So I want to share with you a couple key insights about complexity we’re learning from studying nature that maybe are applicable to other problems. First is the simple power of good visualization tools to help untangle complexity and just encourage you to ask questions you didn’t think of before. For example, you could plot the flow of carbon through corporate supply chains in a corporate ecosystem, or the interconnections of habitat patches for endangered species in Yosemite National Park.
The next thing is that, if you want to predict the effect of one species on another, if you focus only on that link, and then you black box the rest, it’s actually less predictable than if you step back, consider the entire system — all the species, all the links — and from that place, hone in on the sphere of influence that matters most. And we’re discovering with our research,that’s often very local to the node you care about within one or two degrees. So the more you step back, embrace complexity, the better chance you have of finding simple answers, and it’s often different than the simple answer that you started with.