IP Report: Our 31st Tankmeeting #3-2015 Innovation goes hand-in-hand with complexity management

This briefing paper includes key takeaways from the Innovation Pioneers tank meeting #3, 2015 on Complexity Vs. Simplicity, by Googol in Stockholm. The meeting included workshops, facilitated by Googol, with 50 representatives from the IP initiating team and corporate members. 

The day at Googol


20150908_105248“Googol invited Innovation Pioneers on a workshop covering the “complex” topic of complexity vs. simplicity, well knowing that these two expressions are not really antonyms to each other. In business life it has been calculated that complexity has increased 6 times in the last 50 years. In the same time “complicatedness” has increased with 36 times. The latter somewhat unknown expression means that we have instituted measures to handle and control complexity that has created problems that are more severe to our business ability than the complexity itself. Is this Complexity Management as we would like to have it? Probably not. Hence this tank meeting was called upon”.

– Bengt Järrehult, workshop leader from Googol.


The purpose of the workshop was to further emphasize on the pros and cons of complexity, complication and simplicity. By visualizing where in companies, to what extent the current situation is and how we want it to be in order to increase our ability to collaborate, respond to market shifts, identify threats and identifying opportunities. The day aimed at evolving towards a visualization of the importance of managing complexity as part of the strategic process towards higher innovation capabilities.


Prior to the workshop, a short survey was conducted with the participants in order to establish an understanding of the basis and starting point for the day. During the day at Googol, based on various cases from members’ joint experience, the participants shared and formed insights, methods and tools with each other. Through four workshops the participants shared and discussed topics in smaller groups, which was later presented to the entire group.

Key Takeaways

We have confirmed the opportunities that exist when working with complexity and that there are some important aspects, which are necessary prerequisites when doing this. Innovation and complexity is affecting the entire organization and our whole eco-system and we have to plan for that.

  • We have learned to see the worlds we live in 4 different “ontologies”; simple, complicated, complex and chaotic.
  • Different behaviors, mindsets etc. are fostered in each ontology
  • Complexity is both positive and negative, depending on level of it and where we are. Just de-complexifying all complexity is not a good way.
  • Complicatedness that we have introduced as countermeasures to handle complexity is sometimes more cumbersome

iP says

To once again see our leaders and practitioners continuous sharing of experiences, methods and tools, was inspiring! This is the very core of our Network of leaders and practitioners.

Do not miss Innovation in Action, November 3-4, with the topic of ”Daring & Sharing” or our tankmeeting #4, 2015 at Husqvarna that will further develop the tank meeting at Volvo Cars. We will address the important topic of ”culture beats strategy”.

We will leave you with the words: we have raised our complexity awareness, have you?

Thank you again Googol for your hospitality.


Selection of our Initiators & Members