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May 29, 2006


Steve Flinn

Irving -- yes -- and one of the interesting things we have found in our advisory work with companies around the world is that, particularly for engineering-based cultures, there are often blindspots with regard to the inherently adaptive nature of business. When you build a bridge, for example, you don't generally have to worry about positive feedback loops -- you only have to worry about building to handle some combination of maximum stresses. On the other hand, in business, feedback loops with regard to customers, competitors and even institutions such as government abound, and are ignored at a company's peril.

We sometimes use the following brief learning tool with executives to put business in the context of the various scientific disciplines, and to make the point just how "hard" business is compared to classic science and engineering:

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