Ice Floe Water — Pixabay

Entropy, Management and Waste in complex organisations

Think about two fictional UK road haulage organisations.

And let’s imagine that both have same number of lorries. Both use identical lorry models, so have the same load capacity, speed, fuel efficiency etc. Both have the same customer base. Both have pools of drivers and loaders with identical skillsets, initially distributed in an identical way across the country.

The firm has:

  1. complete knowledge of the geographic location of each of its lorries. This data is collected once per second by precise positioning technologies — which also means they have a practically complete knowledge of the speeds of those lorries and…

An upside down F35 jet fighter
An upside down F35 jet fighter
Image by skeeze from Pixabay

Winter is coming. As if caught in a blizzard, the global landscape is becoming less known and less knowable. Some of this is due to well-established trends: substantive changes in demographics with corresponding changes in economic behaviour, a less predictable geopolitical landscape, and a vertigo-inducing rate of technological change. However, two effects are of particular concern because they lie within the space where executives in organisations can take action:

  • The exponential increase in data. This increasingly resembles a thickening fog, with organisations befuddled by the rising risks and costs associated with simply keeping track of the onslaught of information. Whilst…

…a complete theory of how to invest to improve performance for people who need to design organisations strategically

Strategic design is really complex. Part of what makes it difficult is the few ways in which to frame an organisation’s problems that remains consistent across such a range of diverse concerns. These could be responding to customers, allocating capital, working out what technology to adopt, how to push sales, scoping projects, letting contracts…

One thing that can be counted on is time. Organisations process. Everything is a chain of events. These chains have different rhythms, intersecting and interacting in a complex, non-static pattern.

I wrote previously about there being a number of meaningful chains of events in an organisation…

Welcome to the ultimate in “chicken and egg” — solving for outcomes, structures, timelines, and influence all at once…

The disciplines of UX, Digital and Service Design are increasingly finding themselves in situations where they have to address ever bigger design questions for organisations. At the top of the stack rests strategic design — the application of design thinking to the entirety of an organisation.

And this is a field that is by no means new — indeed design thinking to shape whole organisations has been on a fashion loop in senior management circles on almost precisely a decade-long rhythm since the late 1960s. It’s probably fair to say that strategic design is not even a discipline, at least…

David Williams

Strategic Design. Digital Twins. Operating Models. Across Business, Government and the wider Economy. Views are my own.

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