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Managing complexity: A systems approach – introduction
Managing complexity: A systems approach – introduction

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4.2 Articulating your appreciation of complexity

Initially, I would like you to notice whether and how your appreciation of the phrase ‘managing complexity’ has changed since you started the unit. As you work through Section 4 you will encounter a number of ways of thinking about complexity that may be new to you, so it becomes important to record your developing understanding. To help you with this, return to your notes on Activity 2 in Part 1. They should be in your Learning Journal. Now complete Activity 40. You should take no more than 20 minutes to complete this activity.

Activity 40

Articulate your initial appreciation of complexity.

You chose to do a unit entitled ‘Managing complexity …’. Construct a spray diagram around the phrase ‘managing complexity’ by adding descriptions of the different meanings you gave to the phrase when you started the unit. To do this you may have to refer to this link [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] to ensure you are aware of the best way to construct a spray diagram. You will also need to draw on your answer to Activity 2 and, possibly, other activities in Part 2. There may also be other relevant material in your Learning Journal. If you are unable to articulate more than one or two meanings for managing complexity do not worry. Complete a spray diagram all the same, because I will be asking you to add to it as you go through this section.

Outline the experiences that led you to attribute the range of meanings to managing complexity shown in your spray diagram. For example, some of the meanings might be ‘I read book x’; ‘I work in this field where complexity means y’. Complete this by writing a paragraph or two.

Articulate changes in your appreciation of complexity.

Add to your spray diagram any new meanings for managing complexity that have become apparent to you as you study the course. If you gain new insights into your earlier answers, add another set of branches to existing branches on your diagram. You can use the original diagram and add the additional information in a new colour.

Keep building up your spray diagram using different colours – or a scheme that suits you – as you work through this section of the course. As new meanings and insights become apparent, add them to your spray diagram. You may find at some time that you want to reorganise the diagram because new insights enable you to see ‘managing complexity’ in a different way. Add your diagram to your Learning Journal.