Saturday, January 15, 2011

Complex Adaptive Systems

Self-organization, which we just wrote about, is only one of the ideas that we know contribute to the success of complex adaptive systems.

While we are not convinced that CAS (complex adaptive systems) have been fully figured out, we think it has a lot to add. (In fact, our hypothesis is that that E=MC(2) is only a working hypothesis (as are all the so-called scientific laws) soon to be revised...and soon might be 1,000 years). But we think anyone working with creative teams must be studying CAS. Well, and thus, self-organization.

Another key related idea is Knowledge Creation. We cannot talk about this too much.

In our businesses of new product development, the key thing is the amount of good new knowledge created and per unit of time. And good, in overly simple terms, means high business value (along with lots of other constraints).

We think self-organization is key to high levels of knowledge creation. As anyone who has done brainstorming knows, you cannot command-and-control creativity. Or, if you do, you should expect very low creativity, creativity smothered in a prison jump suit.

We think CAS and knowledge creation are key to better Scrum teams.

This leads me to this thought, said earlier a different way: Our biggest impediment is refactoring our wetware.

Now, one of my missions in life is to reduce and reverse de-humanization. (Sounds quite high-minded and daunting, but it is not; it is just a daily struggle, like brushing one's teeth. Or mostly it is.) De-humanization is where people are not treated as being fully human, with all the good and bad and other stuff that implies. Where, for example, they are treated as a thing, maybe a computer. So, I am not in love, as a lover of words, with words like 'wetware' that take a computer model to explain the human CNS or mind. But, if it makes you happy...(as the song says).

PS. Takeuchi and Nonaka, the godfathers of Scrum, have spent much of their later careers studying knowledge creation. Seek and ye shall find.

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