This blog, “Making Life and Work Better by Taming Complexity,” strives to
- Identify widespread but specific, observable ways in which complexity — most significantly in the form of superabundance of information — reduces our ability to control and improve our lives.
- Describe how we can draw from many different disciplines and technologies to create an abstract model and broadly useful practices for applying computer technology to recording, managing, and transferring “practical knowledge.”
I have started this process, but I invite you to help me …
- define the problem more precisely,
- find compelling examples that illustrate the problem,
- identify and describe the functionality of existing tools that can help immediately,
- share in development of an abstract model that will help software developers create new, more effective, and complementary tools, and
- begin description and testing of practices that show promising short-term and long-term results.
Is that ambitious? Yes, indeed. But it’s needed badly, because providing better access to information has reached its asymptotic limit as a means of solving business problems and facing the challenges of an increasingly complex world.
Is that hard? Yes, indeed. But, we assert, not as hard as many think. We now spend an enormous amount of time converting information into meaning — an entirely natural process for homo sapiens — but we do so without any helpful guidelines for doing so. In fact, we rarely even notice that we are engaged in that process, let alone how much time we waste in those activities.
We already have hundreds of software applications that are intended to help us convert superabundant information into usable knowledge. But those applications often seem alien and difficult, producing marginal results with a disproportionate amount of discipline and effort.
That negative judgement is warranted. Developers of applications for capture and representation of knowledge, in my opinion, have made too many bad assumptions about the basics of converting information into practical personal and organizational knowledge.
What this blog is NOT about
This blog is not primarily about …
- Complexity theory, complex adaptive systems, or chaos theory.
- The emotional aspects of the challenges of daily life and general “problem-solving” strategies for addressing those challenges.
- The meaning of life, in general.
- Enterprise-scale information management, including computer-supported analysis of large volumes of [primarily] unstructured information — which sometimes falls under the term text analytics.
- Embracing and blindly accepting complexity and its deleterious effects.
© Copyright 2021 Philip C. Murray