Book Review: JC Ramo, The Age of the Unthinkable

This is my take on JC Ramo’s new book, The Age of the Unthinkable.

Communication technologies, globalization and the thick interconnections of both people and institutions have increased the systemic complexity of the world, reduced stability and bombards us with near constant change.  Traditional bureaucratic and hierarchal management structural do not have sufficient flexible to response to what is a crisis of predictability.  All complex systems (and that is the world we now face) contain internal dynamics that resist prediction when viewed from a single external perspective.  The old ways explain little, their managing hierarchies are often corrupted by “power position and prestige” and they increasingly are leading us only to failure.

To respond successfully to this increasingly complex world Ramo suggests a revolutionary (although evolutionary may be a better term) approach that looks very much to me like current Agile management methods.  Use small cross-functional teams who can evolve in response to changing contexts with creativity as they respond to changing requirements.  Build systems that anticipate change; dynamic systems that can be resilient and responsive in the face of change.  Analyze the world with imagination as a holistic interconnected network.  In short, see, prepare and build in ways that can help make the unthinkable thinkable.

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