Wednesday 16th May 2018, 13:00 – 14:00, BEIS, 1 Victoria Street, London, SW1H 0ET
Presenter: Claes Andersson
In a 2014 paper in Futures we explored the relatively straightforward proposition that societal systems combine two qualities that are commonly referred to as complexity and complicatedness. Why do societal systems remain recalcitrant despite the fact that we have powerful approaches for dealing with both these qualities. We claim that the combination between complexity and complicatedness is emergent: fundamentally and irreducibly different from either quality in isolation.
This means that neither class of such approaches can be expected to work well on their own. But it also means that the obvious strategy of combining theory for complexity and complicatedness may be much more challenging than envisioned. In short, systems where complexity and complicatedness is mixed ought to be treated as a distinct class of systems.
Noting a connection to what has long been called ‘‘wicked problems’’ we termed this type of systems that ‘‘wicked systems’’ and the quality “wickedness”.
In a 2018 paper we elaborated this model. We identify the folk category of complexity as coincident with a feeling of being overwhelmed. We here identify six different sub-classes in a “Spectrum of Overwhelming Systems”, thereby going into how these classes of system dynamics map to different types of organization and processes.
In my talk I will outline our arguments and go somewhat into these categories and the reasoning behind them. I also look forward to discussing these concepts and ideas with the audience.
Claes Andersson is Associate Professor and Senior Researcher in Complex Systems at the department of Space, Earth and Environment, Chalmers University of Technology, and external Fellow at the European Center for Living Technology in Venice.
He has a Ph. D in Complex Systems and has held research positions at the Los Alamos National Laboratory and the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia.
Claes research is focused at the long-term and large-scale evolution of societal systems and his research areas currently includes the deep origins of human society, urban and regional dynamics, as well as fundamental issues in complex systems.