Dave Snowden

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.

… 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.

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 260

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.

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.

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 220

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.

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

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.

… which way I ought to go from here?

Dave Snowden

connections not things

Dave Snowden

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

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 199

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.

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 216

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 185

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.

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 201

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.

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 274

Conflict

Dave Snowden

You see conflict and care in all systems but humans are pretty unique in allowing both to exist outside kinship growth and for abstract ideas and values. Not only that we create rituals around both, we train people in rhetoric, we see conflict as an essential part of a good story.

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 271

A sense of direction (3)

Dave Snowden

I really should be cutting back on the email and task backlog at the moment but I keep getting distracted by the print of Cynefin on which I have made a growing body of notes so its probably best to get it out of the system.

Module 173

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.

Origins & acknowledgements

Dave Snowden

It was satisfying to find my name on Brian Castellani’s updated map of the Complexity Sciences. The map is used a lot, especially in wikipedia and it is an academic acknowledgement of the status of the work overall.

Acting at your own level of competence

Dave Snowden

One of the most common, and the most irritating aspect of change workshops is the number of times they end up with broad statements about how people need to change their culture, change their attitude etc.

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.

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.

When can we start again?

Dave Snowden

Pressing demands on my time have meant I had to delay this final post of three.

The certification question

Dave Snowden

The vexed question of certification came up in conversation yesterday.

“No one gets fired for buying ….

Dave Snowden

… IBM” was a standard adage a few decades ago. You could have a better software package, or better hardware but it didn’t matter. Fear that things might go wrong resulted in a safety first mentality. If we buy the market leader then its not my fault.

Buy 182

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.

Manipulating narrative?

Dave Snowden

As promised yesterday it is more than time to update some of my thinking on narrative as communication. I’ve taught aspects of this from time to time on the four day Cynefin and sense-making courses, but I can only give it around half a day here and now I have two.

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 247

Initial working on identity

Dave Snowden

One of my best ever Opera experiences was back in 1986 when I went to what looks to have been the only production of Harrison Birtwhistle’s brilliant Mask of Orpheus. I didn’t know about complexity theory at the time and IBM was a decade away on the horizon.

Phon?sis in Cynefin

Dave Snowden

I’ve talked about some of the intellectual origins of Cynefin and yesterday addressed the question of quiddity, on in more common language, a list of what is essential for something to be Cynefin. Something, to be clear, which is lesser set that my own view of what it is.

Social innovation labs, initial thoughts

Dave Snowden

For one reason or another I’ve ended up talking about various social innovation labs in multiple locations over the last couple of weeks and I’ve got a call on the subject tomorrow. Labs have become a little bit of a fashion item of recent years.

The domain of disorder (i)

Dave Snowden

I’m out to Milan tomorrow and I am starting to feel like a Typhoid Mary for the unexpected having been in the UK for Brexit and California for Trump. The rapid onset of crude (in all senses of the word) populism is not something I expected to be living through in the modern age.

A sense of direction (2)

Dave Snowden

Having written yesterday’s post I started to play around with mapping various approaches to measurement, goal setting and the like onto Cynefin.

Module 162

Liminal Cynefin: the final cut?

Dave Snowden

The liminal version of Cynefin has been slowly evolving over the last few months. It was getting close in August but I wasn’t happy as it didn’t properly deal with disorder or the various Cynefin dynamics.

Scale

Dave Snowden

The third aspect of anthro-complexity I want to discuss is the complex and problematic issue of scaling. Now this is something I have written a lot of posts on (one extended 2014 series here ), but I am still refining the message and my own understanding.