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Information, Knowledge Management & Coordination Systems : Complex Systems Approach. By Professor Liaquat Hossain. Globally networked risks.

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information knowledge management coordination systems complex systems approach

Information, Knowledge Management & Coordination Systems:Complex Systems Approach

By Professor Liaquat Hossain

globally networked risks
Globally networked risks
  • Societies and organisations need better ways to respond to sudden risk that may emerge from multiple sources which are interconnected and interdependent(Helbing, 2013:Globally networked risks and how to respond, Nature, 2 May, 51-59)
networks and information flow
Networks and Information Flow
  • Observations of interaction networks in life, engineering, and the physical sciences suggest that the key functional properties of these networks are:
    • the flow of information they can support,
    • the robustness of the flow to node failure, and
    • the efficiency of the network
  • Studies have also shown that certain network designs perform better than others in each of these respects.
complex network science new educational and research paradigm
Complex Network Science: New Educational and Research Paradigm
  • The solution to complex issues requires a holistic educational and research delivery, which would cross the boundaries of social, economical, physical, agricultural, media and communications, environmental, engineering as well as medical and mental health systems disciplines.
  • My ambition goes beyond simply being transdisciplinary in the sense of e.g. combining sociology, political science and computational social sciences, but I actually combine social science and natural science approaches in a more profound sense to explore information flow in different systems.
  • The outcome of my research agenda will provide a fundamental theoretical and empirical basis for cross fertilization of robust network models across the physical, life, socio-economic and computational science.
why do we need to use complex systems approach
Why do we need to use Complex Systems Approach?
  • Complex systems advocate that real-world systems are made up from a large number of interacting components.
    • this leads to complex behavior, which is difficult to understand, predict and manage;
  • Show emergence (behavior that is more than a sum of the parts of the system alone) and self-organisation (there is no external controller).
  • It contributes to improvements in areas such as the internet, innovation and diffusion process, sustainability, air traffic and transport control, power systems, robotics, disease outbreaks, irrigation and land management, security, manufacturing and finance, as well as ecology and biology.
but control or mechanistic view advocates

But control or mechanistic view advocates

“One of the most basic problems of modern management is that the mechanical way of thinking is so ingrained in our everyday conceptions of organization that it is often difficult to organize in any other way”(Source: Morgan, 1986, p. 14)

Wrong Way

The organisation as a Machine

Org model of the Industrial era

From KazysVarnelis, Triple Canopy

Max Weber: 1864–1920)

Machine Bureaucracy

questions guiding my research for the past 10 years
Questions guiding my research for the past 10 years
  • Investigating whether there is a relationship between social networks, maintenance of the networks through ICT and its impact on performance outcomes for innovation process, oragnisational effectiveness in stable and adversarial situations;
  • Understand the formation and adaptation of hierarchical, non hierarchical, emerging and self organized structures to explore organizational learning, innovation and diffusion so that we can begin to characterise the types of adaptation process as learning through feedback;
  • Investigating formation and adaptation of coordinated response network involving multi-organisational and -jurisdictional structures leading to innovative way to design multi agency crisis response system;
  • Support, equip, and enabling the ad-hoc networks (or open and user based innovation system) of affected communities and other supporting organizations to function effectively in crisis situations;
  • Role and implications of ad-hoc networks in sharing local knowledge about the affected areas so that warnings and intervention processes for coordination can be effective.
organic and networked organizations are like
Organic and Networked organizations are like

Parts fit in many ways Organic Networkeduild

Network as organising model

therefore we can unpack the complexity of organisations and organising
Therefore, we can unpack the complexity of organisations and organising
  • A set of actors & links between those actors
  • The study of relationships between people
  • Focus on measuring the interactions to determine specific outcomes
  • Allows for a prediction or forecast based on network behaviour
  • Insight into how and why information travels
  • Insight into relationships and the quality and necessity of ties
Network principles applied to social, biological, innovation, transport, market, computer and other systems
Network principles applied to social, biological, innovation, transport, market, computer and other systems

