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First published 20 July 2015

Steering a Complex Adaptive System: A Complexity Science Design Methodology Applied to an Industrial Ecosystem in the Humber Region, UK

Alexandra S. Penn

Abstract (Excerpt)

Many important challenges facing society today involve the management of interlinked complex adaptive systems (CAS): coupled socio-economic and ecological systems composed of many interacting elements which have been created or partially created by human actions. As we explicitly wish to manage and transform these systems, engineering and design approaches have much to offer us, however they must be fundamentally modified to deal with CAS. These systems are not static artifacts, but dynamic, evolving and reflexive processes the behaviour of which is not straightforwardly predicable and which may respond in unexpected ways in response to our interventions. Additionally many of the complex systems which we would most like to influence have significant social components. Objective choices about design goals cannot be made and the integration of participatory or political processes may be required.