Monday, October 18, 2010

12:00   Registration  
13:00   Workshop: Complex Adaptive Systems

Lecture by: Dr. Hamid Benbrahim, Fidelity Investments
This workshop introduces concepts and frameworks that describe the behavior of complex adaptive systems. These systems, whether they are systems of people, like employees or customers, or systems of organizations like competitors, partners and suppliers are characterized by a great deal of self-organization and evolution. These dynamics give rise to black swans, exponential growth, and disruptive market forces.
14:30   Break  
14:40   Workshop: Complex Networks
video  slides

Lecture by: Dr. Ginestra Bianconi, Northeastern University
People are increasingly using their network to inform their purchasing decisions, and Businesses are becoming increasing interdependent. These are only a few examples of the impact of interconnectedness in today's business environment. This workshop introduces tools and technologies to address high levels of interconnectedness. It will address particular topics in social network analysis, systems risk, and fault tolerance. Understanding how people are connected or how industries affect each other is critical in managing and harnessing complexity today.
16:10   Break  
16:20   Workshop: Agent Based Modeling
Lecture by Dr. Paolo Gaudiano, Icosystem
Agent Based Modeling is probably the most effective tool today in helping decision makers validate their assumptions, explore possible outcomes of their decisions, and better understand the behavior of their customers, employees, and competitors. This workshop will introduce tools and methodologies to allow decision makers to build models that represent their business problems, and conduct effective scenario planning.
17:50   World Cafe & Networking Reception
Experience how we naturally self-organize to think together, share knowledge and ignite innovation, while playing a fun game inspired by the Library of Babel. Cafe conversations are a way to put living systems theory into practice.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

8:00   Continental breakfast & Registration  
9:00   Introduction  
9:30   Dr. Geoffrey West, The Santa Fe Institute
slides  interview  video 

Growth, Innovation, Economies of Scale and the Pace of Life from Cells to Cities and Corporations; Are They Sustainable?
Is a quantitative, mathematisable, predictive theory of cities and companies conceivable? Why do almost all cities survive whereas all companies eventually fail? Can we use biology as a guide for developing a serious theory of social organisation? Despite the extraordinary complexity and diversity of life, many of its most fundamental properties scale with size in a surprisingly simple fashion. For example, metabolic rate scales as the 3/4-power of mass over 27 orders of magnitude from complex molecules up to the largest multicellular organisms. Similarly, time-scales (lifespans, growth-rates, etc) and sizes (genome lengths, tree heights, etc) typically scale with 1/4-power exponents. This universality and simplicity suggests that fundamental constraints underly the generic structure and organisation of living systems. These derive from geometric and physical properties of space-filling, fractal-like, branching networks that sustain life at all scales. This leads to a quantitative framework that captures many essential features of diverse biological systems including vascular systems, growth, cancer, aging and mortality, sleep, cell size, and evolutionary rates. These ideas will be extended to social organisations. Analogous scaling laws reflecting underlying social network structures point to general principles of organization common to all cities and companies, but, counter to biology, shows why the pace of social life systematically increases with size. This has dramatic implications for growth, development and sustainability: innovation and wealth creation that fuel social systems, if left unchecked, potentially sow the seeds for their inevitable collapse.
10:20   Break  
10:35   Dr. Tatyana Novikova, Novosibirsk State University, Russia
Corporate longevity and business innovative projects: the economic efficiency approach
paper   slides slides  video 
This talk applies the concept of Cost-Benefit Analysis to Corporate Longevity and clarifies the fundamental parameters that determine the behaviour of the government and the private participants of innovative projects. It aims at extending the framework of financial (commercial) analysis on a microeconomic level in order to better fit the interdisciplinary and multilevel project results through the analysis of economic (public) efficiency. As a tool of an evaluation of efficiency the multi-period simulation model of investment project is used. It consists of financial and economic components. For the profound quantitative estimation of economic efficiency the simulation model is interconnected with the modified two-period input-output inter-regional model, which is expanded by inclusion of a technological vector of the investment project. These methods are applied to real projects (3 megaprojects and 19 micro innovative projects of the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Science) and experimental projects (2 projects).
11:05   Dr. Paolo Gaudiano, President and Chief Technology Officer, Icosystem
Complexity Science as a Decision Support Platform to Drive Business Innovation
interview  video 

