Dave Snowden

Systems thinking & complexity

Dave Snowden

A recent post by Sonja caused some reaction in social media and I promised to write something to clarify my position the subject. Now I should say up front that a lot of this is finding labels for things that are different, not the denigration of other methods and tools.

The knotty issue of constraints

Dave Snowden

I’ve been developing a theory of constraints both as a method for strategy mapping and as a way of better understanding domains and sub-domains in Cynefin. That thinking was in part stimulus for the liminal version of Cynefin.

Trending Sources

Liminal & situated strategy

Dave Snowden

I was originally going to move on to post about constraints but a early meeting this morning involved a stimulating discussion with the senior partner of a law firm and as a result I’ve going to carry on from yesterday’s post and return to constraints tomorrow.

Pragmatism requires knowledge

Dave Snowden

I’m half thinking of using the daily Gaping Void download to stimulate my posts this month. I may not keep it up, but today’s works well as it also picks up on yesterday’s post.

risk?

Dave Snowden

Most large companies are prepared to invest in “incremental innovation” but very few are willing to grant decision authority to management teams at a level necessary for disruptive innovation.

In uncertainty lies resilience

Dave Snowden

This post is illustrated with Body of Knowledge , a steel sculpture created in 2010 by Jaume Plensa, located at the Westend Campus of Goethe University Frankfurt.

Small actions to create meaning

Dave Snowden

The last few days have seen one of the periodic retweeting of a three year old post I wrote with the title SAFe the Infantilisation of Management. This in turn generated a more extensive debate on LinkedIn which saw a few SAFe trainers and coaches defend their position.

Boundary conditions

Dave Snowden

For various complex reasons which started with a casual throw away remark at Lean Agile Scotland followed by a brief twitter storm I am spending two days in Dubai with a Kanban group. That includes the co-authors of Essential Kanban Condensed , namely David Anderson and Andy Carmichael.

Liminal Cynefin: first revision

Dave Snowden

I posted an early version of the liminal variant to Cynefin a few days ago, then presented it a few times. Last week in Tallin I ran through it in a masterclass and realised I had over complicated things. If you look at the learlier post I had added liminal boundary zones everywhere.

a need for empathy

Dave Snowden

There was a wonderful, if depressing, tweet from J.K.Rowling yesterday: If we all hit ctrl-alt-del simultaneously and pray, perhaps we can force 2016 to reboot.

Don’t prescribe sainthood

Dave Snowden

One of the many things that has always frustrated me about too many organisational change theories and practices is the assumption of sainthood. A model of the organisation, or its leaders, or the ideal employee or whatever is created.

Things a leader can do

Dave Snowden

Just over a week ago I posted at the end of day one of the Helsinki think tank on Leadership. I planned to post the next day on one of the sessions I was involved in but events and travel overtook me.

Shooting the Sacred Cows of OD

Dave Snowden

Yesterday I referenced a tweet from the Welsh Academy session at which I was a keynote Thursday. A frantic couple of days really.

Liminal Cynefin, stepping over the threshold

Dave Snowden

I’ve been frantic the last few months with a lot of long standing wishes and dreams that are all coming together at the same time. The sort of thing that you initially say is the sort of problem you want to have, but when reality strikes one’s view is rather different.

Freedom through constraints

Dave Snowden

Over the last couple of weeks I’ve been thinking a lot about constraints in the context of complexity in general and cynefin more specifically. I’ve long used a constraint based definition to understand the differences between order, complexity and chaos.

The trust word

Dave Snowden

A weapon is defined by the Oxford English Dictionary either as A thing designed or used for inflicting bodily harm or physical damage or as A means of gaining an advantage or defending oneself in a conflict or contest.

The domain of disorder (ii)

Dave Snowden

Most people who have walked in the mountains will have experienced a temperature inversion at some stage. You suddenly discover yourself standing above a sea of cloud with the odd peak visible but the vast majority of the landscape.

SAFe: the infantilism of management

Dave Snowden

I gave the opening keynote at the Agile conference in Brno today. A good audience in that they paid attention and were thoughtful.

Class 124

… and nearer to the Dust

Dave Snowden

One of the deeply negative aspects of the knowledge management period of a decade or more ago was the gross confusion of information with knowledge. One of the drivers was a quote now attributed to Bill Gates “ The inventory, the value of your company, walks out the door every evening. ”

Boundaries as domain shadows

Dave Snowden

I’ve been teaching a masterclass her in India to a mixed group and took the opportunity to push myself to get the boundaries as domains version of Cynefin to a point where it could be published for comment and start to develop.

