Complexity can be described simply

Thanks to Hildy Gottleib for the question: What would it make possible if instead talking about issues/conditions as complex, we started talking about them as simply interconnected and interdependent?


Instead of talking about problems to solve we should address domains of concerns. We look for the key solution and key project but it’s always a whole range of projects and comprehensive models that need to be realized. And there are always multiple stakeholders – not the single one. With today’s technology these “complex problems” can be addressed but the boundaries between organisations, nations, cultures, generations.. And IT-systems are still locking us into silos, stovepipes, drillholes or whatever you call them..


If you want to describe the beauty and importance of a forest how would you go about it? Would you draw a picture of all animals and trees etc in one picture or would you choose a picture of a moose in a misty sunny morning?

Where’s our common “moose”? I’m into cities… where’s the city “moose”? Is it the citizens or a dialogue between 2 citizens? Or cooperation (how do you explain that) or participation or inclusion or innovation or safety… where’s that magic moose making it simple and not complicated?

Thanks Guy Taylor:

You want humans to understand something, so it becomes necessary to model HOW that works. Humans imitate. People need to connect intimately with what are for THEM important vital connections to The Forest in the lives of people that they identify with.

“Humans imitate” is good to think of. And yes neurons are too important still.. Imitating is perhaps what we are best at no matter what we are trying to do. And yet, I can read texts and books of an author and really “buy” the whole thing – then we I hear the person or meet IRL – my reptile brain judges and immediately reduces the person to a nobody. And some people that I’m really comfortable with IRL never say anything useful or persistent.. so online or remote conversations reduces complexity in a very important way.

We find good examples of some cooperation areas that already has systems (but those misses the social dimension) and worldwide examples of cities that creates “hubs” for cooperation – but they miss the operative/strategic dimension. And for example we can show how the new principles of being Open, Random & Supportive (thanks for that) can start initiatives, develop ideas and get people together.

This whole focus/perspective (standing back from the immediate) difference is really crucial and it effects the whole society. If you have the time watch this excellent RSA animate by Iain McGilchrist – it explains so much about where we are at today – and what we need to do in the future. . When in focus complexity needs to be reduced and to be shut off. When in perspective/reflective mode things that in focus-mode seems unbelievable complex suddenly seems very simple in perspective mode.

What is it on the left? Seems complex – no it’s not. But what is it on the right? Seems complex – no it’s not.


I’d say I almost have a networked mind – I should only dare more.. and make lots of more mistakes.. we all need to have that capacity in the future – and guts to be oneselves and trust in that others can help us when we make the mistakes.

But this whole network experience and new paradigm is too complex to describe – how do you sell it? I collect stories.. and no presentation or concept in the world has yet made me go “-Wow”.. and there’s over 160 cooperation platforms and no-one so far contains everything I think we need. We’re in a transition now as important as Internet – so probably time will fix it – sequences of events will randomly create the shift.. the complexity in societies has always been a reason for them to completely crash – let’s make this shift less complicated, let’s continue to interconnect!

Patience is not the ability to wait, but the ability to wait and having a good attitude while doing it.


In similar fashion it’s not considered complex making a call, creating a meeting or even asking another person for a date. But truthfully, it’s sooo complex.
People that perhaps misses these skills use their brains to do other stuff – that allows us to see how complex human interaction really is.

Art instead of.. what?

So when I speak about cooperation systems, situation awareness etc “normal” (meaning I’m “abnormal”) people don’t have the ability to see what it can do in the future – it’s too complex when it’s really not. However, when I talk about an app, or garbage-trucks plowing snow, or young people helping old with Internet the complexity goes away.. At least I tend to always talk about the WHAT (clean, shiny floors, thanks Mats Jacobsson) and HOW (that excellent solvent formula with the magic x-ingredient) and not the WHY.. you need to show that shiny floor and make it easy to have it and explain the wonderful feeling walking on it… You also need to talk about the “operations” – the daily way of working after the possible change.


What I mean is that the interconnectedness is also too complex. It’s hard to cooperate if you’re not doing it already. It’s hard taking the step using Facebook..

Social capital does not need to be complex if we bring it to a person-to-person-level. As soon a we leave the tribe-level of interaction it becomes complex no matter how we organize stuff. So let’s interconnect – let’s create millions of random meetings and let’s find serendipity and let’s coordinate! Let’s push it a bit more, let’s widen and discover new territories – let’s innovate – that’s simplicity in a complex context.

It’s probably the disconnectiveness that makes relations complex. That’s the reason why it’s hard to cooperate over boundaries. Is it complex in a hockey-team that is winning? If the networks are strong there are always people that can help you and make your complex task simple.

Oh, and btw this whole monolog is complex – but then again, it’s not complicated at all writing down one’s own thoughts reflecting on another human beings thoughts. I’ve read the original question 5 times now I think.. Thanks everyone for the multilogue, thanks David Lawrence Hawthorne, John Kellden, Kyle Sykes and everybody that connects and discusses out there – we are creating the interactive social Global library on the fly.

Maybe it’s just the will and commitment that makes the difference. If you want change and want to change, if you want to learn instead of being taught, it’s simple – if you do not it complex. Conquering a new business can be very complicated but if the mind is set there are no obstacles big enough to stop you. And on the other hand if you have made it and your company is up and running it’s very hard and complex to start changing and start over (compare Kodak, Facit etc).

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