Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Antifragile: my contribution to a networkshop

Antifragility consultant and long term supporter of Open Business Sinar Si Alhir was asked to host a workshop at the Center for Technology Innovation at the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee.
Rather than go it alone, he turned to his network to create a more antifragile response.
I was among those he chose to reach out to and you can see the output of the whole here: (Demystifying Antifragility).
The concept, if you aren't aware, comes from Nassim Nicholas Taleb's book Antifragile - Things That Gain From Disorder (which I thoroughly recommend).

Here's the full text of what I shared with the networkshop:

For me antifragility is about networks (and as is my interest) primarily about the relationships in those networks.

Networked organisations are antifragile. The Mob, Al Queda, these are difficult to destroy because the idea resides not in a boss at the top but in everyone everywhere.

Facebook is fragile. It's fixed networks can be severely damaged by the removal of prime nodes - or superconnectors. Twitter is antifragile - made of nodes where the ability to organise and re-organise around interest in adhoc ways means the loss of one node has less impact on the whole.

The internet is antifragile. Indeed if the web historians are to be believed it emerged as a military application designed to outlive more formally structured communications channels.

Hierarchical companies are fragile. Take out Steve Jobs and...

Familes outlive the oldest companies and will continue to do so; they are networks of connections with both close and weak ties creating a fluidity and adaptability that is essential to be antifragile. They are tied by something which connects them all to each other, not each node to a leader.

The key test of the antifragile is that it has stood the test of time; the weather is antifragile, evolution is antifragile (hence life in aggregate rather than in particular).

Designing for antifragility requires us to think about the survival and continued flourishing of the whole, of the web, rather than of the individual, or the node.


The rate of change is so rapid it's difficult for one person to keep up to speed. Let's pool our thoughts, share our reactions and, who knows, even reach some shared conclusions worth arriving at?