You probably wonder about the title of this site. It is related to self-organization, spontaneous order, emergence, and complexity – all of which are well used but have quite flexible meanings. But they are all related to growth and development in the living world, something that is deeply familiar.

Often this growth is called “organic”, and the biological wording has spilled over into other fields. You can talk about organic growth of a corporation for instance. Economic, social, and even technological systems have many properties of organic development. Many of these systems could just as well be called “alive”. So I called this site Organic Development – to contain all subject areas which in a very wide sense relate to what life is, and what life does.

The major thing that life does of course, is that it develops and grows. How and why growth comes about in the first place is quite a mystery. Living things grow and repair themselves, and whichever thing does this, is usually called “alive”. So we have observational statements and definitions but no final cause, why some things grow by themselves, and others don’t.

The site’s purpose is

  • *to post everything I find interesting and vaguely related to development, growth, evolution, systems studies, ecology, economics, network studies… or anything else that catches my eye;
  • *to reflect group discussions on interesting developments in complexity and related theories I and colleagues from Singapore Management University (SMU) have organized for many years now. Usually we read a paper and discuss it – so in this site I’ll just talk about assorted materials from these discussions. The group members range from social and political sciences, cognitive sciences, across economics, business, to biological sciences – therefore the posts here also show a variety of interests;
  • *finally, to also have an outlet for interesting material related to a class I teach at SMU, called “Biological Models for Business Applications”. Here I talk about concepts from ecology, evolutionary theory, and dynamical systems studies, and how analogies can be readily found in business and economics.

There was a version of this site years ago which ended up succumbing to technical difficulties. I hope this reincarnation will fare better with WordPress!

About me

My name is Markus B. Karner, and I am an independent academic based in Singapore. I teach at Singapore Management University where I am adjunct faculty. I run and co-own a consulting company, Karner Consult Pte Ltd, also based in Singapore.

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