Lots of things in life are really, really complicated. Sort of like a rain forest.

April 5, 2012, 6:59 am

Some things are exquisitely complicated.  Making changes, fixing problems, or making improvements to such things is really difficult.

Unintended consequences result when you do something simple in a complex system.

Came across a superb illustration of the challenge of dealing with complexity. In his post The Health Care Disaster and the Miseries of Blue, Walter Russell Mead compares the US healthcare system to a jungle ecosystem.

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Aircraft carrier as illustration of “overhead” needed to get something done

September 3, 2011, 2:20 pm

4,100 people work so 200 can fly.

In August, my wife and I toured the USS Midway aircraft carrier museum in San Diego. Quite a treat if you enjoy either airplanes or naval ships.

One narrative plaque really caught my attention. It quoted someone as saying that 4,100 people are hard at work onboard so 200 can fly airplanes. Since the purpose of the carrier is to put planes in the air, everyone else on board is in a ‘supporting’ function.

Seems to me that this is a good illustration of the concept of overhead or functional allocation that we work with in the nonprofit world.

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