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What Nature Can Teach Us About How Business Works Spring 2011. Let’s Step Back. What do numbers represent to you?. 2. To keep (the math) simple… Let’s say that numbers represent empirically measurable units of something. But are they? Some numbers are “irrational”
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What do numbers represent to you?
Underlying rules dictate the formation of these shapes:
- Phi: x2 – x – 1 = 0
- Golden Ratio / Angle: 137.5o
The fact a simple underlying rule can re-create so much of what is found in nature, suggests these underlying rules govern how everything works.
Riverbeds / Trees
Shells / Leaves / Tails
Weather System on Mars
This insight has lead to the emergence of a body of science, 30 years in the making, called SYSTEM THEORY.
What is System Theory?
The basic idea of system theory is that all things in the universe (rivers, baseball games and galaxies) can be viewed as discrete systems, operating under a defined set of rules. While the systems may be different, they exhibit strikingly similar behavior. If different systems behavior similarly, perhaps it's because they are connected.
At the simplest level, they display 2 kinds of behavior
All systems display 2 basic kinds of behavior: complex and chaotic.
Things tend to get complicated. Villages become towns, towns become cities and cities become nations. The basic notion of complexity is that there is a natural tendency toward higher levels of order.
Things also tend to get chaotic. Famine, blackouts and floods disrupt otherwise ordered systems. Chaos is what happens when order is interrupted by something different.
These competing forces make up virtually everything we experience in life. When these two forces collide systems are the most active, and often the most interesting.
In the world of technology and business, the intersection of chaos and order is where most innovation occurs.
When order and chaos collide, that is where systems are the most active
So if you take that idea to it’s logical conclusion, you realize that every complex ecology, society, biology….are outgrowths of the same system.
Further, business systems are outgrowths of the same system of rules.
Which means that business systems should behave like other systems….turns out they do.