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This post, jointly written with John Mitchell of ALNAP, reflects on the emerging challenges faced by the international humanitarian sector, and the need for systemic changes. This piece is also published on the ALNAP blog, and the discussion paper on which this is based can be downloaded here. CAR, Syria, Iraq and South Sudan, Gaza, Ebola… […]

Therapist-Couch

The eagerly awaited 2015 World Development Report (WDR), launched yesterday, is on the topic of ‘Mind, Society and Culture’. For busy readers there is a great 40 page overview here and those with an aversion to reading can check out the handy infographic below. But I urge you all to download and read the whole thing. It is superb stuff – to […]

This is a fascinating thinkpiece from four leading thinkers at the Boston Consulting Group, Martin Reeves, Ron Nicol, Thijs Venema and Georg Wittenburg. As well as discussing the power of evolutionary approaches in business, it showcases BCG’s work with agent-based modelling to strengthen strategic thinking (about which more on this blog soon). Much of relevance […]

Physics

A wonderfully written piece in today’s FT Magazine by Stephen Foley, on the changing role of physicists in financial markets. A short extract below, and the full article is here (sign up may be required but is free for a certain number of articles). ‘…complex systems are not systematically predictable. They’re only predictable in some regimes…’ The […]

BE

Behavioural economics is not (a) about controlling behaviour (b) conservative or liberal (c) about irrationality. So what exactly is it? People are complex; they defy easy summary. Like Walt Whitman, we all contain multitudes. As a discipline, economics has been successful in part because it has ignored this complexity. Instead it has focused on explaining the institutions […]

shutdown

This is the editorial from this weeks’ New Scientist, which looks at complex systems approaches in the context of the US shutdown. I especially like the line towards the end: ‘Few politicians are familiar with this emerging science, and many will be constitutionally disinclined to embrace it.’ If history really is, in the famous dictum, […]