James Roberston on the laws of nonsense

Three laws of nonsense. I just had yum-cha to celebrate a cousin’s birthday. The food was good, but much better were the discussions I had with my uncle, Noel Thompson. He has been working for many years in large organisations (such as BHP and… [Column Two]

A profound way to grasp much of what I see inside organizations. These are the laws that Robertson quotes:

  1. The source of nonsense is that for every piece of nonsense there exists an irrelevant frame of reference in which the item is sensible.
  2. The persistance of nonsense comes from rigorous arguments from inapplicable assumptions.
  3. The diffusion of nonsense results from the fact that people are more specialist than problems.

Robertson offers them as a way to better understand knowledge management. I see them as more broadly applicable to most of what I run into inside organizations.