Trond Hjorteland

Information & Communications Technology

DDD SOA EDA Enterprise Architecture organisational design Organizational Change agile Sociotechnical Systems systems thinking

Oslo, Norway

Thriving in complexity

The world around us are getting ever increasingly hard to understand and predict in the way that we are used to. Simply taking a system apart and studying the elements and making useful models out of them seems to fail more often than not. Systems thinking is by many regarded as an essential tool for dealing with this kind of complexity, where unpredictability and ambiguity is the name of the game. The thing is that even though systems thinking is regarded as a new science, it is not an easy task to get a hang of. Not only is it mind-bending and frequently counter-intuitive, there are also numerous different schools of thought that frames things very differently and are useful for different things.

In this talk we will take a look at some of those schools of though, with a specific focus on open systems as those are the kind of systems we frequently have to deal with in software development that is fundamentally a socio-technical enterprise. We will look into how important the environment is when dealing with such open systems and how we then collectively using participative democracy can deal with much of the complexity that the extended social field expose us to. We will see how we as a social system can become a learning organisation, which not only can adapt and be resilient, but even actively affect their futures. Not only will we cope better, we can actually thrive and build a better world for us all.

This a general intro to open systems theory and is based on a number of prototype talks held at different meetups and internal conferences. See for recordings.

Trond Hjorteland

Senior IT Consultant and sociotechnical facilitator.

Trond is an IT architect and sociotechnical facilitator from the consulting firm and has many years’ experience working with large, complex, and business critical systems, primarily as a developer and architect on middleware and backend applications. His main interests are service-orientation, domain-driven design, event driven architectures, and open sociotechnical systems, working in industries like telecom, media, TV, and public sector. His mantra: great products emerge from collaborative sense-making and design.

Trond tweets at @trondhjort and blogs at

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