniformity. Paradox and contradiction seem to be the hallmarks of complex, interconnected systems. In politics, the Web has allowed those of similar views to flock together. The center struggles as the wings and peripheries bulge. Tribalism and groupthink are flourishing. “The divisions between Republicans… Read More »

Digital needs physical representation

“Someday soon, every place and thing in the real world—every street, lamppost, building, and room—will have its full-size digital twin in the mirrorworld,” Kevin Kelly writes for Wired magazine. It maybe so. However, we also need a mirrorworld that goes the other way: one that represents the digital world in the physical world. Imagine if… Read More »

Interface as luxury

We can understand the notion of luxury in the physical world. But what is digital luxury? What does a luxurious interface mean? And, what is a luxurious digital experience? Recently, we’ve been doing some work for Toyota Lexus, and I was asked to present a talk to a group of managers about the future of… Read More »

FANG is coming for you!

Recently, I had the opportunity to deal with a government agency that was reviewing its digital strategy. Like many government entities, the organization functioned as a monopoly. However, during our engagement, an executive pointed out that they couldn’t be complacent because FANG might come after them one day. FANG stands for Facebook, Amazon, Netflix, and… Read More »

Traditional communications reflects a feudal mindset

A new opening in our marketing and communications department for a traditional old-school communicator who can write endless quantities of condescending, deflecting, happy-clappy mumbo jumbo, stating-the-bleeding-obvious content. Ideal candidate should be able to see every crisis as an opportunity to waffle endlessly. As Brexit looms like a plague of starving locusts, Tom Enders, the chief… Read More »

Perverse incentives create perverse behavior

“Anyone else find the new Gmail interface sluggish?” The question was asked on a forum and there was a deluge of replies. “For me it’s so unresponsive that I’m at a loss for words how google put this into production,” the commenter continued. “I have a modern, new computer and modern, urban internet good enough… Read More »