The Pogo Pathology or Where Did All Those Cats Come From?!!

A pathology can be thought of as a deviation from a normal, healthy condition.  In a real sense pathology is the antithesis of sustainability or resilience.  Ironically, there are pathologies associated with sustainability and resilience programs…programs that have turned out worse after we’ve gotten our hands on them. We are incessant meddlers, in both man-made and natural systems.  And sometimes…

Complexity, Risk & Resilience – (Part 1)

Several years ago a colleague asked me a simple question: “Think about how your work might help business leaders to better understand their environment.” I took a couple of days and sent him a brief letter and paper. (I haven’t written anything on Prologue for almost 4 years. Maybe this will break the dry spell.…

Complexity, Risk & Uncertainty

Today’s “Gremlins” — Complexity & Uncertainty Consider an airline that has fine tuned its daily flight schedule and passenger seat pricing with yield management techniques. The strategy is set to optimize asset deployment and return on investment for a flight. And that works very well until the system becomes destabilized . One or more planes become inoperable…

Israel’s Operation Orchard – Victory On A Microchip

Operation Orchard – Syria is about to go nuclear, then somebody turned off the air defense radar & Israeli jets are inbound to target. This is September 6, 2007, not all that long ago. One moment the reactor is there, the next moment a hole in the desert. Go figure! Is it just coincidence that…

Complexity, Sharks & Risk Consultants – How “Internal Auditor” Magazine Got It Wrong

They got it wrong. Internal Auditor published an article by Neil Baker “Managing the Complexity of Risk” claiming that “The ISO 31000 framework aims to provide a foundation for effective risk management within the organization.”  Well….not so fast. “Complexity” has become something of a buzz word in today’s business culture.  But I think our understanding…

Competition, Complexity & Risk

“Due to the systemic nature of emerging risk, and the severe potential impact of such events, companies with slight advantages in detecting and managing emerging risks can obtain significant competitive opportunities.” Accenture, 2011. Accenture is actually talking about Brian Arthur’s Law of Increasing Return[1] (although it is doubtful they are aware of this) where a tiny advantage…