During the last session of the 5th Global Peter Drucker Forum, Roger Martin, Academic Director at the Martin Prosperity Institute of the Rotman School of Management, began his talk with a Scientific American of 1868 showing the telegraph and railroads, which says that in no other period had there been so much transformation and change.
Humanity tends to argue that things are unprecedented and has never been seen before, this is a phenomenon we now see when discussing complexity. Roger Martin personally has doubts as to whether the world is becoming more complex. He thinks that everything in life starts a mystery and we then gradually find truth and begin to explain things.
The world has always featured high levels of detail and dynamic complexity. We tend to deal with dynamic complexity by minimizing the detailed complexity by doing so, our approach to deal with complexity causes more complexity and then we blame complexity and not the approach.
By creating silos for research we create problematic levels of inter-domain complexity and then conclude that we are lucky that we are dealing with the complexity. Instead, we should sack the approach because it is in actual fact the approach that is causing the problem.
As soon as you have different systems you will have inter-domain complexity.
One productive way of dealing with the self-inflicted problem of inter-domain complexity, we need a meta-domain. This domain should be one of knowledge in how to integrate across knowledge domains. Unfortunately, we don’t teach students how to deal with this through integrative thinking, as most business professors want scientific processes and integrative thinking. If we want good leaders, we need to train students how to have integrative thinking. Great leaders have this ability. Therefore, it is time to recognize that our approach is flawed and to do something about it.
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Academic Director, Martin Prosperity Institute, Rotman School of Management