Complex and Adaptive

I am currently reading “The Greatest Show on Earth” by the evolutionary biologist and great science communicator Richard Dawkins(richarddawkins.net). There is a notable chapter on embryology in which the takeaway for me is that an embryo develops through the application of local rules imposed on its various cells over time.  In layman’s terms, there is no such thing as a blueprint for, say, a bumble bee. Rather each cell in that bumble bee has a set of operating instructions which follow local rules that through a combined effort eventually build themselves into a bumble bee right from inception. No outside guiding hand, plan, or overseer required.

Another example of the local rule phenomenon is a school of fish swimming (or a flock of birds flying, bees swarming, etc) in coordination. There is no parade leader at the head of these swarms directing the numerous individuals on their actions.  Instead, they follow a few rules like staying a certain distance from each other, facing the same general direction and maintaining a pace with their partners. This is what happens in the embryo but with much more complexity.

Embryos, flocks of birds, schools of fish, swarms of bees, etc. are all complex systems that adapt to their surroundings by following their respective sets of rules depending on the situation.

This phenomenon is a useful concept, I think, when analysing all manner of human behaviours in complex systems. Adaptability, I believe, is a key success factor. Tools be they management systems, software, cloud computing, etc. that celebrate our adaptability rather than rely on conformity will also be successful as will the organizations who use these tools appropriately.  



Kind of like yelling “Echo!” when in a canyon, it’s somewhat redundant for me to say this is my first post. But I just can’t help myself. 🙂 For this first entry into what I hope becomes a medium to explore ideas, I’ve decided to outline some of the themes that will like arise in the posts to come.

The uber-theme, if there is such a word, entails “Interactions”. Thematic subsets include our interactions with the environment, various systems, technology, with ourselves and with other people. I will be exploring how our relationships with the world have evolved and what that potentially means to work and to life.  I’m a pragmatic guy and my career path and life experiences have given me a unique perspective. I may stir the pot on environmental management, Aboriginal rights and consultation, and how we reconcile our desire for economic growth and a sustainable future.

Sprinkled here and there will likely be various digressions and diatribes. My interests range widely and I will invariably use this blog for cathartic purposes. I will also try to be interesting by keeping things fresh and current and I will be taking requests on other topics within the theme of interactions ( Yes somewhat presumptious I know given that requests have to come from an audience I don’t have).  I’m an avid traveller and like to dabble in photography so expect some photos and postings from afar.

It may be a long shot that I actually impart any kind of wisdom but I suppose it’s an altruistic goal to have.  At the very least, I’ll have a record of thoughts and experiences logged for posterity in which I can see the maturation of my written communication and critical thinking skills. Call this historical record “humble pie” a piece of which I will no doubt be eating at various points in the future.

In closing, I thank you for reading and I’d love to hear from you. To me dialogue is the sharing and exploration of ideas through the development of relationships.