Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Introduction to Complexity Resources


The Complexity of Hayek:

Greg Fisher, Synthesis, February 2012
There are a number of similarities between complex systems and Friedrich von Hayek’s work  fleshed out in this blog.  For those who want to build on Hayek’s broad approach to social systems, they need look no further than complexity theory.

Life Before Earth?

Cornell University Library, March 2013
This study suggests an extrapolation of the genetic complexity of organisms to earlier times suggests that life began before the Earth was formed. Life may have started from systems with single heritable elements that are functionally equivalent to a nucleotide. The genetic complexity, roughly measured by the number of non-redundant functional nucleotides, is expected to have grown exponentially due to several positive feedback factors: gene cooperation, duplication of genes with their subsequent specialization, and emergence of novel functional niches associated with existing genes. Fascinating idea to consider.

Want simplicity in leadership? Then embrace complexity first

Bettina von Stamm, Guardian, June 2013
If you want to thrive rather than just survive, understanding and embracing the principles of complexity theory can be extremely valuable, and by embracing and living by those principles you will be able to achieve what everyone is yearning for: simplicity.

What to make of the complexity paradigm?

Ben King, Synthesis, October 2013
With so much at stake – global warming, resource depletion, growing complexity etc – it is vitally important that we understand the dynamics of paradigm shifts, so that we may both effectively communicate this new paradigm and have realistic expectations of the challenges ahead.

How science is telling us all to revolt

Naomi Klein, New Statemans, October 2013
Is our relentless quest for economic growth killing the planet? Climate scientists have seen the data – and they are coming to some incendiary conclusions using complexity and systems theory.

Stop trying to save the world; big ideas are destroying international development

New Republic, November 2014
Fascinating article about the risk of unintended consequences and negative path dependencies in international development, and the need for the field to embrace complexity theory.


Franz contemplates complexity

ContemplateThisDotOrg, April 2011
I am not ashamed to say that by the end of this video I was crying actual tears. Extremely beautiful short video about complexity theory and complex adaptive systems.

Trial, error and the God complex

Tim Harford, TED, July 2011
Economics writer Tim Harford studies complex systems — and finds a surprising link among the successful ones: they were built through trial and error. In this sparkling talk from TEDGlobal 2011, he asks us to embrace our randomness and start making better mistakes.

Complexity theory and panpsychism

Dr N. Theise, 2013
Dr. Neil Theise, LIver Pathologist and Stem Cell specialist, explains complexity theory, and how sentience could be a function not only of human brains, but of all life, and indeed, of all existence. Sentience, according to his view, is the very interaction that creates all patterns in the universe, including all matter and space. This is the closest thing I have found to someone else explaining what I also concluded; that consciousness is a spectrum stretching from the very small to the very large.

Puppies! Now that I’ve got your attention, complexity theory

Nicolas Perony, TED, OCtober 2013
Animal behavior isn’t complicated, but it is complex. Nicolas Perony studies how individual animals — be they Scottish Terriers, bats or meerkats — follow simple rules that, collectively, create larger patterns of behavior. And how this complexity born of simplicity can help them adapt to new circumstances, as they arise.

Complexity, Culture & Consciousness

Minds.com panel discussion, January 2014
On the intersections of complexity theory, cultural studies, and the evolution of consciousness, this google hangout features Neil Theise, Complexity Researcher; Richard Doyle, Information Scientist; Erik Davis, Religious Scholar; Michael Garfield, Evolutionary Philosopher; Mitch Mignano, Cultural Historian; and Bill Ottman, Open Web Activist. Incidentally, it was nice to see a bit of derision towards the skeptical communities inability to deal with politics.

Complexity theory: an introduction

Complexity Lab, April 2014
A short introduction to the new area of complexity theory. For those not familiar with the technical aspects already, the short film below may be better.

Complexity Theory: A short film

Complexity Lab, June 2014
An inspirational short film about complexity theory and the shift in paradigm from the Newtonian clockwork universe to complex systems, produced by Complexity Labs.


LSE Complexity Group

The LSE Complexity Group has been working for over 20 years, with organisations in the private and public sectors to address practical complex problems. In the process it has developed a theory of complex social systems and an integrated methodology using both qualitative and quantitative tools and methods.

Complex Care Wales

An example of complexity as applied to healthcare, in 2010, a multi-agency network was established across Wales, bringing together practitioners from a range of disciplines and services to form the Complex Care Forum. The purpose was to explore and develop practice, aimed at supporting people who live with complex needs. This article is intended to describe a new understanding of demand and capacity with in healthcare, through work undertaken within Hywel Dda Health Board – an integrated health organisation based in West Wales.

Santa Fe Institute

The Santa Fe Institute is a private, not-for-profit, independent research and education center, founded in 1984, where leading scientists grapple with some of the most compelling and complex problems of our time. Researchers come to the Santa Fe Institute from universities, government agencies, research institutes, and private industry to collaborate across disciplines, merging ideas and principles of many fields — from physics, mathematics, and biology to the social sciences and the humanities — in pursuit of creative insights that improve our world.


Synthesis is a think-tank devoted to using the emerging paradigm of complex networks in the social sciences to tackle social and public policy concerns.


Aid on the Edge of Chaos

Ben Ramalingam, Oxford University Press, 2013
An excellent expose on the follies of international development sans an understanding of complex systems.
“This excellent book does three important things. It provides an informative tour of the reductionist thinking and over-simplistic approaches that characterise so much current development policy and practice. It draws on the ideas of complex adaptive systems research to show that such flaws are neither inevitable nor incurable. And it presents a series of powerful cases of how these new ideas are beginning to make a real difference to the way we think about and work in aid. A must-read for anyone interested in development, its current discontents, and its future potential.”
– Ricardo Haussmann, former Chief Economist, Inter-American Development Bank and Director of the Centre for International Development, Harvard University

Online training and e-learning courses

Complex Systems Theory: An Introduction

Complexity Lab
This course is an introduction to the core concepts of complex systems theory, an exciting new area that is offering us a fresh perspective on issues such as understanding our financial system, the environment and large social organizations. The aim of this course is to bring the often abstract and sophisticated concepts of this subject down to earth and understandable in an intuitive form. After having started with an overview to complex systems this course will focus upon five of the core concepts. It costs £16 to take, includes 17 lectures, and is intended for a broad group of people but will be particularly relevant for those with a background in a technical domain such a some area of math, science, engineering or business.

No comments: