Using Chaos Theory to Achieve a Desired Outcome

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Using Chaos Theory to Achieve a Desired Outcome
Pranav Lal
How does one start using chaos theory to achieve a desired outcome? I can think of using an attractor for defining the result and I can use a force field diagram to describe the change I want.
However, how do I then use chaos theory to map what will happen? Or, am I applying the theory wrongly?

Predictability of Chaos Theory
Pranav, good question: although chaos theory is a realistic model to describe HOW things might happen in a complex (business) environment, it is poor to predict WHAT WILL happen precisely and even more poor as a tool to achieve a specific result via some specific actions.

RE: Using the chaos theory
Maurice Peters
Applying the chaos theory is a matter of awareness. If there's a complex system and you want to apply a change for the entire system, you have to be aware that just changing the behaviour of a detail in the system, simply doesn't do the job. Let me give you an example: If every day a swarm of 10000 birds fly over your home and you want them to fly somewhere else, it won't work to control the flight of one bird. The outcome will be that your bird collides with all other birds.

Chaos Theory Requires Different Thinking
Gary Wong, Premium Member
Pranav: a force field diagram tells me that you believe you have identified all of the forces at play; e.e. known knowns. But in a chaotic situation we're dealing with unknown unknowns and unknowables that can lead to unintended consequences.
Working with chaos requires different thinking. I suggest that achieving a desired outcome should not be your goal. The goal is to understand how the system works.
Introducing an attractor shakes up the system and we then observe how agents in the system respond. Their behaviour changes may even reveal cause/effect relationships. By increasing or decreasing attractor intensity we can shape behaviour in the direction of a desired outcome or possibly a better one. This is the notion of serendipity.
You don't map what will happen since you cannot predict behaviour. But you can map what has happened including your understanding of the system.

Using Chaos Theory to Achieve a Desired Outcome
Ali Sumner, Member
Hi Pranav - you can't use chaos theory to achieve a desired outcome. It is an oxymoron to say "I want to achieve a desired outcome using chaos theory".
I suggest you explore the large body of work that is now being done in the area of complex adaptive systems, particularly with complexity leadership theory which is operationalising the concepts of complexity science (of which chaos theory is a element) particularly the work of Mary Uhl-Bien, Russ Marion. Bill McKelvey and Jeffery Goldstein, James Hazy, Benyamin Lichtenstein and ISCE (Institute for the Study of Coherence and Emergence) and ISCE's work in the area of social complexity.


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