Dave Snowden

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”.

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.

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.

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.

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 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 ’.

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.

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.

Report 206

Onwards and upwards

Dave Snowden

It’s been a long year and probably the sparsest period of writing for me in the last twenty years. It’s been a year of hard decisions, a few mistakes and a chance (as any period of adversity represents) to discover your true friends.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Change 228

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.

Design 160

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 267

Xmas 2017: I Introduction

Dave Snowden

One of the oddiities of our increasingly digitial world is the way that birthday and other reminders pop into view for old friends who are now dead. Paul Cilliers, author of Complexity and Post-Modernism and Professor of Philosophy at the University of Stellenbosch died on July 31st 2011.

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.

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.

Design 175

connections not things

Dave Snowden

Following last weeks highly successful Cynefin Retreat we had a Cognitive Edge management meeting at my home in Wiltshire.

Reflections on the Whistler process

Dave Snowden

Out first retreat of 2018 explored the general area of design and innovation. It took place in Whistler with a great faculty and a lot of participation. Combining the event with our first ever Train the Trainer session also produced multiple benefits.

Inherent uncertainty is our natural habitat

Dave Snowden

Yesterday I used Paul Cilliers list of characteristics of a complex adaptive systems to introduce the idea that complexity in human systems – anthro-complexity – has many distinguishing characteristics.

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.

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 208

… and reduced the answer to shillings and pence

Dave Snowden

The picture is of a doctor wearing a plague mask. The mask is to protect him from the night air, or miasma which at the time was thought to be the way the disease spread.

… which way I ought to go from here?

Dave Snowden

Authenticity in Cynefin

Dave Snowden

The picture here is of Michael Bryant as Mathieu Delarue in the BBC production of Sartre’s The Roads to Freedom. Thought lost but then shown in full at the BFI in 2012 it has never been shown again and, despite demand, had not been released on DVD.

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.

Groups 275

Scaling in complex systems

Dave Snowden

I wrote a series of posts about scaling over three year ago which in part addressed some of the perversities of methods focused on accreditation revenue to which I referred yesterday.

System 218

We need an new Albigensian Crusade

Dave Snowden

If I had to choose a heresy (and it may be heretical to even pose such a question) then it would be Pelagianism: the belief that human nature can choose between good and evil without the intervention of some paternalistic and anthropomorphised Deity.

Issues 151

Spandrel & serendipity

Dave Snowden

In architecture a spandrel is the space between an arch and the vertical wall. It had no purpose until artists discovered its value for decoration. In biology is a byproduct of an adaptive selection for another purpose.

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.

Triage & trivia

Dave Snowden

For my generation one of the seminal television programmes was M.A.S.H, one of those cases where the spin off for the small screen was a better format than the original film.

Complexity, design and aesthetics

Dave Snowden

One of my better ideas last year was to put together the first Cynefin Centre Retreat in Snowdonia. By bringing together a trans-disciplinary faculty, interacting with experienced Cognitive Edge practitioners, we have an ideal generative approach to creating new thinking and new methods in key areas.

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.

System 273

Protected: Cynefin Retreats in 2018: Design, resilience & value

Dave Snowden

To start setting up your contract, please enter the password sent to you below: The post Protected: Cynefin Retreats in 2018: Design, resilience & value appeared first on Cognitive Edge. Blogs resilience Retreats

Design 130

Ursula Le Guin

Dave Snowden

Most people came to Ursula Le Guin through the Earthsea novels. I only read those as an adult and came to her, as a teenager, through Rocannon’s World and The Lathe of Heaven. I soon progressed to her two great novels The Disposed and The Left Hand of Darkness.

Trends 193

Fidelity in complex systems consultancy

Dave Snowden

It been a week since my tirade against the abrogation of leadership by falling back to the crutch of a mega-consultancy report. Since then a mixture of bad flu, trans-pacific, trans-americas & transatlantic flights have all conspired against my blogging.

System 204

Scaling the Edge: Cynefin™ as a journey

Dave Snowden

For most of my life I’ve been working with various forms of symbiosis and synthesis. Bringing the natural sciences as an enabling constraint to understand social systems is the big idea behind Cognitive Edge.

Wiki 166

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.

Issues 214

I didn’t fly, I wasn’t well served

Dave Snowden

Given I live in the UK and have a preference for One World I spend a lot of time on BA flights; although my loyalty card is with American Airlines approaching five million mile status. As a very (for which read too ) frequent traveller I have a little bit of a love-hate relationship with them.

Class 143

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.

The dispositional state

Dave Snowden

I’ve had a frustrating few weeks since my last post. An as yet uncorrected error in Blogo (which I otherwise love but …) associated with multiple images meant I lost two hours of work that I had put into a follow up to my last post on meaning and constraints.

Change 254

In the Tricotocon …

Dave Snowden

Over the years I’ve developed a range of facilitation and workshop techniques based on the underlying principles anthro-complexity. Ritual dissent is probably one of the best known but we also have large group facilitation based on Cynefin, Silent listening and a few others.