One of the biggest technology disasters I’ve seen at ground zero is much more easily understood when it’s viewed through a Cynefin lens. And as you’ll see, this description of Disorder is particularly useful.
If you don’t know what Cynefin is, it’s a classification framework that I’m finding increasingly useful in “what problem do we have?” situations. It consists of a number of domains of situations, each of which suggests a different approach.
Chris Matts’ summary is below, and you can read a longer description too.
The Cynefin model consists of four quadrants of “Simple”, “Complicated”, “Complex”, and “Chaotic” and a fifth quadrant “Unordered” for when you do not know which of the other quadrants you are in.
A “Simple” system is over constrained and has cause/effect behaviour.
“Complicated” is the realm of the expert.
“Chaos” means there are not enough constraints.
“Complex” means there are just enough constraints to create an emergent behaviour which can be nudged and tweaked into a system with desirable behviour.
“Complicated” means an expert can reduce the problem to component parts with predictable behaviour.
“Complex” means there are feedback loops, agents and limits that create an emergent behaviour that cannot necessarily be predicted.
Essentially, the difference between the two can can be distilled to “A complex system interacts with its context and evolves as a result, and a complicated system does not interact with its context or evolve.”