Tuesday, October 22, 2013
Complex eco-systems only works in equilibrium. An argument for using Chaos Theory in Mobile Payments.
Equilibrium is a beautiful state for any eco-system to be in. In this state, all participants are participating and growing at the same rate. In a state of non-equilibrium, the dynamics are moving and some participants may eventually either die or be diminished to something much smaller. Equilibrium in small eco-systems with little participants can be achieved more easily, for instance by making small changes in some of the rules or contributions. The behaviour is also, most often, predictable. In eco-systems with many components and many possible combinations, it is often not easy to find a state of equilibrium. The behaviour is also often not predictable. Making a small change some-where can potentially lead to changes that was not easy to predict. (This observation is the basis of Chaos Theory).
The questions to be asked is, is mobile money eco-systems complex eco-systems (are there many participants - sometimes with unpredictable behaviour) and would we prefer mobile money eco-systems to be in a state of equilibrium. It is my view that the answer to both is yes. Unfortunately the complexity of the mobile money eco-systems (many participants, some behaving in unpredictable ways) makes it very difficult to ensure equilibrium. This in my mind is one of the biggest challenges in getting mobile money deployments to scale. Maybe we should apply some of the findings of Chaos Theory to mobile money?