Slimy Stigma

February 15, 2010

My thanks to Brian for bringing this blog on sick stigma to my attention. The Gotta have a Process Blues is a delight and should be sung every morning before work at Government departments engaged in measuring everything except value and impact. Industry too, but there the practice is starting to fade. The virulent infections are mainly in Government these days (adopting industrial best practice around and about the time that industry realises it may have been a bad idea.   

In the entry Mitch Ditkoff (who is now in the RSS feed) makes the vital point that increasing rather than decreasing variability is often key to success. Some years ago (in part honour to Ashby) I coined the phrase requisite diversity to make the same point. These days I would talk more about resilience systems requiring a degree of inefficiency to ensure they can adapt quickly to changing contexts, but the message is the same.

More or less at the same time I found this really interesting piece on using slime moulds to model a transport system. Slime moulds are fascinating – they can change from being a plant to an animal and back again. However they have no knowledge of the future and are pretty close to the most primitive of organisms. However they understand that optimization can often best be achieved haphazardly. Maybe they should be given a belt?

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