The role of centrality

Consequences of Density

Strengths of Ties

Networks with different efficiency

predicting hidden links hossain et al 2012
Predicting Hidden Links (Hossain, et al., 2012)
  • Predicted core network of providers extracted from real data with customers around them
predicting links in health systems hossain et al 2013
Predicting Links in Health Systems (Hossain, et al., 2013)
  • Using ICD codes related to obesity from health insurance data suggest nearly 2500 obese people averaging $5k total in treatments, peaking at 30-40k/patient resulting in grand total of $12.7m of full procedure cost.
  • Interestingly majority (75%+) of the patients are female. Median of the first treatment was at the age of 42.
  • Difference between the age of patient and the age when they had the first treatment is about 3-6 years.
  • Extended the base data set to family members under the same policy, we included over 7400 members, covering 850+ postcodes and 100+ hospitals.
  • The graph is about 4% of the data visualized based on 30 postcodes from the vicinity of Sydney central. It can be seen how obese people are connected to the hospitals, their family members and location. The link weights are the dollar values, the more thick and red they are the larger. Obese nodes are in red, the others are blue.
generic networks models developed and applied in different settings



Context t1

Network t1

Learning t1

Outcome t2

Network t2


Network t2

Context t2

Learning t2


Network t3

Network Structure

Network Structure



Tie Formation

Evaluation of actors’ fitness

Variation (Adaptation)

Generic Networks models developed and applied in different settings
networks coordination hossain 2008 hossain wu 2009
Networks & Coordination (Hossain, 2008; Hossain & Wu, 2009)
  • 712 employees extracted who sent emails within the Dahbol Project scope
  • Using coordination sentence and phrase keyword extraction, 173 employees demonstrated coordination
  • Coordination scores minimum = 3, maximum = 244, average = 44
networks coordination in crisis innovation learning hossain kuti 2010
Networks & Coordination in Crisis: Innovation & Learning(Hossain,& Kuti, 2010)


Organizational network combining all agencies


Actor Network of combining agencies

organisational clique analysis and macro level cross agency clusters hossain kuti 2010
Organisational clique analysis and macro-level cross-agency clusters (Hossain,& Kuti, 2010)
learning from emergency response network
Learning from Emergency Response Network

Black Saturday bushfires in Australia

  • 173 people died
  • 414 people were injured
  • 7,562 people displaced
  • Over 3,500 structures destroyed
  • 450,000 ha (1,100,000 acres) burnt

Multi-Emergency Agencies

Metropolitan Fire Brigades

State Emergency Agencies

Country Fire Services

IMT (Incident Management Teams)

  • Emerging Networks
    • not only different organizations (agencies) need to cooperate properly internally (intra-team & inter-team)
    • but also they have to cooperate with other organizations (inter-organizational)
    • We wanted to understand what the breakdowns are (from a network analysis perspective, there is a need to
      • Evaluate which types of node failures have high level of impact on coordination performance
      • which will lead to develop a better predicting model for understanding the rate of node failure and attack.

Incident Controller

Land Management Agencies



First Aid



Ground Personnel

Air Operation


rural fire coordination network abbasi hossain 2013
Rural Fire Coordination Network (Abbasi & Hossain, 2013)

Murphy: IC1Kreltszheim: IC2 Creek: RDO (RECC)Arandt: DIC1 Court: Tanker1 Crew Dixon: DGO Grant: DDO (DSE Manager)

dynamics of disease outbreaks coordination bedir hossain crawford 2011 2012
Dynamics of disease outbreaks coordination (Bedir, Hossain & Crawford, 2011; 2012)
  • The Absence of unified approach results in different management and coordination approaches leading to high variability of infection rates; hence mortality and morbidity rates.
  • H109 infection in NSW) indicates that even within the same state there were large discrepancies within the same states with sometimes similar demographics (by June 17- 2009)
  • H1N109 infection rates in Australia by June 17- 2009
dynamics of disease outbreaks coordination bedir hossain crawford 2011 20121
Dynamics of disease outbreaks coordination (Bedir, Hossain & Crawford, 2011; 2012)

