External Professor

I am the John Seely Brown Distinguished University Professor of Complexity, Social Science, and Management at the University of Michigan, and the Williamson family Professor of Business Administration, professor of management and organizations, Stephen M. Ross School of Business; professor of political science, professor of complex systems, and professor of economics, LSA.    In 2011, I was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

My research focuses on the myriad roles that diversity plays in complex systems. For example, how does diversity arise? Does diversity make a system more productive? How does diversity impact robustness? Does it make a system prone to large events?

I have written five books: “The Model Thinker – What you need to know to make data work for you” – stresses the application of ensembles of models to make sense of complex phenomena; “The Diversity [Bonus] – How Great Teams Pay Off in the Knowledge Economy” the follow up and expansion on the themes in The Difference; “The Difference”, which demonstrates the benefits and costs of diversity in social contexts, Complex Adaptive Social Systems (with John Miller), which provides an introduction to complexity theory, and, most recently, Diversity and Complexity, which explores the contributions of diversity within complex systems.

I have also published papers in a variety of disciplines including economics, political science, computer science, management, physics, public health, geography, urban planning, engineering, and history.

In my research, I have been fortunate to work with a collection of brilliant people — Lu Hong, John Miller, PJ Lamberson, Russell Golman, Kate Anderson, Ken Kollman, Evan Economo, Michael Wellman, and Jenna Bednar — as I try to make sense of these questions.

In addition to writing papers and books, I have also filmed a video course on complexity called Understanding Complexity.

My research on diversity provides me with many opportunities to talk with community groups, high schools, corporations, government agencies, NGOs, and university audiences.