First, differentiate!

When I and others call for better recognition and accommodation of complexity, we mean the complex as well as the uncertain, unfinished and conflicted must be particularized and contextualized if we are to analyze and to manage, if only case-by-granular case.

When I and others say we need more findings that can be replicated across a range of cases, we are calling for identification not only of emerging better practices across cases, but also of greater equifinality: finding multiple but different pathways to achieve similar objectives, given case diversity.

What I and others mean by calling for greater collaboration is not just more teamwork or working with more and different stakeholders, but that team members and stakeholders “bring the system into the room” for the purposes of making the services in question reliable and safe.

When I and others call for more system integration, we mean the need to recouple the decoupled activities in ways that better mimic but can never fully reproduce the coupled nature of the wider system environment.

When I and others call for more flexibility, we mean the need for greater maneuverability across different performance modes in the face of changing system volatility and options to respond to those changes. (“Only the middle road does not lead to Rome,” said composer, Arnold Schoenberg.)

Where we need more experimentation, we do not mean more trial-and-error learning, when the systemwide error ends up being the last systemwide trial by destroying the limits of survival.

While others talk about risks in a system’s hazardous components, we point to different systemwide reliability standards and then, to the different risks and uncertainties that follow from different standards.

Principal sources

The need to first differentiate is discussed as well in blog entries, starting with “With respect to what,” “Catastrophized cascades,” and others.

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