Complexity Advantage: How the Science of Complexity Can Help Your Business Achieve Peak Performance ("Business Week" Books)

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9780070014008: Complexity Advantage: How the Science of Complexity Can Help Your Business Achieve Peak Performance (

This text provides examples from multinational businesses to show readers concrete and practical methods, based on complexity theory, for solving practical business problems. The book also seeks to demonstrate how discoveries from the new sciences can help businesses and organizations get out of destructive practices, and embrace constructive ones. Traditional business management models have proved unsuccessful, according to the authors, including the well-mentioned "quality" and "empowerment" programmes. The book argues that in a world growing more complex, understanding complexity theory can make the difference. The text recommends specific business evolution methods and principles which use concepts from the new sciences to make business more effective and profitable. Recommendations include: understanding key concepts from the new sciences and from higher mathematics; developing a practical working knowledge of people and businesses as complex adaptive systems; engaging a "few simple rules", simple and elegant, but not simple-minded; and adopting their "14 principles of business evolution", founded on an understanding of self-organizing systems and concepts from the new sciences.

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From the Publisher:

Rave reviews from noted experts!
"The science of complexity and biological metaphors are now making their ways into the practical world of business. Whether this transformation is revolutionary remains to be seen. The science is new, and persistent; cautious intelligence will be required for its successful maturation to practical applications. 'The Complexity Advantage' is a serious, sustained and successful effort at just such intelligence. Susanne Kelly and Mary Ann Allison deserve to be taken seriously, read seriously, and thanked." --Stuart A. Kauffman, M.D., Founding General Partner, Bios Group LP, Bestselling author of At Home in the Universe

"Finally, a book that reveals exactly how complexity theory really applies to business in the digital age. Fascinating, insightful, pragmatic and well written. Has helped me rethink the design of a knowledge ecology for Xerox PARC." --John Seely Brown Chief Scientist of Xerox Corporation and the Director of its Palo Alto Research Center (PARC)

"Shows managers how to put the rich insights of complexity theory to work in everyday business management to improve strategic and financial results. A pleasure to read and will richly reward the reader's investment." --Dr. Fernando Flores Chairman & CEO, Business Design Associates Coauthor, Understanding Computers and Cognition

"Provides both a map and the methods to navigate in increasingly complex markets by combining real management experience with scientific theory." --Carolyn Ticknor, Vice President and General Manager LaserJet Solutions Group, Hewlett-Packard "Visionary! Presented with much intelligence and verve, here are the core set of concepts from the new science of complexity theory, designed to foster evolution in any business." --Tyler Volk Author of Metapatterns Across Space, Time and Mind

"Their "Fourteen Steps for Success" offers a practical summation of how to incorporate The Complexity Advantage principles into business to generate success." --Andrew May CEO and President, Paradyne Corporation

"Every chapter inspires an action - an action that will change your business." --Geoff Squire Vice Chairman, Veritas Software

"Kelly and Allison use the vocabulary of the sciences of complexity and apply it to real world problems of managing software design and development, offering lessons of emergence, co-evolution, and increasing returns to help managers navigate the transition from hierarchical structures to market structures. --Henry A Lichstein Vice President, Breakout Strategies, Advanced Development Group, Citibank Trustee of The Santa Fe Institute

"Translates the lessons of this new science of complexity to real world situations and options facing business leaders." --David R. Johnson Advisor to the Internet Policy Project, The Aspen Institute

"Provides valuable guidance for leaders who will propel corporations into the next level of management ." --Stephen Cross Director, Software Engineering Institute

"Provides practical tools for anyone in the business community looking for competitive advantage." --Doug Johnson General Manager, Hewlett-Packard Laser Jet Supplies

"This is a book for business, and an excellent guide to intelligent implementation." --John Philpin Internet Consultant

From the Author:

Learn more about The Complexity Advantage...
...on The Allison Group Web Site

Bureaucracy--when it was invented a couple of centuries ago--was a brilliant invention. But, for a number of reasons, including the rapid change and increasing complexity present in today's global economy, it just isn't as effective as it used to be. Nevertheless more than 90% of the businesses in existence today are bureaucracies and are structured using various versions of the factory model. As a result most businesses today are not achieving the PEAK PERFORMANCE of which they are capable.

Self organizing systems exist in every business whether you recognize them or not. Learn how to use key concepts from the complexity sciences to improve business results.

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