What is Complexity?

Well, apart from the most important field of science for the next century…

Complexity science represents a growing body of interdisciplinary knowledge about the structure, behavior and dynamics of change in a specific category of complex systems known as complex adaptive systems—open evolutionary systems in which the components are strongly interrelated, self-organizing and dynamic. Rain forests, businesses, societies, our immune systems, the World Wide Web, and the rapidly globalizing world economy can be thought of as complex adaptive systems. Each of these systems evolves in relationship to the larger environment in which it operates. To survive, the system as a whole must adapt to change.

In recent years, scientists have identified many of the basic characteristics and principles by which complex physical, biological and social systems organize, operate and evolve, leading to important insights and research implications in almost every field. As a result, we are witnessing the integration of knowledge across disciplines and the emergence of new concepts, tools and a vocabulary of complex systems thinking. From health care to city planning and international politics, complexity science is creating a fundamental shift in how we view the world, and with it the need for a shift in how we must think about, organize, plan for and lead 21st century organizations.

http://www.complexsys.org/downloads/whatiscomplexity.pdf

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