02Daan de Raa
Daan de Raa works in brandstrategy and business management at DDB Amsterdam. He is also part-time assistantproessor in Marketing Management, ErasmusUniversity Rotterdam, Rotterdam School o Management with the endorsement o DDB.
ly at DDB Amsterdam,recently started his own consultancy.
Unleash the utureThe Yellow Paper Series
The current marketing environmentseems to become more complex overtime, up to a point where it eels chaotic.In marketing this results in, or example,extremely short lead times or newproduct development, very short liecycles o new products, ailure rateso new products up to 90% in somemarkets, hyper competition, competitionrom unexpected directions, etcetera.Today’s business environment is verycomplex and dynamic. As Holbrook(2003) states:
“Clearly, a business rm constitutes anobvious case o a dynamic open complex adaptive system (DOCAS) composed o interacting parts that respond to adynamically changing market environment so as to survive by adapting in ways that attain some sort o ecological niche.(page 39)”
Regarding the business environment asa dynamic open complex adaptive systemleads to a new outlook on strategy andmarketing. Because o their complexinter-relationships including eedbackand adaptive behaviour, DOCAS arecharacterised by non-linearity. This results in highly unpredictable outcomeswith sensitive dependence on initialconditions (SDIC): small dierences in theinitial condition produce major dierencesover time.Up to now marketing science has takennatural sciences as its model, with Newtonianphysics and dynamics as a prime example. This classical scientic approach avoursorder, stability and predictability (Prigogine,1996). Typically, it means searching or lawsthat predict the outcome and processes thatare reversible. This has an ideological origin,the search or ideal knowledge, pure, objectiveand complete. This kind o thinking hasbrought us the paradox o time. Processesare predictable and reversible in nature, whichleads to symmetry in time. There is no placeor past and uture in these laws. Even up tonow many scientists believe that time is onlya phenomenological construct (like Barbourin The end o time, 1999).However, other more elegant solutionsto the paradox o time and the challengeso quantum physics have been developed.Especially, the ideas o Nobel price winnerIlya Prigogine in his book The End o Certainty give us inspiration and insightso how sciences o nature, economicsand humanity can come together.It gives us a dierent kind o science in whichthere is room or human creativity, as a uniqueexpression o a undamental characteristico all levels o nature. Whitehead (1995) seescreativity as a cosmological category, as theultimate principle behind everything new. This new scientic world is characterizedby choice, intent and evolution over time.In this point o view there is a limited amounto situations, close to equilibrium, where theclassical laws do apply and are universal,however they become specic whenurther away rom equilibrium. As mattermoves urther rom equilibrium we seeirreversible processes: new characteristicsare developed. Prigogine uses the metaphorthat in equilibrium matter is blind, ar romequilibrium it starts to see. Matter becomessensitive to itsel and its environment. Thisis closely related to the dissipation that isconnected to irreversible processes. Farrom equilibrium the system chooses one o the possibilities to unction. The successivechoices can be seen as biurcations.
The current environment.Chaos, complexity and theend o certainty