Agent-Based Simulation and Evolutionary Computing have proven especially valuable in providing decision makers with a low- risk, low-cost platform to test their innovative ideas. This presentation will provide an overview of several case studies, highlighting the unique value brought by these Complexity Science techniques. The presentation will also adress the challenges of bringing these technologies to market, both in terms of understanding the applied value of Complexity Science, and explaining it to prospective adopters.
12:00   Lunch Break (on your own)  
13:00   Dr. Carol Ann Zulauf & Peter A.C. Smith, Suffolk University, The Leadership Alliance Inc.
Autopoiesis and fluid self-organizing networks in business
paper   slides slides  video 
In a typical organization "management" entails autopoiesis - a process that builds a closed purposeful system that seeks to perpetuate itself. Some self-sustaining processes seem necessary; however an organization today is surrounded by highly dynamic, competitive, and socially individualized systems, demanding behaviors only produced by an organization based on an open system. Autopoiesis does not produce such an open system, but Complex Adaptive Systems (CAS) do, and CAS are therefore indispensible to organizational viability. Consequently, a balance must be struck between autopoiesis and the socialization that provides the context in which CAS emerge and flourish.
13:30   Dr. Phil Budden, British Consul General
slides slides  video 
Diplomacy and Business Development in a Complex and Networked World: a British Practitioner's Perspective
14:20   Break  
14:30   Dr Robert Ghanea-Hercock, Said Business School, Oxford University, UK
The Value of Trust
paper   slides slides  video 
What value should a corporation place on trust within its internal structure? And to what extent does the perceived trustworthiness of the corporation count in regard to its external interactions? It is proposed that these questions are in fact pivotal to the longevity and innovation capacity of any organization, whether commercial or public. In this paper we utilize a multi-agent simulation to explore the dynamics of trust interactions, and the impact on the cohesion of the resulting agent society. These results are then discussed in the light of the questions posed above, i.e. what correlation exists between an organizations efficiency and survival, and the degree of trust in the overall system.
15:00   Dr. Juan Perez Mercader, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Harvard University
Emergence, Power Laws and Some of That. Including Zipf, Benford and Information
Phenomena for which "the whole is more than the simple sum of its parts" are called emergent. They involve many components or agents in interaction. Not every regime of the system gives rise to emergent phenomena, only certain energy, noise level, strength of information or number of components lead to emergence. But they all involve collective activity which is easily seen to be associated with so-called "power-law" behavior. The power-law regime is attained when the system is critical and implies that all the system components are interconnected. For systems out of equilibrium this can lead also to system break-up into hierarchies which optimize the correlations between system components. We will illustrate the latter point with the organization of the Universe from Clusters of Galaxies, to Galaxies, Clusters of Stars, Gas Clouds, and Planetary Systems. In general, the basic power laws are the so-called Zipf's law and Benford's law. They have many uses, and the Benford law, for example, can be used to detect cheating in forms or to design high communication throughput systems. Finally, we will illustrate a joint Zipf-Benford system which implies that Life in its evolution on our planet has followed both strategies in order to maximize the exchange of information with its environment and deal with changing complexity.
15:50   Break  
16:00   Dr. Tomas Backstrom, Malardalen University, Sweden
Emergence and sustainability in a decentralized organization
paper   slides slides  video 
Continuous development is a key issue for long term competitiveness and sustainability of organizations on a changing global market. It has been known for decades that organizations with loose and flexible structure, and more horizontal than vertical information flow containing exchange of experiences rather than instructions have better chances to survive in a changing environment (Burns and Stalker 1961). We believe that decentralization is one way to reach these characteristics, that there is a need for development of new theories concerning organization and management to understand and be able to manage such organizations, and that complexity theory is a good base for such theories. In this paper we will show some results from on-going research studying the sustainability of a decentralized company using emergence as a perspective of understanding.
16:30   Angela Maria Alves, University of Campinas, Brasil
Complexity and the Brazilian Public Software
This work presents a case study of an innovative Brazilian experience of use of free software in public administration as an emergent ecosystem, and the attempt to establish a quality framework for that. It describes a new concept: the Brazilian Public Software (BPS) developed by policy makers of the Ministry of Planning, Budget and Management. At the beginning of the century, Brazilian policy makers were concerned with the limitations of the Free Software Model of Production (FSMP) to provide software to public administration. Issues such as installation and operational support, quality of software (users interfaces, manuals) and bugs were not effectively solved by the FSPM alone. They then shaped a new concept, the Brazilian Public Software, which is based on code opening (FSPM), but includes some additional duties to the entity that makes the software available. To support and to make the concept operational and institutional, an environment was formed and so a virtual ambience named Brazilian Public Software Portal (BPSP) began to exist. Since their beginning in the end of 2006, the BPSP has increased its number of associates to 74,000 users, and today it has 36 software solutions available, in many technological areas: geo-processing, health, public town management (sanitation, hospitals management, data management, etc). Even software solutions originated from private entities that had public interest as textual database and web application server ambience. The solutions are used not only by governmental agencies but also by small and medium-sized companies and other kinds of organizations. Other related interest groups emerged inside the BPS: 4CMBr, driven to municipalities; Virtual Market focused on services; 5CQualiBr devoted to the quality of the software in a large sense and to the ecosystem sustaintability. Quality and quality assurance are a challenge in this kind of ecosystem. In this work we will describe the solutions and findings in the Quality Framework to the SPB ecosystem.
17:00   Networking Reception  

