Dave Snowden

Liminal Cynefin & ‘control’

Dave Snowden

I was searching for my original known-unknown-unknowable matrix for today’s post and, as you do, came across a variation of Liminal Cynefin I used at and event to talk about the whole issue of control within organisations.

Cynefin St Davids Day 2019 (2 of 5)

Dave Snowden

It’s taken longer than I hoped but I now have the time to complete my series of five update posts on Cynefin. In my last post I explained the change from ‘Simple’ to ‘Obvious’ in the ordered domain.

Cynefin St David’s Day 2019 (4 of 5)

Dave Snowden

The introduction of liminality to Cynefin necessitated a slight rethinking of the main dynamics within Cynefin. To be clear multiple dynamics are possible but over the years these have emerged as the dominant ones. As the name implies the dynamics in Cynefin are all about movement between domains.

Cynefin as of St Davids Day 2019 (1 of 3)

Dave Snowden

An email came in yesterday from our new CEO Marion asking if I could explain why I had changed simple to obvious within the Cynefin framework, why I called it simple in the first place, had I thought of any other words and did it change anything to do with the dynamics.

Bringing the human element and complexity thinking to rebuilding resilience in Puerto Rico

Dave Snowden

Cognitive Edge, through the Cynefin Centre, is part of an exciting project team funded by a United States National Science Foundation grant.

Culture: the subject

Dave Snowden

The Oxford English Dictionary defines culture as “The arts and other manifestations of human intellectual achievement regarded collectively” and “The ideas, customs, and social behaviour of a particular people or society”.

A Retreat on narrative – where better to meet than in Ireland

Dave Snowden

The location of the Cynefin Retreat about Narrative in Organisations (Ireland, 18-21 March 2019) is specially chosen for its unique landscape and naturally rugged beauty.

A reflection from the Cynefin™ Retreat on the Aran Islands in Ireland

Dave Snowden

The Aran Island Cynefin™ Retreat on narrative was a resounding success. It was a small and intimate group which suited the remote, but spectacular setting.

Becoming well?

Dave Snowden

I returned from two fruitful days in South Africa working on what we have temporarily named the new cognitive edge but suffering from a bad cold.

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Cynefin St David’s Day 2019 (5 of 5)

Dave Snowden

In my final post in this update series on Cynefin and I’m reserving the right to change things when I think about it more. I’ve been playing with options here on trains to and from particularly dark productions of tragic operas and the experience may have influenced by thinking.

The landscape of narrative

Dave Snowden

Back in 2014 I wrote the entry on organisational story telling for the Sage Handbook on Action Research. I wasn’t wild about the title at the time as I felt that was only one aspect of the field.

Narrative: picking up the scallop shell

Dave Snowden

Narrative has been an ever-present aspect my work over many decades now. I was lucky in that I initially entered the field in the pursuit of knowledge.

Culture 2 of 7: the canvass

Dave Snowden

I’m using the metaphor of a painting to provide structure to this series and all paintings have to start somewhere. One of the reasons for this is the sense of doing something with intent.

Twelvetide 18:04 empathy through perspective

Dave Snowden

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The liminal nature of narrative

Dave Snowden

I’ve been delayed in getting this second post in the series of the role and nature of narrative published. Many things going on in Cognitive Edge at the moment and I’ve had to make a couple of big decisions and I’m dealing with the aftermath of one and the promise of another.

Mapping ….

Dave Snowden

Back in March 2018 I posted on the differences between models, frameworks, methods, manifestos and creeds; the first in a series of posts on Agile.

Patience is virtue of necessity

Dave Snowden

Around five years ago I spent a difficult and unplanned night in Toronto airport. I didn’t enjoy it but in part survived by using the experience as an opportunity to study crisis management as a sort of amateur in situ ethnographer.

Cynefin St David’s Day 2019 (3 of 5)

Dave Snowden

The introduction of the liminal version of Cynefin was probably the most significant change in recent years. One of the reasons I used it was a difficulty people had in seeing that Cynefin had two classification systems: domains and dynamics.

Twelvetide 18:01 introducing axiology

Dave Snowden

I’ve managed to attempt, and sometimes complete, a series of Christmas posts most years on a range of subjects. I think I started in 2009 with a series of foods, then skipped to Children’s Books in 2012.

Narrative: exploring the world

Dave Snowden

The first time I saw the Aran Islands was back in the 70s from the Cliffs of Mohr. I was part of a weekend house party organised by Mary Condren (one of the faculty or our retreat) on the west coast of Ireland.

Being labeled as ill …

Dave Snowden

One of the concerns I raised in yesterday’s post was the danger of assuming the need of a therapeutic approach in organisational, or for that matter individual wellbeing. I’ve long railed against the unthinking transfer of techniques and theories from one field into another.

