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CECAN Seminar: Policy Making Using Modelling in a Complex World

London, 18 Jul 2016, 1pm
Bruce Edmonds

Monday 18th July 2016, 13:00 – 14:00, Food Standards Agency, 125 Kingsway, London

Presenter: Professor Bruce Edmonds, Director, Manchester Metropolitan University Business School

Seminar Overview:

The consequences of complexity in the real world are discussed together with some meaningful ways of understanding and managing such situations. The implications of such complexity are that many social systems are fundamentally unpredictable by nature, especially when in the presence of structural change (transitions). This implies consequences for the way we model, but also for the way models are used in the policy process.

We discuss the problems arising from a too narrow focus on quantification in managing complex systems, in particular those of optimisation. We criticise some of the approaches that ignore these difficulties and pretend to approximately forecast using the impact of policy options using over-simple models.  However, lack of predictability does not automatically imply a lack of managerial possibilities. We will discuss how some insights and tools from “Complexity Science” can help with such management.  Managing complex systems requires a good understanding of the dynamics of the system in question – to know, before they occur, some of the real possibilities that might occur and be ready so they can be reacted to as responsively as possible. Agent based simulation will be discussed as a tool that is suitable for this task, especially in conjunction with model-informed data visualisation.

Presenter Biography:

Bruce is interested in all aspects of data analytics and simulation for understanding issues of policy relevance, including methodology, techniques and applications. He is co-editor of “Simulating Social Complexity”, a handbook for this area. He is currently working with Manchester City Council’s Complex dependency unit, which was cited by the Chancellor in his speech announcing greater independence for the Greater Manchester area. For more about the Centre for Policy Modelling and Bruce, see http://cfpm.org

*Refreshments available, please bring your own lunch.

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