Visualization of immaterial complex subjects

A one-pager on a project design combining the dimensions of creativity, Big Data, design, thinking and visualization of immaterial complex subjects

Eventhough more and more data is available the complexity of today’s world seems to be the ultimate challenge which has to be taken. Either the flow of refugees, the political situation in the Middle East, the global markets, or the finance sector are areas within the decision makers facing confusing situations. To solve problems or to make decision which lead to a positive outcome, financially, ecologically or social, one or even low dimensional measures have either no effect or worsen the situation. The need is to accept the complexity as an inherent feature, which we have to accept. This means we have to understand and grasp the system as a whole. Then we are able to develop powerful multidimensional strategies to tackle the problems of today’s world.

The approach offered for discussion and forming the basis of this project is, how complex and, due to its abstract and often immaterial nature hard to grasp systems can be turned into better conceivable representations, also better adapted to the ability of perception by a human being. Traditionally as for technical systems this aspect has been treated e.g. in man-machine-interface or usability studies; the scope of such studies usually is limited to the space of application of the system under consideration, thereby being reduced in complexity. With Big Data and the growth in complexity on all levels, the challenge now is a much bigger one and – as for risk observations – much more critical.

The suggestion is to found or to compile a project in which representatives from system design and from design thinking schools, software architects and engineers, Big Data analysts, statistical data analysis experts, digital designers, psychologists – especially from gestalt psychology -, info chart designers, management scientists, artists and complexity researchers working together aiming at making complex abstract constructs (or observed complex realities such as in representation for climate, weather, environmental systems…)  a) conceivable, b) visually represented, c) intellectually and emotionally perceptible. In the end, beneficiaries shall be those having to take decisions on complex issues. They shall be enabled to take better decisions than ever before in looking at the system represented in  new forms. In this respect the project shall also contribute to avoid risks as emerge from complex human made systems such as e.g. chemical factories or similar.

Subject to be studied in first instance shall be complex artefacts such as large software systems or big technical infrastructures. In consequence, besides representatives from the said disciplines listed above, representatives from companies / industries which have to cope with complexity shall be invited to take part in this project also as the future beneficiaries. This may be telecom infrastructure and service providers, logistics companies, operators of large industrial facilities or of energy networks, health care administrations etc.

To resume: the benefit of this project shall be

  • to much better conceive and understand complex systems,
  • to understand how to deal with complexity thus avoiding wrong or bad decisions,
  • enabling people taking decisions to better understand what they are deciding on in case the subject is complex, abstract and immaterial,
  • to represent complex systems so that they are better perceived - intellectually and emotionally (for the latter, representation in art may be preferable),
  • to use the results for better representation and communication of the complex subjects to be conveyed  

This idea  also is persued by Günter Koch, Mittelgasse 7, 1060 Vienna, Austria,

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