Pascal Fleury
Stockholm 1997
Chaos Theory

CHAOS is a theory that developed from the late 60ies to the 80ies. Like many new theories, it appeared in many areas at the same time (meteorology, physics, demographics, biology, mathematics and even in economy). Each time it appeared (without being called the chaos theory) it was related to the same kind of event: an apparent disorder growing in an impredictable way within a supposedly well ordered system.

As many new theories, it led to three odd developments:

  • a pure refusal of crazy and incredible elucubrations (we never saw that before, thus it must be wrong)
  • an over exploitation for any kind of subject, even subjects with no possible chaos exploitation (gambling)
  • a recuperation by alternative people (New Age, pseudo metaphysics, market research)

Behind a fascinating notion that suggests the abandon of rational thinking, there is a very serious and innovative scientific background that can be very difficult to understand (for instance non-linear equations). This very difficult and technical background can be at the origin of a pure refusal or of an over exploitation of a theory. A so complicated background allows almost any transposition in a private delirium.

One of the most interesting aspects of CHAOS theory is its capacity to provide a better rendering of innovation market by giving new explanation on how innovation occurs and how consumers may adopt it or not. The major issue of this paper is not to simply propose a more or less new toolbox for analysts, based upon old knowledge, in fact it is the reverse. We can still only suggest new possible tools, but the overall principle is to introduce a completely new view on marketing, what we could name <<non linear marketing>>.