Dave Snowden

Separated by a common language?

Dave Snowden

From time to time in social media I resist the temptation to respond when people talk about the Stacy Matrix; if they conflate the two I generally put up something mild along the lines of They are very different you know and Stacy himself deprecates its use.

Breaking the forest cycle

Dave Snowden

I’ve been meaning to write about the “forest cycle” or the supposed necessity of chaos for some time. Yesterday’s post on the different between the Cynefin framework and the Stacy Matrix reminded me of the need.

“… save his own fame and gratification.”

Dave Snowden

A reminder that his blog is my personal opinion and is not an official statement from Cognitive Edge, its staff, partners or network. There really is only one subject to talk about in our disunited & troubled kingdom today; and the various historical precedents are scary.

… from little acorns grow

Dave Snowden

Last week I was in Nairobi ase the keynote at a panel discussion on Behavioural Insights for Environment Impact for UNEP sandwiched between two pretty hellish flights. Jules was also on the panel and had done the work to set the event up.

Complexity in Human Systems

Dave Snowden

Many of the readers of this blog will know that one of the drivers behind the creation of the Cynefin framework was a desire to break the fad cycle.

Cynefin & perception

Dave Snowden

Various social media feeds link me daily to discussions about the use of the Cynefin Framework. Sometimes I take part, more frequently not. The last thing I want is to be too precious about its use and to a degree abuse.

Musings on Blake

Dave Snowden

One of the few good news items yesterday (don’t ask but it involves more tests) was my discovery that we have a major exhibition of the work of William Blake in London over the Christmas period, which means I can make it and daughter is also interested which is a bonus.

Avoiding paralysis in major change

Dave Snowden

Over the last three weeks I’ve been engaged in a diverse set of projects. Firstly the Singapore foresight and horizon scanning event, then a steelworks in Australia followed by masterclasses and multiple government meetings in New Zealand.

Change 199

Linkages matter

Dave Snowden

Working in complexity you soon get a sense of which ideas and concepts are causing (sic) people problems. One is the whole dispositional v causal aspect on which I have written several times, most recently at the end of 2017.

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.

My/Our research …

Dave Snowden

I’ve long pointed out to over enthusiastic proponents of ‘story telling’ that the phrase has a double meaning in English and the most dominant one is to tell a story.

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”.

Martin Burns RIP

Dave Snowden

On the 11th of March this year I sat down for a meal at the Bridge Inn in Ratho (top picture) near Edinburgh with Martin and Lucy Burns along with Simon Wardley. It was the end of an enjoyable three days. Wales had beaten Scotland (just) to stay on course for the Grand Slam and I was there.

Cynefin & Theory of Constraints – Webinar II

Dave Snowden

This week CE hosted an open webinar on the topic of Cynefin & Theory of Constraints. This webinar featured CE practitioners and TOC experts, Steve Holt, Jabe Bloom, Greg Brougham, and Hilbert Robinson.

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 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.

Coherent heterogeneity 1 of 2)

Dave Snowden

One of my discoveries this year was Dora’s Dairy just outside Swindon. It sells raw milk without the destruction of pasteurisation or homogenisation. Aside from the taste, there are multiple health benefits: natural enzymes to help digestion, useful bacteria and a whole bunch of vitamins.

System 168

Thinking about design ‘thinking’

Dave Snowden

I’ve been thinking about the whole approach we are adopting to design thinking as the Whistler retreat approaches. We started a journey on this at the same location last year and we are currently shifting into a formal method with associated tools and training.

Design 172

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.

Exploring synergies and interaction between the Cynefin Framework and Theory of Constraints

Dave Snowden

As our business contexts become increasingly complex, the success rate of large scale transformation efforts and projects are rapidly decreasing. Many have been looking for answers to improve their performance and results, often jumping from one method to the next in search of “The Answer”.

Mayr’s lemma

Dave Snowden

I’ve just started reading Mark Fedyk’s 2017 book The Social Turn in Moral Psychology which I picked up on an impulse in the MIT bookshop on my last visit to Cambridge. I’m only one chapter in but I suspect it will end up on The bookshelf. .

Bias or heuristic?

Dave Snowden

One of the points made in our recent retreat on decision making is that the phrase cognitive bias could be misleading. In practice biases are in the main (unless they are pathological) a form of heuristic, a way of reducing energy consumption.

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.

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.

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.

Swarm ‘intelligence’ 2 of 2

Dave Snowden

Yesterday I talked about wikipedia as a technology mediated form of collective intelligence.

Issues 158

Turning truth into myths

Dave Snowden

My original intent for today was the write a post about a new event for all those interested in the application of complexity theory in human systems. But the web site isn’t ready yet so all I can say for the moment is keep the 7th/8th November in Washington DC.

Climate Change, Waste & Festivals: a collective fight needing a common understanding

Dave Snowden

Social media feeds in Summer 2018 here in the UK were, for those of us who work in the festival industry, awash with turtles trapped in plastic and discarded tents on no man’s land-esque muddy festival fields on a Monday morning. It was emotionally overwhelming and we were all fearful of how our own actions might be contributing, but not always sure how to help in a meaningful way, beyond giving a story a “like” or pleading with someone not to leave their tent behind. .

Change 180

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.

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.

Price 207

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.

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.

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.

Monocarpic banality

Dave Snowden

I’m starting to think that it is only a matter of time before I graduate from being merely curmudgeonly and cynical to full blown cantankerousness. Now these are commonly seen as negative words. Johnson defined a curmudgeon as “An avaricious churlish fellow; a miser, a niggard’.

Twelvetide 18:04 empathy through perspective

Dave Snowden

Groups 212

Mapping, sensing and hacking

Dave Snowden

On an impulse the other day I set up a book club for Cynefin Centre staff. The idea was to create a common body of research and enquiry.

Adding aesthetics to culture

Dave Snowden

Many years ago now I worked with anthropologist Beth Meriam to design an approach to cultural mapping using SenseMaker®. The underlying paper can be read here. It has been the basis of many a project since then with several variations.

Coherent heterogeneity (2 of 2)

Dave Snowden

In yesterday’s post I said: as you increase variety within the system to the point where it becomes heterogeneous, it matters that the differences are capable of coherence.

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.

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.

Survey 261

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.

Swarm ‘intelligence’ 1 of 2

Dave Snowden

Today is the 13th anniversary of my starting to edit Wikipedia. I’m now up to 34,937 edits at an average of 7.4 a day. Most of what I do is to patrol a broad range of articles.

Organic Agility: powered by SenseMaker®

Dave Snowden

There being no rest for the wicked I hoped on the sea bus from our Airb&b in North Vancouver to teach on an Organic Agility course. For those not familiar, Organic Agility was one of the first Powered by SenseMaker® developments.