Jo Geraghty


A self-defeating spiral of complexity

Date added: 29th Feb 2016
Category: Innovation Culture

When a crisis of ideas can lead to complexity rather than solutions

Lord Mervyn King, the former Governor of the Bank of England has warned that whilst governments have been working to strengthen the banking system, “bankers and regulators have colluded in a self-defeating spiral of complexity.” Quoted in the Telegraph, Lord King’s comments come on the back of his new book which is due for publication this week and which seeks to examine why the crash  “was and remains a crisis not of banking – even if we need to reform the banking system – nor of policy-making – even if mistakes were made – but of ideas.”

Given the other warnings about global financial stability which are currently rumbling around, Lord King’s comments are particularly pertinent. However, they could equally apply to other business sectors. When the going gets tough the temptation is to close in on yourself, to tighten processes and introduce extra levels of checking in a bid to maximise return from minimal resources. However, this can lead to a self-defeating spiral in which employees spend more and more time doing less with more, in the process using valuable time in producing reports rather than producing excellence.

Innovative organisations, on the other hand, know that strength and success comes through ideas; through opening up the organisation to collaboration and agility in a drive towards genuine solutions which resonate with customers.

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