Can we start again?

Dave Snowden

One of the major issues in virtually any change initiative in organisations is the constant assumption that one can start from scratch. I addressed the issue of setting goals and targets in a series of four posts earlier this month which starts here.

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A sheep in wolves clothing

Dave Snowden

Nothing pleases people more than to go on thinking what they have always thought, and at the same time imagine that they are thinking something new and daring: it combines the advantage of security and the delight of adventure.

Culture 3 of 7: Identify the big shapes

Dave Snowden

While having specific goals is not possible in a complex system, and any cultural change is complex, it doesn’t mean that we can’t have a sense of direction and/or purpose. When a painter starts on their canvass they have a sense of what they are going to create.

The tyranny of the explicit

Dave Snowden

One of the phrases I coined many moons ago is that of ‘ necessary ambiguity’ ; or, if I am feeling less assertive, ‘ requisit ambiguiuty ’.

Context in narrative work

Dave Snowden

One quote from my contribution to the ‘StoryTheFuture’ event was picked up in social media. I’m not sure it really qualifies as going viral but it did have some impact. I said: Stop telling leaders to tell stories and (instead) get them to take actions that will generate stories.

The myopia of metrics

Dave Snowden

I still have affectionate memories of my slide rule. We learnt how to use them around 14 or so and while they took away the mechanical aspects of computation you still had to have a sense of scale – the power of ten you had to work out in your head.

Twelvetide 18:08 meaning making

Dave Snowden

Some years ago I was at an Academy of Management meeting in Washington DC to receive an award for original contributions to the field of knowledge management.

Compliance, disintermediation and wisdom

Dave Snowden

One of the really difficult aspects of leadership is that you have to get used to the fact that very few people will tell you the truth. Of you are new into a senior role everyone wants to be your friend.

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Twelvetide 18:09 habits & the soul

Dave Snowden

One of those quotes from the bible that most people are, at least in the western tradition, aware of comes from Mark 8:36 “ For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?

Of shoes–and ships–and sealing-wax–

Dave Snowden

This is the first of a series of posts on the agility; of indeterminate length and intermittent in nature it will of necessity be at times polemical and curmudgeonly.

Twelvetide 18:05 metaphor

Dave Snowden

Yesterday’s post looked at a case in which narrative techniques were used to present individual leaders with multiple challenging perspectives; seeing themselves as others see them.

Should we start again?

Dave Snowden

I interrupted this series for yesterday’s brief tribute to Ursula Le Guin. In the first post a couple of days ago I asked if, realistically, one can start from scratch in any organisational change initiative.

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Narratives of & by the Leader

Dave Snowden

I left the question of the role of the leader in story telling open in yesterday’s post. My contention remains that in anything involving change, actions generally speak louder than words. But there is a time and a place for story telling.

Culture 7 of 7: Completion

Dave Snowden

When I started this series I said I was going to follow the metaphor of creating a painting with a twist at the end.

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.

System 263

Leadership & integrity

Dave Snowden

I’ve got a lot more posts lined up in the Alice series, but I’m going to interrupt as the mood takes me and the overnight Gaping Void cartoon picked up well on my theme of yesterday; namely the need to actions that allow desirable culture or ‘mindsets’ to emerge over time.

Narrative: paying the piper

Dave Snowden

One of my motivations in devising the Tricotocon approach to trans-disciplinary learning, which we will use in the coming narrative retreat, was to allow disputation between peers and subsequent reflection.

Twelvetide 18:12 lle i enaid cael llonydd

Dave Snowden

Writing this series has been an interesting process – a few of the posts were planned but in the main I just started writing with a view to seeing what would emerge. Speaking can be like that as well and allows you to respond to the audience in the moment.

A sense of direction (1)

Dave Snowden

I had a really interesting exchange on twitter over the last few days. It’s nice when you can have an exchange with people mature enough to both take, and give, an argument rather than defend their various sacred cows.

Module 222

Twelvetide 18:07

Dave Snowden

I’ve managed to pass the half way point in this series and I’m feeling confident about completion.

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Resilience

Dave Snowden

In yesterday’s post I illustrated the difference between a resilient and a robust system by contrasting a salt marsh with a sea wall. The Sea Wall is highly efficient, it creates a clear boundary but when it breaks the result is catastrophic. It can only survive as it is.

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Design, value & constraint

Dave Snowden

The pictures here are from the first ever Cynefin Retreat in Snowdonia last year; our fourth retreat, the third of 2018 will be in the same location in a few weeks time. Last year we put together some interesting people and just let things happen; this year we have been more structured.

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