How Complexity Influences your Organization

Organizations are full of complexity. Whether your organization is small or large, you have certainly experienced how complexity influences your organization. Numerous stakeholders, market uncertainty and new regulations are only several examples of factors influencing complexity.

During the upcoming weeks, we will be diving deeper into how complexity influences your organization. More specifically, how it makes innovation and change often more complex. Organizations are full of complexity. Being able to tackle existing complexity in organizations plays an important role in achieving the yet untapped value that is currently hidden within this complexity. At the end of this series, you will be able to distinguish the different types of complexities and know how to embrace it within your organization.

So, what should organizations do?

The logical reaction for organizations is to try to reduce complexity. However, as a natural phenomenon, complexity cannot be reduced. And as the cliché goes “the world is getting more complex in an ever-increasing pace”. In fact, trying to reduce complexity is a dangerous and often even counterproductive approach. It leads to oversimplified processes, systems and controls that are disconnected from reality. Lethal in any public or private organization, particularly considering the rapid pace the world is changing around us.

“Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler”

– Albert Einstein

It seems to contradict what Einstein said, but there is a difference between what makes the world complex and what makes it complicated. Complicatedness is something we create ourselves. It includes all the systems, processes and exceptions organizations have created. Over the years, companies have stacked all these complicated systems and processes, but this has rarely given them greater control. Instead, all these layers have led to less control, inefficient operations and a growing distance from the customer. Something not a single organization wants to achieve.

Your organization can achieve a competitive advantage through a different competence: Embracing complexity.

Why should organizations embrace complexity?

If an organization understands what complexity really means, and by tackling this phenomenon, they turn an organizational risk into an organizational asset. After all, if you can adapt to the changing needs in the market quicker than the competition, or even better, drive the changes yourself, you can achieve a competitive advantage in business, or – as a public sector organization – a better service proposition to citizens. Of course, this requires not only a good understanding of their complexity, but also not just opting for quick fixes such as Robotic Process Automation (RPA), also known as bots, which adds even more complicatedness in the end. It requires an agile solution, which can scale and adapt to an organization’s needs at any moment.

Nowadays, tech companies are developing intelligent automation platforms to help companies embrace complexity. Organisations such as Procter & Gamble have successfully embraced complexity by using the Be informed platform, read more about that here.

What is up next?

So we briefly introduced complexity, complicatedness and how embracing complexity can help an organization to create new value. To help you along the way, we will dive deeper into three different types of complexity in several upcoming blogs. Stay tuned by signing up below or follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook to stay in the loop at all times.

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