Navigating Complexity

Complex Adaptive Systems theory provides a useful lens for understanding various phenomena. This site provides a general, non-mathematical approach to work with complexity.

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Complexity can be used to talk about many different kinds of systems: the ripples of sand in a desert, the pathways of ants in a colony; the behaviors of people in a society. Each of these systems is in some way 'complicated'. But is complexity just another word for 'complicated', and if not, how is it useful to think about systems using a complexity?

What, in the end, is useful about complexity?

Complex systems are not just any class of systems. They are a distinct class of systems that are capable of processing information, energy, or flows in highly efficient ways:

They are great optimizers - stewarding system resources effectively;

They can solve complicated problems - without need for top-down control;

They adapt - realigning to 'fit' into their changing contexts;

They have an alive quality to them - they feel natural.

Such systems can be employed to solve a host of different kinds of problems.