Organizations will need to plan for increasingly chaotic environments that are out of their direct control, and adaptation must involve adjusting to all 10 of the trends. “Work will become less routine, characterized by increased volatility, hyperconnectedness, 'swarming' and more,” said Tom Austin, vice president and Gartner fellow. By 2015, 40 percent or more of an organization’s work will be ‘non-routine’, up from 25 percent in 2010. “People will swarm more often and work solo less. They’ll work with others with whom they have few links, and teams will include people outside the control of the organization,” he added.
Now, all of this might be true, and worth examining. In the actual detailed overview of work trends in this executive summary, Gartner does make some sound observations about thing such as the challenges of working in less compact groupings and the challenge of a work/life balance in which boundaries are steadily disappearing. But it's striking how the rhetoric of chaoplexity has become so prominent over the last twenty years that people almost unconsciously employ it in their writings and everyday speech.
It is, in short, both a useful concept and a parroted meme. The words "complex adaptive," "swarming," and "unpredictable" sound pleasing to our ears even if they may not be the most appropriate terms for the situation at hand. The devil, however, is always in the details. The stronger analysts who looked at aspects of chaoplexity in organizations have very measured comments about the strengths and weaknesses it entails. But the most valuable analysts were mainly writing at a time when the ideas behind networks and complexity were not entirely accepted. Now, there is little that has been written on the subject that hasn't been explored during the 1990s.
We also have to remember, as per Antoine Bousquet, that as revelatory as chaoplexic concepts are, they are still just a manifestation of a scientific way of viewing the world---and one that has just as many flaws as cybernetics did in its day. My question is what paradigm (or in Bousquet's word, techno-regime) will eventually replace chaoplexity in science (in a broad way, not just technical sciences). It's inevitable, but part of being in one era is that it's largely impossible to see into the next with any kind of clear vision.