Chaos Theory and Business, Industry Week Article

A New Science for Business Strategists:
Complexity, chaos, and the 'natural laws' of business"

by Jon Mariotti

Industry Week October 21, 1996 page 12
Below is a summary  of the article

The author, John Mariotti, has long been interested in applications of the natural world and science to business. Years ago he met Prof. Stuart Pimm at the University of Tennessee and discussed parallels between species in their environments and companies in their industries. The professor introduced him to two others working in the field; Roger Lewin, author of Complexity - Life at the Edge of Chaos (Collier Books 1992), and Stuart Kauffman of the Santa Fe Institute in New Mexico.

Kauffman has recently published two books; The Origins of Order and At Home in the Universe. both books were published by Oxford University Press. The second book probes the parallels between natural and economic systems.

The author notes there may be an optimal transition zone between complexity and chaos. This would be where things happen faster and yet are not thrown into chaos by minor events.He mentions the growth of Microsoft. To move to far forward is to risk chaos, but to remain or slip backwards would result in death.

This emerging new science of business, economics, and the natural sciences considers the "adjacent possibilities", things that could emerge that are similar to others.

In biological sciences, organisms are seeking resting places where they can prosper. Species adapt and survive or die and become extinct. It is very similar to the world of business.

The Kauffman points our that a new wave of consultants and buzzwords may emerge from this science as people try to profit from its application to industry. The science is still in its infancy and a great deal is yet to be learned. There are some things there we are searching for but they have not yet become apparent to us.

The author agrees and say the parallels are numerous and profound. Natural laws may one day reveal the future of the competitive world.

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