Competition versus collaboration

Which delivers betters results? A highly competitive environment or a highly collaborative one? There are some signs that in our highly complex world, collaboration is currently winning. Microsoft was a company that was hyper-competitive, both externally and internally. The strategy of pitting internal units against each other in a Darwinian struggle worked well for many… Read More »

Service for some, slavery for others

Simplicity comes at a cost. If you look at societies wherein everything is made incredibly simple, easy and luxurious for a certain class, you are nearly always looking at a slave or a slave-like economy. The maids who look after rich people’s children cannot be at their own homes to look after their own children.… Read More »

Is the Internet hollowing out the middle class?

What good is the Internet? No, really—what good is it? Is society better because of it? Are people healthier, wealthier, or even happier? According to the OECD, the middle class is now a part of the global species extinction phenomenon. Other reports show that the data centers that feed the Internet’s voracious hunger for energy… Read More »

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 »