A return to constraints

Dave Snowden

I’m getting increasingly excited about the work I am doing on constraints. I first posted on this with an initial taxonomy back in September. Since then I have been working the ideas into a series of keynote speeches and more recently workshop exercises.

New partnership

Dave Snowden

Berlin has always been one of my favourite cities since I used to cross under the wall back in the 70s for various WSCF meetings.

News 77

Facile or felicitous?

Dave Snowden

I realise up front that there is a danger that this post may be misinterpreted. So to be clear I see nothing wrong in facilitation per se, I facilitate and I teach other people complex facilitation skills.

A light touch on the tiller

Dave Snowden

So its day five of the Gaping Void blog month and today’s cartoon brings together my earlier post on small actions with yesterday’s on trust and culture. I made the point yesterday that trust is won through multiple small actions over time, and culture emerges through the same process.

Creating a knowledge strategy

Dave Snowden

I'm back at KM World in Washington having keynoted at the event for well over a decade now. Once it was virtual and I was represented on stage by a pumpkin, but I've learnt my lesson from that and now I turn up!

to illuminate a small field

Dave Snowden

Anyone who has ever been walking in the hills will have had the experience of a sudden shaft of light illumining a previously unnoticed aspect of the landscape.

Price 54

Thoughts on doctrine & inclusion

Dave Snowden

Over the years I have had various emails, social media links and other links to various versions of the Cynefin framework, use of my work without attribution and the like. Often accompanied by suggestions that I issue a condemnation for heresy.

Intervening in a complex domain

Dave Snowden

A good conversation in Moscow this morning with David Anderson around and about the issue of managing a complex system and as is the way with discussion a half formed idea or two coalesced.

Resonance in meaning

Dave Snowden

Many moons ago in the early days of knowledge management I argued that the ubiquitous DIKW pyramid was both flawed and dangerous. At one event I even satirised it by adding a layer above Wisdom namely eschatological realisation.

The domain of disorder (iii)

Dave Snowden

I made the point yesterday that the disordered domain within Cynefin is one of false confidence, assuming you know how to act without first making an ontological assessment.

On stony ground?

Dave Snowden

I’ve choose Van Goch’s (after Millet) 1889 painting The Sower to illustrate today’s post as I want to build on the parable of the Sower from Matthew’s Gospel which I reproduce below.

When to stick?

Dave Snowden

I should probably have watched out for today’s Gaping Void cartoon before mentioning humility in yesterday’s post! In the text that accompanied this cartoon we get: Thought leadership should be about giving. It’s about taking what you know and using it to help people around you. To innovate.

C01: The Strathern variation

Dave Snowden

I promised an attack blog for each of the twelve days of Christmas and I got a lot of suggestions so there is obviously a market out there for taking down sacred cows, little tin gods and a paper tiger or two. As I thought about this while cooking the Christmas Dinner I mellowed a little.

In the salt marsh

Dave Snowden

I’m still working on the new use of coupling and boundary constraints for Cynefin so readers will have to wait a few days for that. So I thought I would continue by theme of yesterday, namely the organisational use of narrative.

Clusters in the tail

Dave Snowden

A very satisfying first day in our Small Countries Big Ideas programme held overlooking the harbour here in Caernarfon. The turn out has been good with a lot of potential synergies between the participants' potential projects.

Understand backwards; live forwards

Dave Snowden

The headline of this post comes from Søren Kierkegaard’s famous quote “Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.” It came to mind in a Facebook exchange prompted by Sonja Blignaut.

Complex or Chaotic?

Dave Snowden

The distinction between complexity and chaos theory can be problematic depending on who you are talking with, or what you are reading. There is no full agreement in the literature as to how the terms are used.

Sea wall or salt marsh?

Dave Snowden

When we lived in St Albans, way back in the days before children, we occasionally made a winter day trip to the Essex Coast (pictured). The cost is flat as is the land and bleak. In winter that can be attractive and there are some good coast walks.

Group cohesiveness & individual effort

Dave Snowden

I’ll never forget the first time I saw the murmuration of starlings. I’d arrived at the Hilton in Rome which overlooks St Peters. The family were joining me later for a weekend’s holiday which would include a Welsh defeat of the Italians in the Six Nations.

On Experts, expertise and power

Dave Snowden

Remember Nurse Ratched in One Flew over the Cookoo’s Nest ? Louise Fletcher won the Oscar for a brilliant portrayal of the emotionally and empathetically unconnected expert who always knows best.