Tim Ross pointed me in the direction of a truly mind blowing documentary on the BBC iPlayer about the nature of chaos, it’s fundamental role in the universe and how it explains the behaviour of complex systems such as the way birds fly in flocks and how we evolve. If you’re in the UK I’d highly recommend watching it before it gets taken down next Sunday (24th Jan 2010). It’s called The Secret Life of Chaos.
- self-organisation e.g. A flock of birds organise themselves into the most appropriate formation, no one tells them how to do it – there’s no “head bird” orchestrating things.
- simple rules e.g. Animals are impelled to mate with each other, which results in evolution.
- feedback e.g. Mating results in offspring which, if they are successful within their system also mate and produce offspring, resulting in animals more suited to their system.
There are a lot of people within software development starting to talk about how we can harness complexity science to create better organisations and software. Here are some examples: