Workshop: Complexity Lens


About the Workshop

OBJECTIVE The Foresight Complexity Workshop intends to gather insights from experts and international thinkers on ways to develop a complexity lens that may enable leaders to see the complexity of the world in which they operate.

THEME The broad theme for the Workshop is “The Complexity Lens”.

FOCUS The workshop will address the following issues/questions:

A The two sides of the Complexity Lens
• Individual people who in one capacity or another want to deal with the complexity of the world around them.
• The real world with all the interaction between all the elements in that world.

B What should we see through the lens?
• A crude look at the whole*.
• The complexity lens will be to the world that we can see what the microscope is to the world that we cannot

C What should it be able to focus on?
• The connections between the parts of the system.
• The dynamic interactions along those connections.

D Who should use it and how could/should it be applied?
• Leaders in industry, policy and academia.
• Analyze the systems they are dealing with and to develop strategies to deal with these systems.

E Who and what do we need to crafts the lens?
• The ingenuity and expertise of all the scientific disciplines.
• The creative imaginations of artists.
• The hands-on experience of men and women of practice.
• The conceptualizing power of philosophers.
• New simulation tools, ways to zoom in or zoom out, find a focus within a particular context, new ways to find
and analyze data.

F What would be steps towards the realization of the lens?

* Murray Gell-Mann, (January 9 1990) in a talk about the Santa Fe Institute:
“One of the most important characteristics of complex nonlinear systems is that they cannot be successfully analyzed by determining in advance a set of properties or aspects that are studied separately and then combining those partial approaches in an attempt to form a picture of the whole. Instead, it is necessary to look at the whole system, even if that means taking a crude look, and then allow possible simplifications to emerge from the work.”




Videos & Presentation Slides

Opening speech by Peter Ho
Senior Advisor, Centre for Strategic Futures

Introduction by Jan W. Vasbinder
Director, Para Limes, Nanyang Technological University

Opening keynote by Sander van der Leeuw
Foundation Professor, School of Human Evolution and Social Change and School of Sustainability, Arizona State University
Biography & AbstractPresentation


Speaker: Seán Cleary
Chairman of Strategic Concepts (Pty) Ltd and Executive Vice Chair of the FutureWorld Foundation
Biography & AbstractPresentation


Speaker: Lex Hoogduin
Professor of Complexity and Uncertainty in Financial Markets and Financial Institutions at Groningen University
Biography & AbstractPresentation


Speaker: Linton Wells
Managing Partner of Wells Analytics LLC
Biography & AbstractPresentation


Speaker: Ross Hammond
Director, Center on Social Dynamics and Policy at The Brookings Institution
Biography & Abstract


Speaker: Cheong Siew Ann
Assistant Professor, School of Physical & Mathematical Sciences at Nanyang Technological University
Biography & AbstractPresentation


Speaker: Graham Sack
PhD Candidate, Digital Humanities at Columbia University
Biography & AbstractPresentation


Recapitulation of the first day by Nick Obolensky


Speaker: Eörs Szathmáry
Director, Parmenides Center for the Conceptual Foundations of Science
Biography & AbstractPresentation


Speaker: Colm Connaughton
Associate Professor, Warwick Mathematics Institute and Centre for Complexity Science at University of Warwick
Biography & AbstractPresentation


Speaker: Nick Obolensky
Chief Executive Officer, Complex Adaptive Leadership
Biography & Abstract Presentation


Closing remarks by Jan W. Vasbinder
Director, Para Limes, Nanyang Technological University