To Ponder: Can You Predict Chaos?

Well it’s December.

The countdown to the Christmas break begins and work both simultaneously speeds up and slows down. Here in Aus there are two months of the year that are particularly susceptible to this ‘predictable chaos’. December and June (our end of Fin Yr).

Predictable Chaos is what happens when, in the face of a multitude of individual actions, common patterns occurs at scale time and time again. Or as Sir Francis Galton put it:

Whenever a large sample of chaotic elements are taken in hand and marshalled in the order of their magnitude, an unsuspected and most beautiful form of regularity proves to have been latent all along.” – Sir Francis Galton

Predictable Chaos is wonderfully represented by the Galton Board (in the GIF below).


As I’m sure you could attest – December is a month of individual chaos. A multitude of parties, pre-emptive holidays, shopping, last minute rushes & late night crunch time …And everyone has their own agendas!

It really is chaos on an individual level.

And yet, there are clear patterns that emerge. Long-haul congestion typically increases. Consumer stores see massive upticks in foot traffic. Mental health wards are often at their busiest.

So this week – ponder – what trends are you seeing emerge from the chaos that is our change efforts? And how can you prepare for them in the new year?