Jacek Marczyk: Complexity management is not just a fancy way of looking at risk. It is a gateway technology for the future. Without serious complexity management no civilization can survive. Once the peak of development is reached decline begins. More and more things we rely on will progressively start to fail. (with self-testing link)

Why have ancient civilizations disappeared? What happened to the spendor of the Egyptians, Greeks, Incas and Romans? Why do certain civilizations perform better, who do others reach a peak of development and then, suddenly, collapse? Can the same happen to us? There are indications today that our globalized society has limits of development. It is no longer a matter of sustainable development but of the survival of civilization as such. We have triggered a variety of mechanisms that increase the entropy (degree of disorganization) of our society (this includes the economy of course). Entropy, as we know, erodes social structure and accelerates decline. Proof is abundant.

Complexity management is not just a fancy way of looking at risk. It is a gateway technology for the future. Without serious complexity management no civilization can survive. Once the peak of development is reached decline begins. More and more things we rely on will progressively start to fail. Pension systems, tax systems, traffic, fuel and energy supply, etc., etc. Since the rapid increase of complexity is the problem, we must manage complexity. Before we hit critical complexity.

Critical complexity is the gateway that separates a civilization that is doomed from one that will move towards a new level of development. We can define a "post-critical society" one which has recognized in complexity a key attribute of society and which has been able to develop past its critical complexity. This can be accomplished only by actively managing complexity in all spheres of social life and in a harmonious manner. Our society is clearly a "pre-critical society". The recently launched complexity on-line service opens tremendous opportunities for corporations and politicians to take a more holistic look at our world and to help take our society to the next level of development. Evidently, this must be done immediately, before we approach criticality. Our current estimates say that around 2040-2045 our global society will become critically complex.

The idea behind Complexity On-line is simple: A user logs in, uploads a table of data and pays for the service, triggering the execution of an analysis with OntoSpace. When the analysis is done – typically in a few minutes, the user is notified via e-mail that he can download his report. All is automatic. In essence, the service is all about determining the overall health rating of a business process or an organization. The rating is based on the current complexity of a business – which Ontonix measures in a unique fashion – and the upper sustainable limit of complexity, which is an intrinsic characteristic of any organization, corporation or process. The closer you are to your limit, the less manageable and healthy the business is. This, of course, implies higher risk. In addition to the rating, the weak points of a business are indicated , i.e. points where the vulnerability is concentrated. Critical variables are indicated in an intuitive business-process map. Being available via the web, virtually anyone can perform complexity management. This is precisely the idea – to reach everyone. Only if complexity is managed on a global scale can we prevent our global society from reaching critical complexity.

What data is needed to run Complexity Online? The data which is normally used to manage and run any kind of business: tables of revenue, gross profit, net earnings, production volume, profit margin, debt, staff turnover, taxes, raw materials costs, fed/ecb rates, total assets, operating income, average sale, etc., etc. In other words, data which every manager already has. The more variables the better.

Complexity On-line is ideal for processing Monte Carlo Simulation results obtained with @RISK (Palisade Corporation) or with Crystal Ball (Decisioneering, Inc.). Whether you are analyzing projects or stock portfolios, complexity helps not only to select the simpler option, it also adds tremendous insight which conventional methods cannot. Less complex options – providing you have the choice – are always preferable.

Complexity Online is a practical and fast instrument which has been designed with a very specific objective in mind: help corporations and organizations reduce their own complexity. If corporations can keep their complexity under control, this will lead to a globally less complex and less fragile economy. The idea, ultimately, is to help our civilzation transition to a post-critical state in a less traumatic manner.

Measure your complexity on-line: http://www.ontonix.com/complexity/complexity_online.php