The Interconnected Sciences
Back in the eighties I decided that it was about time to shift my interest from doing chemical research to finding ways of connecting science to our social lives. That time very little was known about the interaction of sciences. Today, we know how complexity, which started by computer science along with biology, chemistry and physics, provided disruptive insights on how to relate to social sciences. It is not only the interconnectedness between people; it is also the interconnectedness of sciences that has led to revised paradigms of social sciences, philosophy, psychology and economics, which in turn affected our perceptions of science.
I am attending a workshop in Istanbul right now and the discussions are illuminating. This is the reason behind me writing this buzz. Long are gone the times that we had definite boundaries between sciences as these boundaries are becoming fuzzier every day.
The interconnectedness of sciences has resulted in major shifts in our thinking. For example, the complexity of work today is affecting every chain of the business. Making predictions of what shall happen soon is a gamble. The turbulence of the business climate has led to challenging our perceptions and beliefs. Strategic planning had to be reconsidered. We no more plan for the next twenty years. If we do and set metrics to gauge our plans and deviations we end up in frustration. Deviations are common. Finding the root causes of the deviation falls beyond reason. When we think that we found them and correcting them doesn’t solve the problem we end up in a chaotic state. We become fearful of losing the job, the self-respect and fall preys to increasing stresses. And a great leader is still expected to keep nerves and guide with antifragility. If not, the leader starts looking for preys to blame. Emotional intelligence has grown in importance in search
The survivability of companies became questionable. A new threat from a small firm or even individual might bring the castle of the business down Risk management has risen accordingly to a significant state. Many companies aim for reducing risks before making profits. Lifelong employment has become a mirage because no company guarantees it longevity. Employees are unsettled, and the leader must work with risk-stressed employees and must keep solid characters to keep the moral high and productivity doesn’t suffer. Happiness at work decreased and therefore productivity suffered.
The interconnected sciences have emerged as a new rival for businesses. Foe example, the discovery of a deep marine species with silica cover that can absorb light very efficiently started research on how to emulate this structure and develop structurally-similar products. Should these attempts be successful then the cost of producing electricity from sunlight will drop sharply. This means greater risks to conventional power producers and the possibility of eliminating them.
The interconnectedness of sciences has led to rapidly develop new, more effective and cheaper products. This risk shall grow with the increased realization that understanding how sciences interconnect will lead to breakthroughs and even disruption of many products in the market.
The leaders must have a myriad of attributes to cope so many known and emerging challenges. Yet; these leaders must keep balance, grow with growing wisdom and still keep hope in spite of all the unanticipated failure so that followers may not lose heart. What a burden for the leaders of the day!