A few weeks ago, on my short visit to Halifax, Rick Nason hand-delivered “It’s Not Complicated, The Art and Science of Complexity in Business.” Inside, there is a singular message with this challenge:
“Rebecca – Never stop embracing the emergence. Rick”
The Oxford dictionary defines emergence as “the process of coming into view or becoming exposed after being concealed.” It comes from Medieval Latin: emergentia which signifies “bring to light.”
Over coffee which stretched across a morning, Rick shared how emergence is a paradigm-shifting way of thinking within a world that thrives on complexity.
Emergence arises out of connections and social interactions. These social interactions could be internal to the organization, or external, between the organization and its industry or even between the organization and the larger economy. Emergence itself cannot be directly managed or predicted, but it can be imagined, and the catalysts to allow emergence can be put into place by an enlightened manager.
Emergence can be either intimidating or inspiring to the manager. It behaves in weird and unpredictable – as well as uncontrollable – ways. Emergence cannot be controlled, but perhaps it can be nudged. Being aware of emergence and being willing to work with emergence rather than fight it are key. However, doing so requires managers to be sensitive to the broader context of business operations and willing to abandon rigid frameworks and strategies that do not allow for the company to quickly change course.
When we said our goodbyes, Rick agreed to engage in a CFAME Connection dialogue that explores how life-long learning positions us to recognize and exploit the advantages emergence offers.
Stay tuned! We invite you to share your insights in this upcoming dialogue.