I have been converting my thesis into HTML. I’ll be uploading the chapters one-by-one over the next few months. Chapter One is now online. This is the introduction:
Think of an ant – tiny and rather insignificant on its own. Now think of an ant colony and all of a sudden you have ant path planning, brood sorting and nest climate controls. All this is decentralised; emergent. Now look at man-made systems and organisations; interconnected networks, global connectivity, systems-of-systems thinking. These ideas and implementations are emerging out of typically hierarchical, unresponsive, difficult to maintain legacy approaches grounded in an increasingly fast moving, mass customised and dynamic environment. Given this, the understanding and subsequent exploitation of complex and emergent organisations will have an important role to play in man-made organisations; logistics, manufacturing, co-operation and connectivity. Whilst physicists and to some extent computer scientists have embraced the ideas of emergence and complexity to varying degrees, it will be the engineers and managers that will have to understand and implement them in real life situations. Very little has been undertaken to explore and explain the importance, implications and even benefits of emergent and complex systems in industry. Hence, within the context of the aerospace industry, this thesis is written with the aim of explaining the situation with the engineer and manager thoroughly in mind.