Past Event

Complexity and Development Seminar Series

Simplexity² or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Complexity in Development

17 April 2018 13:00–14:30

IDS Convening Space
Library Road
University of Sussex
Brighton BN1 9RE

Join us for a fascinating trip from Athens to Xiaogang where, assisted by Steve Jobs, Sun Tzu and Aristotle, and with the help of a series of memorable diagrams, we attempt to alchemise development’s complexity into… a simple living tree.

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View slides.


The seminar aims to integrate into an accessible narrative notions from various disciplines related to complexity science –including psychology, philosophy, organisational development and software engineering– as a way to articulate essential complexity concepts.

Insights emerging from our cluster’s research on Adaptive Management and on the use of Frontier Technologies for development are linked with ideas presented by Prof. Chambers, Burns, Scoones and Ang in the previous seminars, to explore what complexity means in practice for development professionals and how we can discern and handle it at best.

About the Speaker

Pedro Prieto Martín is a software engineer turned trans-disciplinary social scientist. Pedro’s academic background includes degrees in Computer Science, Business Administration, Philosophy, and Sociology from different Spanish universities.

After working for years at Hewlett-Packard in Germany as the Technical Lead of a development team, he moved to Latin America, where for years he researched the application of ICT to improve local governance and promote social change. Before joining the Digital and Technology cluster he supported and researched, at the local level, the social mobilisation processes that resulted from the “indignados” movement in Spain and their use of ICT.

At IDS, Pedro has investigated the drivers of adaptiveness in accountability interventions, as part of MAVC. He now coordinates the learning component of DFID’s “Frontier Technologies Livestreaming (FTL)” programme, which has been recently awarded UK’s Civil Service Award for Innovation. FTL supports DFID country offices to experiment with the use of emerging technologies to address development challenges.


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