Modelling challenges of disease outbreak coordination

  • Therefore, we need to coordinate between multiple agencies dynamically in order to intervene and contain dynamic form of disease outbreaks in an evolving environment
modelling challenges of disease outbreak coordination
Modelling challenges of disease outbreak coordination
  • Informal coordination is an important facet of emerging coordination which is often ignored in coordination research
  • It capitalizes on the existing coordination channels to circumvent their complications, inefficiencies or even their inaccuracies.
  • It can be defined as “ when individuals or organisations establish communication networks outside the standard coordination structure to “get things done” (Baker 1981; Han 1983)”
protocol for capturing qualitative quantitative network data hossain bedir crawford 2013
Protocol for capturing qualitative & quantitative network data (Hossain, Bedir & Crawford, 2013)
results of inter organizational disease outbreaks coordination hossain bedir crawford 2013
Results of Inter-organizational disease outbreaks coordination (Hossain, Bedir & Crawford, 2013)
  • Organizations involved and their characteristics
  • Organizational links
  • Links’ initiation
  • Links’ intensity
  • Links’ direction
  • Links’ timeline
  • Links’ purpose
inter organizational disease outbreaks coordination
Inter-organizational disease outbreaks coordination
  • Inbound case definition Communication
  • Cases inbound communication
inter organizational disease outbreaks coordination1
Inter-organizational disease outbreaks coordination

Outbound Case communication

  • Outbound Informal communication
current research projects
Current research projects
  • RIMS: Robust Information Management Systems for Coordinated Response to Crisis;
  • BISoN: A Biologically-Inspired Social Network for Coordinated and Adaptive Emergency Response;
  • Computational Behavioural Modelling of Markets Systems;
  • CIMS: Innovation and Learning in Coordinated Interventions for Mental Health Systems;
  • H1N1 and SARS Outbreaks: multi-organisational coordinated surveillance and response;
  • CrisNet for Zoonotic and Foodbrone Outbreaks: Socio-technical Crisis Information Networks for Disease Outbreaks Coordination;
  • Behavioral Network Dynamics for understanding Nutrition, Epidemiology and Immunity;
  • Social networks and health promotion: Harnessing social networks to enhance the effectiveness of peer counselling
  • $1 million funding from Australian Capital Markets CRC-Commonwealth Research Centre and HCF-Hospital Contribution Fund to develop predictive models for understanding future market systems under crisis.
  • $6.5M in competitively basic research funding (EU FP 7 Framework, ARC Discovery, CRCs and ARDA Advanced Research Development Agency in the US).
  • Submitted 2 major collaborative research grants under EU FP7 framework.
    • COST-action: Communication and Information Systems Technology in European Emergency Management
    • H.E.L.P Health Emergency Learning and Planning
  • I am the founding Editor-in-Chief of Springer International Journal “Crisis Communications”
possible links with education and research
Possible Links with Education and Research

In my research, I use methods and analytical techniques from mathematical sociology (i.e., social networks analysis), social anthropology (i.e., interview and field studies) and computer science (i.e., information visualization, graph theoretic approaches and data mining techniques such as clustering);

Using this transdisciplinary approach, I explore innovation, knowledge management and coordination systems in distributed and complex setting for understanding distributed work groups, organizational and individual performance and knowledge sharing and management support process for innovation and learning

  • Management
    • Engineering Knowledge Management Research
    • Design, Engineering and Innovation
    • Industrial Dynamics and Strategy
    • Sustainability Research
    • Climate Change and Sustainable Development
    • Climate resilient development


    • Innovation Management
  • Environment: Sustainable use of (natural, physical and cyber) infrastructure/resources
  • Food: Innovation and leaning in sustainable food production; coordination of foodbrone outbreaks
  • Informatics: Bio-security, Cognitive Systems; SW Engineering
  • Veterinary: coordination of zoonotic outbreaks
  • Systems Biology: Biological optimisation model for social networks; systems biology for exploring organisational and community resilience networks
  • Transport: complex modelling of transport networks