Uncertainty is a fundamental feature of our world. In public policy and management, considerable effort is put into eliminating it. But not all uncertainty can be reduced; and much of this effort is wasted.

Complexity science shows that uncertainty does not always stem from a lack of information. Most systems have some irreducible uncertainty and complex systems have a lot of it.

All of our most challenging and interesting problems arise in complex systems and do not yield solely to traditional analytic, reductionist approaches.

To make progress we must add to our toolbox. We must understand the features of complex systems – like path dependencies, contagious norms, network effects and phase transitions – and through this uncover new approaches.

Complexity is not a new paradigm, merely a profound expansion of our frame. A more limited reductionist approach can still be appropriate, albeit applied purposefully and making its assumptions explicit.

RKC provides advice to a range of global clients, on issues such as urban resilience, energy transition , scenarios or risk management. Roland Kupers has published widely through editorials, blogs, books and papers. Other offerings are speeches, facilitation and teaching.

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