Explore our work here, or read on for the nitty-gritty.
1. Principles and Emergence
Even the most complex systems – companies, marketing campaigns, your brain – are governed by rules and principles. Sometimes, they are obvious: leave the teabag in the cup for three minutes. Most of the time however, principles are hidden. Get a stronger brew? Easy: increase the amount of tea, or the steeping time. Get a more successful marketing campaign? ———.
In many contexts, principles are interconnected in such a way that they influence each other. They make up a system whose behavior emerges from the interplay of its principles. For example, a marketing campaign produces numerous measurable results, but trying to infer the exact principles that led to these results is harder than grabbing the soap in the bathtub. Even more important and difficult – because of their large impact on your company’s success – are the systems made up of the people and teams in your company, the interplay of personalities, goals and communication channels.
Below is a simple visualization of equally simple rules. Click and observe the results rules to see how small rule changes can have massive, and sometimes unexpected effects:
2. Business = Systems at Work
In business, teams are systems of people working together to reach common goals. Results emerge from the interplay of principles at work within and outside these systems: from tasks and their execution; from the communication with your clients and within clients’ companies; the influence of corporate politics and market pressure; and so on. These results are sometimes more satisfactory, sometimes less.
Take marketing as an example, i. e. the business of building trust so that people buy stuff. To plant an idea into a prospect’s head, a marketer needs to understand their products, the market, and the prospects’ brains. Also, they need to understand how their colleagues and agencies work and – all too often overlooked – how their own brains tick.
But, as said above, principles are hidden from plain sight and, all too often, withstand even close scrutiny. There are no simple input-output rules, no obvious success metrics, and no clear-cut actions to be done when your results don’t match the plans. Also, the most critical principles tend to be the most elusive and are nearly invisible for everyone who is part of the system. Ms. Ant has no clue that she’s walking along the ant trail that emerged from the system’s collective, principles-influenced behavior.
3. Uncover, Measure, Optimize
In business, polishing the veneer only goes so far. This is why we offer to work with you to improve your business, sales, productivity, and motivation by working the basics: Uncovering the structures of success; streamline processes; build better websites, marketing campaigns and teams; improve habits.
○ ○ ○
From all the phenomena observed in systems, I always had a soft spot for emergence. 1998ish, we programmed virtual ants at the university AI lab. We linked C++ code to a default ant “brain,” and all of sudden behavior emerged that we had never thought of. Ant trails, battle formations, even martyrs who seemingly sacrificed their lives for their ant buddies. Later, both at my jobs in software engineering and psychotherapy, I couldn’t get my thoughts off emergence and how invisible – yet malleable – principles shape our lives and our world. With the current state of MAULCO., emergence is getting a front-row seat, and you’ll find traces in all our services. Drop me a note at email@example.com if you’d like to have a cup of tea (steeped according to your rules) and discuss emergence, ants or anything in between.