Monday, April 17, 2017

Non Linearity as the Characteristic of Digital Ecosystem

It becomes complex if things do interact, particularly in the case of "non-linear" interaction.

The digital world is a holistic ecosystem - nature, world, or the ecosystem sometimes is used interchangeably. It is all the products of a physically, chemically, biologically, cognologically, linguistically, technologically evolving nature, in that sequence. Digital is fluid, digital is also complex. It becomes complex if things do interact, particularly in the case of "non-linear" interaction, you can't separate things properly or you cannot predict the actual effect of interaction straightforwardly. In fact, nonlinearity is one of the very characteristics of digital business ecosystems.

When systems are not just about linear relationships, they are defined as nonlinear dynamic: And ultimately, organizations need to integrate their interdependencies and ensure the business as a whole is superior to the sum of pieces. Digital boundaries are not "sharp" lines; they are fluid to adapt to changes. The digital responsibilities overlap each other. Groups of people can and do often change from one "set" of responsibilities to another one, they moved from one territory into another often non-linearly. Complexity has increased exponentially. Imagine the complexity that comes in due to these characteristics (less structure, fewer rules and regulations, diversity, ambiguity, unpredictability, lack of linearity and increased flux) working and impacting together. The problem with setting all of your boundaries in a linear way or black and white is that others don't and it can lead to limited learning and tunnel vision. It just turns out that, as human society gets more and more complex, the very natural attempt of humans to take the very powerful techniques of mathematics, such as techniques of linear mathematics or logic and apply it to the world very quickly come up against insurmountable difficulties.

The linear thinking implies the whole is equal to the sum of its parts, which is not effective from a digital business perspective: Digital enterprises are inherently and intensely complex. Moreover, these changes and more do not happen in isolation from each other in predictable ways. They act as a complex and unpredictable system, feeding, amplifying or ameliorating the effects of others and shaping organizational structures and systems. The applying of non-linear thinking has to do with complex problem-solving. Thus, nonlinear thinking is more effective for problem-solving in the complex digital world today. From linear to nonlinear thinking could be evolutionary. Bridging the gaps between linear and nonlinear thinking can significantly help improve business effectiveness. At the beginning, you often make a one-dimensional, linear, list of things to do. At the end when you have gone through the mufti-dimensional analysis or process, when everything else is in place you again have a list of what you need to do, to practice nonlinear thinking and holistic problem-solving.

Understanding nonlinearity as the very characteristic of the digital organization and business ecosystem could be at the tipping point for the digital paradigm shift. It means the radical shift from a silo, linear classic management style to holistic and nonlinear management discipline. It is transformational and profound (unparalleled in management history). Enterprises of the future are increasingly exhibiting such characteristics in various shades and intensity. Via practicing nonlinear thinking and holistic digital management, the future of digital organizations would be complex enough to act intelligently and nimble enough to adapt to the change promptly.


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