organising complexity


organising is...

  • developing and applying new combinations of ideas
  • seeing people get excited about the way they work
  • building networks, developing social capital through trust and a sense of community
  • leading and surviving twenty-two high altitude mountaineering expeditions by being in the right place at the right time
  • being curious about self organisation, seeing it in flocks of birds and shoals of fish, people in business
  • having ten different books on the go at the same time
  • seeing small inputs have a large outcome
  • being fascinated that network theory provided the answers for recent massive power failures in America
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Robin's way of working

is always to recognise the individuality of people. He also makes himself and others aware of the environment within which each individual interacts. This is created by the history and character of the business. (Evolution has shown that it is the emergence of form as well as the sensitive interaction of a species within an environment and visa versa that has led to the rich diversity of life on earth).


deep simplicity

Complexity arises out of deep simplicity. It emerges from the interaction of many parts whose behaviour is determined by a few simple rules. In human organisations these rules will only hold if they are important to the individuals within the business. And when the going gets tough, which it inevitably does, they are simple rules that people will 'stand in the fire' over. Discovering and developing these simple rules requires people to trust one another at all levels of the organisation.

building trust and respect

Robin is very experienced at building trust and respect within groups. By using an interesting mixture of accessible theoretical inputs, experiential learning and group interactions, he helps people to agree upon and live, an appropriate minimal structure - simple rules usually based upon what people value.

a unifying framework

These simple rules become a unifying framework where each person is free to play their contributing role whilst giving coherence to the whole. An agreed minimal structure informs and amplifies the behaviour of the organisation. And the way the organisation behaves influences what it does. (For instance when the culture is one of respect for individuality within the organisation it influences the way it treats those outside, customers for instance).

Building internal relationships in this way supports the growth of an ever more complex organisation that is increasingly flexible and adaptable to continual change. The business becomes more resilient as it uses the principles of self-organisation and learning.

the emergence of networks

The emergence of networks has been shown to be a universal form of organisation.

Left to themselves, living systems can self organise using a network structure. This insight is now at the cutting edge of scientific research. (One of Harvard Business Review's breakthrough)

simple universal principles

Robin is highly skilled at creating the right conditions that allow businesses or groups to self organise.

By understanding these simple universal principles a business can build a framework within which individuality, creativity, uniqueness and competitiveness can be amplified.