The Interaction of Complexity and Management

By Michael R. Lissack | Go to book overview
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18

Complexity and Technology: Applied Reality

Bill Fulkerson

In this chapter Bill Fulkerson writes of how to apply complexity in day-to-day practice. He introduces the notion of what is practicable for managers to be thinking about in applying complexity and what is merely theoretical and thus inpracticable.

I am a member of a group called Technology Integration, in which we match strategic business needs with solutions from information technology at Deere&Company. We use the word technology in IT in its broadest sense as a tool or enabler, so complexity science falls into my area of application.

One of the most effective strategies that I use with managers is fear. This quotation works: “An enterprise that cannot adapt at the pace of customer orders is doomed to be a producer of commodities.” No company can thrive for long as a producer of commodities (Ring, 1999). Adaptation is the key word here. It is not erratic change, but innovation directed toward strategic goals. Today, innovation increasingly means coevolving with the market, being on the cutting edge but with one foot squarely in the mundane world. No one can predict exactly how the market will evolve, so being able to change direction fast is more important than having a ten-year blueprint (Werbach, 2000). More pre-

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