Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Producing Coherence in the Flow

Designers of interior spaces have found that a perfectly useless post positioned along the path to a fire exit may actually help people escape. Give evacuees storming toward a doorway a little something to avoid and you stagger their arrival slightly, allowing them to stream through the opening in a reasonably controlled flow, rather than colliding there at once and causing a pileup. The obstacle keeps you at the top of the complexity arc, preventing you from plunging headlong to the frozen end.
"You create a little turbulence," says Santa Fe Institute economist John Miller, who specializes in complex adaptive social systems. "By adding a little noise to the system you produce coherence in the flow." (Simplexity, pg. 52)
Much of training could be viewed as "adding a little noise to the system" to "produce coherence in the flow". Note that it doesn't mean flood the system, or blow out the speakers adding noise - a little will do.

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