The Next Web


The Presentation inside:

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The Next Web How this new network of connected things is a complex system. Why this means we no longer know what we’re doing. And why that might just be ok after all. 18 March 2015


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What it used to be The Next Web


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What it is now The Next Web


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It’s complicated The Next Web


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Keep it simple, stupid The Next Web


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The Next Web


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“As with all things in life, it’s changed … So I guess I now prefer complexity.” The Next Web


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Bugger The Next Web


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Complex systems The Next Web


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Complex systems (the following from “Complexity: A Guided Tour” by Melanie Michell) The Next Web


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Complex systems Complex collective behaviour – the whole is not just the sum of its parts. The Next Web


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Complex systems Complex collective behaviour – the whole is not just the sum of its parts. Signaling and information processing – these systems both produce and consume signals and information. The Next Web


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Complex systems Complex collective behaviour – the whole is not just the sum of its parts. Signaling and information processing – these systems both produce and consume signals and information. Adaption – they adapt through learning to get more effective at what they do. The Next Web


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Examples The Human brain. Weather and climate. The behaviour of societies. Communication networks. Capitalist markets. The Next Web


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Important Point #1 Complex systems cannot be understood by understanding their constituent parts. The Next Web


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Aside #1 – measuring complexity The system is as complex as the lines of computer code it would take to code that system from start to finish. The Next Web


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Example system 1.0 The Next Web


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Example system 1.1 The Next Web


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Example system 1.2 The Next Web


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Example system 1.3 The Next Web


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Example system 1.4 The Next Web


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ARRGGHH Example system 1.5 The Next Web


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Example system 2.0 The Next Web


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Example system 2.1 The Next Web


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It’s adapting, but it’s painful It happens all the time. So why do we expect to get it right next time? Because we understand more this time? The Next Web


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It’s adapting, but it’s painful It happens all the time. So why do we expect to get it right next time? Because we understand more this time? Remember, complex systems do not get easier to understand the more you understand their constituent parts. The Next Web


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Seeking simplicity in the face of complexity is simply a faster route to obsolescence. Accepting complexity The Next Web http://responsive.org/2014/05/you-cant-escape-complexity/


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Important Point #2 New technologies mean our systems have to adapt. Fighting that adaption is painful and in all likelihood entirely futile. Stop it. The Next Web


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Aside #2 – death of RSS was Very Bad It represents the New Order (Google, Facebook, Apple) tightening their walls around their (your) data. It represents them locking you (the user) into one ecosystem. Apple do it better than others, but they ALL do it. But being locked into one platform does not simplify the experience. The system is still complex. And now you have less choice. The Next Web


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Concentric complex systems Not only are our technological networks complex, but the organisations in which they sit are likely also complex. We have to deal with, unfortunately, complex systems within complex systems. The Next Web


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The Next Web Marketing H.R. I.T. Sales Finance Marketing Director Marketing Manager Brand Manager Comms Manager Digital Marketing Manager Digital Marketing Manager Marketing Executive Marketing Executive Concentric complex systems


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The Next Web Marketing H.R. I.T. Sales Finance Marketing Director Marketing Manager Brand Manager Comms Manager Digital Marketing Manager Digital Marketing Manager Marketing Executive Marketing Executive Concentric complex systems


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The Next Web Marketing H.R. I.T. Sales Finance Marketing Director Marketing Manager Brand Manager Comms Manager Digital Marketing Manager Digital Marketing Manager Marketing Executive Marketing Executive Concentric complex systems


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The Next Web Marketing H.R. I.T. Sales Finance Marketing Director Marketing Manager Brand Manager Comms Manager Digital Marketing Manager Digital Marketing Manager Marketing Executive Marketing Executive Concentric complex systems


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The Next Web Marketing H.R. I.T. Sales Finance Marketing Director Marketing Manager Brand Manager Comms Manager Digital Marketing Manager Digital Marketing Manager Marketing Executive Marketing Executive Concentric complex systems


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The Next Web Marketing H.R. I.T. Sales Finance Marketing Director Marketing Manager Brand Manager Comms Manager Digital Marketing Manager Digital Marketing Manager Marketing Executive Marketing Executive Concentric complex systems


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ARRGGHH Haven’t we been here before? The Next Web


