Netherlands Platform Complex Systems


7 March 2018
15:30 - 18:00
UvA Institute for Advanced Study, Oude Turfmarkt 147, 1012 GC Amsterdam

NPCS meeting “Benefits from complexity in practice: the added value of a complex systems approach for industry and society”

Programme: NPCS first meeting Benefits from complexity in practice-governance and policy (in Dutch and English)

The science of complex systems is a fairly new domain, but nonetheless our insights are steadily growing. How can we benefit for governance and policy making?

Last year the OECD published a report “Complexity and Policy making”. The introduction already deflates the expectation that it might answer the many questions that policymakers and public and private leaders encounter in practice. In particular, Secretary General Angel Gurría states: “An important question remains:” How can complex law be applied to assist policy makers as they tackle problems in areas such as environmental protection, financial regulation, sustainability or urban development?

The Societal Committee of Netherlands Platform Complex Systems (NPCS) is also looking into this question. But its solutions are far from trivial. One factor is that the insights on the behaviour of complex systems are sometimes counter-intuitive. Another is that they may also conflict with assumptions about the roles, tasks and responsibility of directors and managers. For example, how do you operationalise concepts such as system responsibility, legal equity, accountability and efficiency in complex adaptive systems?

These and other questions about the applicability of complex systems research in practice can best be formulated and answered jointly by complexity researchers and practitioners. That is why NPCS organizes a series of meetings around the theme “Benefits from complexity in practice”.

During this first interactive meeting Roland Kupers will set the scene by showing how complex systems insights can lead to new options for policy making in practice, based on his book with David Colander (Princeton University Press 2014) and his extensive practice in the public and private sector. After this presentation, we will focus on a number of governance issues, such as:

  • System responsibility in different sectors
  • The tension between efficiency and resilience
  • Multi-stakeholder decision-making

Next, we will jointly identify themes for further sessions.


The registration is closed, please contact the organizer Dr. Ana Isabel Barros (NPCS Commission Society Chair) for possible post-registration.