Back to quotes table-of-contents

From The Aesthetics of Change
In the [predator/prey] example, the battle over food and territory between two species is only one half of the story. The larger cybernetic picture is that the battle is a means or process of generating, maintaining, and stablizing an ecosystem.

From Surfing the Edge of Chaos
The defining feature of a complex adaptive system is its ability to learn.

Recent study of evolution, both in the natural world and in computer based complex systems, has demonstrated the surprising result that the presence of parasites in a system accelerates evolution dramatically.

From Growing a Business
Businesses that grow too fast or in the wrong way overwhelm the adaptive capacity of the people who work there.

From Sense and Respond
Adaptiveness… cannot just be added on to an organisation's existing capabilities: the organisation itself must become adaptive.

From Adapt - why success always starts with failure
Tight coupling means the unintended consequences proliferate so quickly that it is impossible to adapt to the failure or to try something different.

From The Gift of Time
Jerry warns us that when a system that continues to change or that is in a changing environment is subjected to a fixed set of tests, it will inevitably over-adapt to those tests, leading to a higher probability of severe or surprising failures in the field. [James Bach]

From The Art of War
Victory in war is not repetitious, but adapts its form endlessly.

From How Buildings Learn: Chapter 5 - Magazine Architecture: No Road
The specious old-box is old because it is profoundly adaptive.

From The Silent Language
Theodosius Dobzhansky, the great human geneticist, once observed that life was the result of neither design nor chance but the dynamic interaction of living substance with itself. He meant that life, in a changing environment, places such strains on the organism to adapt that, if this does not take place constantly, the organism as a species dies out. ... Different cultures are analogous to different species in the sense that some of them survive whilst others perish. Some are more adaptive than others. The study of change, therefore, is the study of survival.

From How to use Conscious Purpose Without Wrecking Everything
What is involved is not simply survival of the fittest, but survival of the fitting-in-est.

Evolution always means Co-evolution.

From Brain Rules
Charles Darwin noted… the brains in wild animals were 15 to 30 percent larger than those of their tame, domestic counterparts.

From Agile Development in the Large
It is important that instead of the process being adopted it is adapted.

From Leverage Points
The most stunning things living systems and social systems can do is to change themselves utterly by creating whole new structures and behaviours. In biological systems that power is called evolution. In human society it's called technical advance or social revolution. In systems lingo, it's called self-organization.

From Obliquity
Evolution is smarter than you are.