Cities, companies, and innovation – An emerging narrative

The work of Geoffrey West and his team is truly fascinating. In their cross-disciplinary research on complex adaptive systems, they looked for common underlying principles that could be applicable to biological systems and social systems alike. Of course I’m particularly interested in West’s observations on social systems like cities and companies; and the different roles they play in innovation. Today, […]

Cities, companies, and innovation – The crucial interplay

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been pondering over the observations of Geoffrey West and his team. In their cross-disciplinary research on complex adaptive systems, they looked for common underlying principles that could be applicable to biological systems and social systems alike: What do animals and plants, companies and cities have in common? West’s key findings In this quest for […]

Cities, companies, and innovation – Why companies will die

Geoffrey West started his scientific career as a theoretical physicist before he shifted his attention to complex adaptive systems. He focused on interdisciplinary research with a specific interest in the commonalities that social systems share with biological systems: Could it be that cities or companies actually follow the same underlying principles like plants or animals? Is London a great big whale? Is Walmart […]

Cities, companies, and innovation – Why cities keep growing

A theoretical physicist and researcher of complex adaptive systems, Geoffrey West asked himself what social systems have in common with biological systems: Could it be that cities or companies actually follow the same underlying principles like plants or animals? Is London a great big whale? Is Walmart an elephant? In earlier work, he and his team had investigated the role […]

Cities, companies, and innovation – Biological beginnings

Coming from the background of theoretical physics, Geoffrey West looked at the field of biology from the angle of complex adaptive systems. Given the seemingly infinite diversity of life, he set out to find the basic underlying principles that run through biological systems, hoping in the end to transfer those principles to social (human-made) systems like cities or […]

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