In this chapter Larry Prusak writes of putting complexity into action and what that might mean in a large corporate organization. He also offers pragmatic advice about how a manager can make use of the complexity perspective and of what pitfalls to avoid.
If you live in Big Company Land, how can you use the ideas of complexity? What is an action theory of complexity? I live in that land. I’ve come up with four things that I have actually done, which I will discuss in this chapter.
I met a man recently from the U.S. Navy who has read as much about this subject as anyone I’ve ever spoken to. I asked, “What do you do in the navy with all these ideas?” There are 600,000 people in the U.S. Navy, and it is a very, very complex system. His reply was that he reads a lot and talks a lot; he takes no action. Maybe the ideas percolate, but the navy goes on, and all it does is done to win wars. So, here are four things I’ve done that had some effect, that work a little. This is a very heuristic, university-type case; this is not science.
First, these ideas are gaining currency in those forces that form cognitive authority in the boardroom. They are not there yet, but they are