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

8:00   Breakfast  
9:00   Dr. Sushil Bhatia, JMD Manufacturing, Suffolk University Sawyer Business School
Complexity and Art of Laughter
What has art of laughter got to do with complexity? A lot. Laughter is the art and science of letting go. To be an effective leader one must understand and embrace complexity. Effective leaders are able to innovate and develop creative new strategies for an unknown future through strategic intuition. Flashes of great insight, that create the foundation for great strategy, according to Bill Duggan, come from a free and open mind. The proven techniques of the art of laughter, meditation (THINK NEUTRAL) and breathing to relaxes the mind and body, frees it up form tension, stress and help us to focus creatively. This brief interactive presentation will show how to get there.
9:30   Paul Pedini, Senior Vice President, Jay Cashman Inc.
Designing with the Second Life in Mind...Recycling on America's Construction Megaprojects
10:20   Break  
10:35   Dr. Greta Meszoely, Suffolk University Sawyer Business School
Water Resources Management in a Saharan Oasis, Emergence and Sustainable Governance
Figuig, an oasis in Morocco, sustained an effective water resources system for centuries. It was supported by a governance system with strong social, political, and legal institutions. While its success alone offers valuable lessons and insight into sustainability, a longitudinal study of the Oasis is even more revealing. Changes in national policy over the past fifty years have had a devastating impact on the community's ability to thrive today. A study of the success and failure of Figuig's water resources management system provides valuable insight into the successful development of effective governance.
slides slides
11:05   The Barbarians are at the Gates...Literally
Building and guiding organizations for success (and survival) over the long term has been a focus of management studies throughout the modern business era. Research in many disciplines is now illustrating how complexity science is essential in understanding the development and dynamics of organizations. Presently, the application of complexity insights in organizational leadership is still more of an art than a science. As one method in assisting with this art, complexity is used as a lens to translate insights from one of history's longest lived and most successful organizations, the Roman Republic and Empire, to the challenges faced by today's organizations.
12:00   Lunch Break (on your own)  
13:00   Howard Park & Tory Gattis, Model Answers, OpenTeams
SIDEARM: Self-organizing for Innovation, Decisions, Engagement, Action, and Risk Mitigation
paper   slides slides  video 
The BP oil spill disaster has shown us all too vividly the catastrophic consequences of excessive organizational complexity and the potential risks to corporate longevity. This paper sets out a model for both the horizontal and vertical compression of organizations to simplify them for enhanced risk mitigation, with additional benefits for innovation, decision-making, employee engagement and action. Horizontal compression involves complex systems visualization, modeling, and simulation for cross- organizational integrated solutions, leading to better decision-making, action, and risk mitigation. We also propose vertical compression of the bureaucratic, command-and-control hierarchy into a flat, entrepreneurial, market-based, self-organizing Bossless Organization. This model is inspired by the Silicon Valley and open source ecosystems to improve innovation, employee engagement, and adaptation to the rapidly changing business environment.
13:30   Marv Adams, executive Vice President, Shared Services, TIAA-CREF
slides  interview  video 
Leadership Effectiveness in Today's Fast Changing and Complex World
Sustainable, effective leadership in today's fast changing world requires enhanced management theories, methods and tools for dealing with the challenges of dense interconnectedness. In many industries, the pace of change is driving firms to learn how to effectively adapt on a continuous basis. Leaders must challenge their thinking about management & leadership practices. Complexity science has insights that we can draw from that are essential to today's leadership challenges. Using these insights, we can design strategies, methods & tools that enable us to turn change and volatility into opportunities instead of threats.
14:20   Break  
14:30   Dr. Cesar Hidalgo, MIT
Complexity as the Foundation of Modern Economies
slides slides   video 
With billions of products, billions of people, and trillions of interactions, the world economy is one of the most outstanding complex systems to have ever emerged. Can we use complexity science to improve our understanding of a system of such paramount complexity? In this talk, Dr. Hidalgo will summarize recent research that uses networks to describe, characterize and understand differences in the productive structure of nations. He will show how the complexity of an economy can be quantified by looking at the structure of the network connecting countries to the products they export, and that countries tend to approach a level of income which is dictated by the complexity of their economies. Dr. Hidalgo will also present how development is constrained by a projection of this network into the space of products, or Product Space, by demonstrating empirically that the evolution of countries comparative advantage is limited by the structure of this network. He concludes by presenting a simple model that can account for some of the stylized facts that arise from this network description of the world economy and show how coordination problems restrict the development of poor countries and cause increasing returns to economic diversity.
15:20   Dr. Hamid Benbrahim, Fidelity Investments
From Lavoisier to Rumpelstiltskin: The creative power of Complex Adaptive Systems
A great deal of science and business management in the Twentieth Century was based on the laws of conservation, where nothing is created, nothing is destroyed, everything is transformed. While these laws apply very well to established matter like oxygen and hydrogen, they fail to explain creation and innovation in complex adaptive systems, namely corporations, markets, and societies. Today, business management and innovation methodologies still remain confined by the laws of conservation.
This talk will address the processes of creation and transformation in complex adaptive systems, and how they can be used towards effective business management. It will also introduce new ways to incorporate uncertainty as a critical element in harnessing business complexity.
16:00   Closing Remarks  
16:10   Adjourn  

Monday and Tuesday networking receptions are included in the registration fee.

Lunch is not included in the registration fee. There is a dining room with a range of reasonably priced hot and cold food items on the 4th floor of Sargent Hall. There is also a large number of restaurants nearby.