Office of Applied Complexity

The Office of Applied Complexity helps non-academic organizations and individuals access actionable insights from SFI’s scientific work. Examples of complexity science’s real-world impact can be found here. Our office partners with corporations, government agencies, NGOs, nonprofits, and individuals. These partnerships help us better understand how complexity science can meaningfully impact the broader world. We then identify the areas of complexity research that are most relevant to particular challenges and develop strategies to translate and disseminate our science accordingly.


Types of Engagement

Applied Complexity partnerships fall into two broad categories: partnerships with organizations and partnerships with individuals. The Applied Complexity Network (ACtioN) is our most common vehicle for collaborating at the organizational level. ACtioN helps members cultivate an understanding of complexity within their organizations. Through Topical meetings, ACtioN also cultivates a community in which Institutional scholars and membership leadership teams jointly consider the applications of complexity science’s newest insights. The Studio program enables members to send a team to the Institute to work intensely with SFI scholars on the application of complexity science to a specific problem. By sponsoring a Translational Fellow, select members can leverage bespoke access to emerging science. Through the Pequod Project we also provide select donors with access to insights about applied complexity. 


First Law of Applied Complexity

"A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm." - Isaac Asimov

All activity conducted by the Office of Applied Complexity is governed by the following philosophy: SFI is first and foremost a scientific research institute. As such, no Applied Complexity activity can ever be allowed to diminish, or in any way pervert, the quality, integrity, and direction of pure scientific inquiry at SFI. This philosophy is more meaningful than it might seem at first blush. Not unlike Asimov’s famed first law of robotics, preserving the sanctity of SFI's scientific enterprise governs all Applied Complexity activities.