Complexity Space Outcomes
One of the characteristics of complex adaptive systems (CAS) is that they are continuously changing. That poses unique challenges for those that would like to measure them. As an analogy, in quantum physics, the act of observing a quark may change its state!
The Complexity Space deals with continual change, emergence, and self-organization by defining two complementary types of outcomes — two different ways to answer the question, “Are we accomplishing what we wanted to?”
We have labeled one set of outcomes as the “What” outcomes. We have found four areas to be particularly robust and flexible:
- Quality: Changes in defects, scrap and rework, meeting customer expectations
- Cost: Changes in adherence to budget, maximize utilization of resources
- Timeliness: Changes in responsiveness, adherence to deadlines, output per unit of input
- Compliance: Changes in meeting external and internal laws, regulations, and polices/procedures
The second set of outcomes focus more on the unique “pattern shifting” characteristics of complex systems. Four “Dynamic” outcomes seem to have particular power:
- Engagement: Changes in commitment and discretionary effort
- Networks: Changes in formal and informal connections
- Agility: Changes in ability to respond to internal and external demands
- Pattern Shifts: Changes in options for future action
It is essential to recognize that both sets of outcomes matter. As in other areas of the Complexity Space, this “both-and” dimension allows a richer understanding of the dynamic nature of complex systems.