Creator of Knowledge
Information Resources Management Association
Advancing the Concepts & Practices of Information Resources Management in Modern Organizations

Managing Complex Adaptive Social Systems

Managing Complex Adaptive Social Systems
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Author(s): Roy Williams (University of Portsmouth, UK)
Copyright: 2011
Pages: 12
Source title: Encyclopedia of Knowledge Management, Second Edition
Source Author(s)/Editor(s): David Schwartz (Bar-Ilan University, Israel) and Dov Te'eni (Tel-Aviv University , Israel)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59904-931-1.ch098


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Complex Adaptive Systems, for our purposes, are social systems that that evolve and display new, emergent properties, and self-organizing behavior of their components; they are based on a reasonably stable infrastructure, on the satisfaction of the most basic needs, and flexible, frequent, and open communication and interaction. Complex Adaptive Systems may be based on a few, simple rules, but can yield complex and unpredictable outcomes. The ‘Hole in the Wall’ project is an interesting case in point in the design of spaces for complex adaptive systems, or complex adaptive networks. In this project, touch screen computers were literally put in ‘holes in walls’ in places where unschooled children congregated. The children were given no instructions on how to use the computers, or what to do with them, but with startling results: the children soon taught themselves how to use the computers and the Internet, and much more (Mitra, 2003).

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