The practical applications of Complexity theory provide a new means to gradually introduce our co-workers, our teams and our organisation to Complexity.
They exemplify a new approach that consists of acting our way into the new Complexity thinking. Such new approach shifts up-side-down the centre of gravity of the conversation around Complexity, from theory to practice. It makes practice prominent. And it wants to engage hands-on practitioners, problem-solvers and tinkerers.
This approach consists of talking about and discussing Complexity from a practical point of view; engaging hands-on practitioners, problem solvers and tinkerers in the conversation; acting our way into the new Complexity thinking, instead of waiting for the new thinking to materialise itself, dwelling on the theory with only limited action, or philosophising about insoluble problems while forgetting about today’s opportunities to act.
The preferred approach to learning new ideas for most individuals is to start with practical examples and actual hands-on practice. Practical applications are the most effective way to introduce the basic vocabulary and concepts of Complexity to our co-workers, teammates, the whole team, and the rest of the organisation. Being explicit about the context is also important, in order to move from theory to practice. Otherwise, we remain in the abstract and have a lot of implicit assumptions. For that reason I’ve chosen a context for the practices I’m focusing on. It is modern software and digital products development.
# A departure from the current mainstream approach to Compelexity
Most of the literature on Complexity and most of the conversations revolving around Complexity are theoretical. This is true and has been true in the last 20 years, also in the software development community, in the products development community, and more in general in the broader Lean and Agile community. When you look into real teams and organisations, here and there you will find some individual who is passionate about Complexity, who knows the theory, and who is using it to interpret, understand, and make sense of the events happening around her/him and reacting in more effective ways. Complexity gives her/him an edge. But such a presence of Complexity thinking is confined.