Life is: Complex, Messy, Beautiful

Dare to be different

The image above shows a network of real walkways.

It was created in an experiment by Ohio State University, where they dared to do things differently.

They needed to lay walkways in a newly built quad space. But instead of using decades worth of design predictions on where they should lay their paths, they left the space empty.

They waited until the students had worn “desire paths”.

The pathways that formed reflected real organic life… how people really behave. Not how we want them to behave.

Complex. Messy. Beautiful.

The pathways were more effective than they would ever have been if they were pre-defined.

The pathways were more effective than they would ever have been if they were pre-defined.

For decades we have been trying to use data to predict things. Economics, weather phenomena, human behavior…

Turns out that is really hard to do.


Many prediction models work on a reductionist linear approach. Where the system is simplified to the point it makes the predictions manageable.

But in that simplification, we lose the essence of life, and the predictions fail to work in the real world.

Another way of doing things is to observe the real world – to gather data on complex life. And then respond.

Cognisess is using this approach to understand the true nature of people in the world of work.

Not how we want them to behave but how they actually behave.

Insight that allows you and your people to quickly adapt to the changing world. To fluidly deploy your people in a way the drives retention and job satisfaction.

We’ve just given a webinar on the subject, with a Q&A from a panel of leading HR professionals. You can watch the full talk here.

Embrace the edge of chaos and order… it is the environment we will all thrive in.

Dare to be different.

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© Cognisess Limited, 2021