Open Boundaries: Creating Business Innovation Through Complexity
Written by Howard Sherman and Ron Schultz
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Since it was first published 25 years ago, Open Boundaries has been recognized as a seminal work in leading Enterprise Complexity. The process of interaction and emergence introduced in this book, exposes the myth that enterprise complexity can be managed. It cannot. But it can and must be led.
Written by the late Howard Sherman and Ron Schultz, Open Boundaries emerged out of years of seminars held in Santa Fe, New Mexico. These workshops attracted businesses and enterprises from around the world grappling with rapid change. The pace of that change had unceremoniously propelled them out of the industrial age, through the information age, and into a post information age of new and previously unimagined opportunities that were always just one step away.
Leading the way to these adjacent opportunities is why the ideas in Open Boundaries continue to create a new future. They are as needed today as they were when they first shattered enterprise thinking. There is a good reason it, as well as the other books in the Re-Emerge collection, are classics. They are not about control and order, but a means of understanding and meeting the complexity encountered and leading it to a new and vital future.
"Sherman and Schultz are right about the direction business is going in…. This book will make the reader’s rethink their assumptions about about how competition works and how much managers truly understand the flow of business."
Harvard Business Review
"A powerful and pragmatic set of exercises for exploring how we think, how we create the world around us, and how we can change it."
"Open Boundaries is an important contribution to managing in this completely new and uncertain era in business. Sherman and Schultz offer valuable insights into the principles that underlie strategic decision making and compel the reader to challenge their cognitive boundaries, open their thought processes, and stimulate creativity by embracing complexity."
Dave Begley, Director of Strategic Innovation, Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corporation
"Challenging false certainties and acknowledging true uncertainties are part of the hard work of management. Open Boundaries opens the mind to these important tasks."
Adam Brandenburger, Professor, Harvard Business School. and coauthor of Co-opetition
"In Open Boundaries, Sherman and Schultz apply the notion of 'co-evolution' to the domain of ideas—how they influence and are influenced by the environment. Paradoxically, by emphasizing thinking — or more precisely — 'how to think' about our complex world, this book is highly pragmatic, by demonstrating how ideas influence and affect action in businesses and organizations, and how they can become generative and innovative."
Eve Mitleton-Kelly, Director, Complexity and Organisational Learning Research Programme, London School of Economics
"Science has probed deeply into the nature of our world and discovered realities that have exploded our technological growth, while organizational science remains based on old scientific rules. In Open Boundaries, Sherman and Schultz have found ways to apply these understandings to our business organizations. They combine examples from history, philosophy, science, and business in an inspirational look into possibilities that will create quantum leaps in business performance. I recommend this book to anyone who has the courage to transform his or her organization."
Paul Walker, Managing Principal, Senn-Delany Leadership Consulting Group
"Open Boundaries turns a keen philosopher's mind to examining the ways in which an organization thinks, and points to ways in which these corporate cognitive processes are impacted—either enhanced or frustrated—depending on the ways in which we think about the organization. Open Boundaries is unparalleled in applying ideas from complexity science to the problems of corporate organization and performance."
Christopher Langton, Cofounder, Swarm Corporation, and coeditor of the Journal of Artificial Life