Thinking in networks — Complexity can be so simple

nevaal AG
4 min readApr 20, 2022

Management is one thing above all: coordination. Taking care of many things simultaneously and guaranteeing that everything runs smoothly can be very overwhelming. To not jeopardize the success of the running business, every little detail needs to be taken into consideration. As a consequence, an information overflow is just waiting around the corner to stress you to the maximum. Unfortunately, nobody can do everything at the same time. Nevertheless, machines can. Or at least there is software to help you implement your given opportunities into success.

What should this software be able to do? Most importantly, it needs to complement the “weaknesses” of human reasoners. But what aggravating circumstances in human thinking are we talking about here? The idea behind nevaal Maps™ could be the most suitable solution.

Organizational psychologist Paul Sparrow once stated that “strategic risks are problems created by information overload”. As mentioned above, multitasking in situations critical to success is a pressure not many can bear. And if you belong to the few who can do so efficiently, even you will notice your boundaries when reaching a certain point of complexity and quantity of tasks, inevitably.

From a cognitive psychological perspective, Jonathan Cohen discussed human constraints in thinking in one of his lectures in 2018. He explains that a “blockade” comes into effect in a situation of too high cognitive effort. You might know this annoying time in your workday, too. Even though you are trying to be extremely productive, nothing seems to get you back into your flow.

This blockade is an important protective mechanism, preventing overstimulation of your brain, cognitive conflicts, and misunderstandings. As you see, this “inconvenience” our mind is letting us go through is actually nothing to be frustrated with because it saves us from literally “losing our minds”. We should be thankful that our brain prevents us from harm in the short run. Nevertheless, the work needs to be done. We all need to be clear about what is standing in our way and how to resolve it. And exactly what makes the processing of your work more difficult? Sparrow describes that the heaviness of information load is bigger if the following applies to them: they are of low quality, low value, and high ambiguity.

Knowing this, we can tackle the challenge of unorganized information by transforming your given potential into meaningful opportunities that are made tangible and effortlessly available to you. From this point on, the nevaal software will straighten all the different strings of your workflow. nevaal Maps™ aims to fix these problems concerning information, displaying the potential around you in a valuable and distinct map network.

As managers already said in the late 90s, “I just need to know whom to ask, where to look, where to go to find out or know that it is known by others,” Sparrow quoted. In times of globalization and digitization, the opportunities arising are almost beyond comprehension for human minds. Think of all of your contacts, then add your contact’s contacts, and so forth. And the acquaintances in the future are still to be amended.

As your network grows in almost exponential ways, our mode of thought is not capable of correctly understanding the exploitable width of the forming ecosystem. Podkul and colleagues showed this in an experiment in 2020, where the study’s participants should estimate the result in a situation of exponential growth. The tested people were asked to think of the correct number for the following question in the presented task. They had no additional aid while thinking of the answer:

“If ten people were newly diagnosed with a disease each day and each infected person spread the disease to 10 new patients the following day, approximately how many people would be diagnosed with the disease at the end of 10 days if this trend continued?”

Almost 90% of the answers given were underestimating the dimensions of the spread. As you can see, this thought experiment made clear that this type of task is prone to human error if executed solely by thinking. In contrast, the participants had to answer a similar question regarding exponential growth in the second round, but an additional data visualization was presented to them this time. Surprisingly, the respondents were able to grasp the dimensions in those circumstances, resulting in almost 60% of correct estimations.

The visualization facilitates our understanding of an exponential trend tremendously. Thus, data visualization is a central aspect we consider when designing and developing our software. Our goal is to support you in overcoming human boundaries that everybody faces each day. Our mind is capable of so many things if only supported adequately.

A deep understanding and tangibility of your network’s skills are easy to achieve when using nevaal Maps™. Let us work together to design your efficient and slim yet vivid and intuitive display of the widths and depths of your network potential. Be it in terms of connections, knowledge, or common features, we provide the guide to navigating through complexity.

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