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An example The Next Web


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Important Point #3 Complex systems exist within other complex systems. The workings of one interact with the workings of the other. The Next Web


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The Black Swan The Black Swan is a concept based around the idea of events that are impossible to predict but that seem obvious in hindsight. For a variety of reasons, this is true of almost all large events. Human beings are very bad at accepting randomness. But the truth is that random events impact upon our lives and success far more than we realise. See also: Outliers; Thinking Fast, Thinking Slow; Any Good Book On Behavioural Economics. The Next Web


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Dealing with uncertainty Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s approach to the stockmarket: Place a lot of bets on exceptionally safe low-odd outcomes Place a few on exceptionally risky high-odd outcomes The Next Web


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Dealing with uncertainty If you don’t know which 1 thing is going to happen, do more than 1 thing. The Next Web


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Important point #4 Complex systems are hard to understand. But human beings like to feel like they understand. Post-rationalisation is rampant and covering up the truth.


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Benefiting from complexity Complexity brings uncertainty. We might understand what happened, but we don’t yet understand how or why it happened. Can we use this to our advantage? The Next Web


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Why don’t we just accept the truth We don’t know. We’ve got no clue. Sorry boss. The Next Web


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If we know this, we can benefit by … Building extensible systems. APIs. Standard frameworks and interfaces. Common web services. Things that allow data to flow between points more easily. The Next Web


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If we know this, we can benefit by … Building extensible systems. APIs. Standard frameworks and interfaces. Common web services. Things that allow data to flow between points more easily. Building adaptable systems. More advanced notions of AI that helps systems learn and adapt to new environments. The Next Web


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If we know this, we can benefit by … Building extensible systems. APIs. Standard frameworks and interfaces. Common web services. Things that allow data to flow between points more easily. Building adaptable systems. More advanced notions of AI that helps systems learn and adapt to new environments. Building open systems. Open, standardised platforms make extensible and adaptable easier. The Next Web


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If we know this, we can benefit by … Building extensible systems. APIs. Standard frameworks and interfaces. Common web services. Things that allow data to flow between points more easily. Building adaptable systems. More advanced notions of AI that helps systems learn and adapt to new environments. Building open systems. Open, standardised platforms make extensible and adaptable easier. Building more systems. If we cannot know for sure what will work, we should do more than 1 thing. The Next Web


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What might we see in the future? Solutions shared across multiple clients, collaborating to develop better results (e.g., multiple charity clients sharing data to develop big data prediction solutions). The Next Web


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What might we see in the future? Solutions shared across multiple clients, collaborating to develop better results (e.g., multiple charity clients sharing data to develop big data prediction solutions). Rapid prototypes, development of Minimal Viable Products, that are released quickly, learnt from, and redeveloped. The Next Web


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What might we see in the future? Solutions shared across multiple clients, collaborating to develop better results (e.g., multiple charity clients sharing data to develop big data prediction solutions). Rapid prototypes, development of Minimal Viable Products, that are released quickly, learnt from, and redeveloped. A website that has a genetic algorithm that constantly evolves its IA to maximise conversion. The Next Web


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What might we see in the future now? US firm DataKind was set up with the expressed intention of helping charities to find data professionals to help with data analysis across multiple charities. The Next Web


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What might we see in the future now? Government Digital Services in the UK have been leading the push, releasing work in an agile fashion, adapting to the chaos caused by complex systems. The Next Web


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What might we see in the future now? A space antenna, designed by a genetic algorithm (in 2008). This was a better design than anything designed by human-hand. The Next Web


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This is happening now The ability to accept you cannot understand frees you You can plan and build things differently. More successfully. And finally … The Next Web


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Answering “will it go viral” I don’t know if it will go viral. In fact, I cannot know if it will go viral, as the concept of viral spread is inherently a complex system that is unfortunately not understandable by reviewing and understanding its constituent parts. Therefore despite being able to review the creative idea, despite having an excellent grasp of social media, despite knowing the number of fans and followers your brand has and despite knowing the amount of budget you have to spend on media to kick start it [DEEP BREATH] I am unable to tell you if this piece of work will go viral. The Next Web


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Thanks very much [email protected] @adamsefton The Next Web


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One last thing!! One-in-twenty The Next Web


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