Identified as an integral element of addressing contemporary challenges, the study of complex systems is fundamental to the work of the Adapt Institute.

What is complexity? 

Many definitions for complexity exist, some of which are accessible through the Adapt Institute’s library and the brief presentation below. Although definitions do exist, an initial defining or explaining of complexity can be facilitated through the use of a familiar experience.

 

First, encountering complexity is commonplace. Even without acknowledging the existence of complexity throughout everyday professional and personal life, it presents itself usually in the form of surprise or when planned activities produce unexpected outcomes. In other words, complexity is often at the source of why things do not take place in the way in which they are expected.

 

 

Typical conventional, analytical thought is based around an idea of neatness where there is stability, order, clean and definable patterns, and predictability. However, the world generally exists in a fluid and messy manner. Designed to guide the development of professionals in emergency management and the emergency services with the ability to navigate complexity, the Next Generation Core Competencies provide a means to lessen this gap. Through guidance, the Adapt Institute can guide their implementation and further help educational programs and organizations develop an understanding and sensitivity towards complexity. 

For a more in-depth answer and an explanation as to how the gap between what is expected to happen and what actually happens is created, view the presentation below. 

As it is often used, “Complexity” refers to what is known as combinatorial, computational, or detail complexity that arises in situations where there are a number of variables to consider.

In these situations, a decisionmaker is tasked with selecting the optimal arrangement of variables out of the larger quantity.

As it is commonly used,  “complexity" refers to what is known as combinatorial, computational, or detail complexity that arises in situations where there are a number of variables to consider.

In these situations, a decisionmaker is tasked with selecting the optimal arrangement of variables out of the larger quantity.