Our business is the business of change, and by change we are fond of the notion, coined by John Holland, of perpetual novelty:

“… new opportunities are always being created by the system. And that, in turn, means that it’s essentially meaningless to talk about a complex adaptive system being in equilibrium: the system can never get there. It is always unfolding, always in transition. In fact if the system ever does reach equilibrium, it isn’t just stable. It’s dead.

And by the same token, there’s no point in imagining that the agents in a system can ever “optimise” their fitness, or their utility, or whatever. The space of possibilities is too vast; they have no practical way of finding the optimum. The most they can do is improve themselves relative to what the other agents are doing. In short, complex adaptive systems are characterised by perpetual novelty.”

We work with organisations that seek to be the best in their field. We focus on the scaffolding for building sustainable organisational capability – an infrastructure for responding to perpetual novelty if you like – that works across different time horizons:

  • in the short term: creating the conditions for people to take responsibility for managing their own performance
  • in the medium term: an environment that encourages practice, learning and capability improvement via coaching conversations
  • and in the long term: an environment of thinking differently and the creation of new opportunities
October 2021
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