Dave Snowden

Mostly harmless

Dave Snowden

I was asked this evening via LinkedIn to comment on the Baldridge Performance Excellence Program and I replied with the title of this post. I’m not sure why I was asked as there is nothing exceptional about it and it has little or no connection with complexity theory.

Needles in Haystacks

Dave Snowden

The banner shot here was taken by me last Sunday in the late afternoon of what was a delightful hike ; one of those days where showers are followed by sun and even the low hills/mountains of the Black Mountains assume a mysterious air.

Data 233

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Self-destructive tendencies

Dave Snowden

One of the most painful ever scenes for anyone of a progressive mindset is the People’s front of Judea from Monty Pythons Life of Brian which came out in 1979. I think it is my favorite of the Monty Python films.

Anthro-complexity & aesthetics

Dave Snowden

Just before Christmas 2015 I posted on the subject of What’s in a name? That was the first time I used the term anthro-complexity in writing and I stated that it was the front runner to name a field.

Rules of engagement

Dave Snowden

I got a little angry in a Slack group a day or so ago at an attempt to manipulate what was possible, second time round with the individual in question which other participants might not have realised.

What is the locus of change?

Dave Snowden

This is the first in what will be an occasional series of posts in which I want to examine, in the context of change the role of the individual, that individual’s identity as part of society and the affordances provided thereof.

Change 197

COVID-19 & Leadership

Dave Snowden

This blog post is written by Dave Snowden (the Cynefin Centre) and Millie Begovic (UNDP) to launch a critical experiment in learning and understanding the evolving implications of the pandemic – to which we invite your participation.

A temporary suspension of service

Dave Snowden

Cognitive Edge is launching a new web site on Monday 5th October and we are in the process of porting material over. To make this easier I am suspending blog posts until next week.

Dave Snowden - Untitled Article

Dave Snowden

Cognitive Edge is launching a new web site on Monday 5th October and we are in the process of porting material over. To make this easier I am suspending blog posts until next week.

Leadership: distributed communities

Dave Snowden

There is a long preamble here all of which I think is relevant, but then I like a discursive approach to important subjects and the establishment of patterns before making a point.

Issues 162

Necessary ambiguity

Dave Snowden

One of my best memories from the year I turned my back on Diabetes is the walk I did after a fresh snowfall in the sunshine on the Camarthen Fan as the year was coming to its end. The photographs used here come from that walk in which I linked on the tops finally returning the to car in the twilight.

Class 175

Its getting personal …

Dave Snowden

Last year was a difficult by any standards as I have previously recounted. I entered 2020 on a pathway to recovery from various physical and mental assaults but with the frustration of waiting to be allowed to drive again.

Musings on Pelagianism, rules & agility

Dave Snowden

If I am honest about things I am probably guilty of Pelagianism in some form.

Wherefore, part the first

Dave Snowden

COVID-19 The Future of Society

Dave Snowden

This key post in our COVID series has been written by our long term partner and friend Wendy Schultz a major thought leader in the Futures Community. It describes the critical importance of starting to think about the future now, not once the crisis is over. The site is now open for public capture, but we have an additional option for organisations. If you want to distribute this link to your own networks or community we can create a unique URL so you can look at that data as a distinct set.

Reflecting on Leading in Uncertainty

Dave Snowden

On 11 June 2020, I had the privilege of being part of a fascinating conversation about leadership. We had a diverse panel made up of – – Eliat Aram is the CEO of the Tavistock Institute for Human Relations. Some of the most profound learning experiences I have had has been in the group relations conferences they host. Leadership is seen as bound to notions of authority, individual and collective unconscious processes, and systemic psychodynamics.

Cynefin St David’s Day 2020 (1 of n)

Dave Snowden

On St David’s Day last year, I started a five-part series of posts to update the Cynefin Framework, all illustrated by pictures of the mountains of Eryri, or Snowdonia if you want to use the Saxon which derives from Snow Dun, or snow hill. For followers of this blog you will know those mountains are a key part of my own Cynefin; a sense of multiple belongings.

Reflections on Complexity, Chaos and COVID-19

Dave Snowden

In 1990, from a distance of more than 6 billion kilometres away, the Voyager 1 spacecraft took a now-iconic picture of our planet.

freely ye have received, freely give

Dave Snowden

The tenth chapter of St Matthew’s gospel has two of the best-known quotes from the bible: the advise that if you not well received to “ shake off the dust of your feet. ” and in the context of going forth into the world at risk to “ be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves ”. Both are appropriate to this follow-up post to my earlier one on rules for engagement , with a particular focus on virtual spaces.

The Triopticon revisited

Dave Snowden

Back in October 2017, I published a blog post on what I was then calling the Ticotocon. The context of that post was a series of friendly exchanges I was having with Daniel Mezick about Open Space (he had popularised Harrison Owen’s original work within the Agile community).

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Wherefore, part the second

Dave Snowden

In the first of these articles, I looked at Borton’s W³ question from the 1970s and more recent adaptations (with varying degrees of acknowledgment of their source) by Driscoll, Eoyang and Liberating Structures.

dum vivimus, vivamus

Dave Snowden

I’ve been occupied by and with COVID now for more months that I care to think about and the blog has been sadly neglected. Zoom has achieved a level of intimacy with my life that I wish to break and the lack of real human contact and audiences is stressful. Notonly that time is simply flying by.

Cynefin St David’s Day (5 of 5)

Dave Snowden

I don’t know if I displaying a keen anticipatory capability in focusing on Disorder, the all too often ignored fifth domain of Cynefin, in this annual update series; if so it was unconscious.

Twelvetide 19:10 The MIT Bookstore

Dave Snowden

The first nine posts in this series have been largely personal although I started to explore some of the formative management influences which carried over into the current body of theory and practice which is Cynefin in my sixth post.

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”.

Consulting in the Time of Corona (virus)

Dave Snowden

In the past 2 weeks, I have been called into a few urgent conference calls with partners and clients. As a response to the Corona virus, and it’s spread, many of them (and ourselves) included have had their projects impacted. . In-person meetings, workshops and executive interviews have had to be cancelled, postponed and rethought. The calls in question, were all about shifting tact from these in-person consulting sessions, to utilising SenseMaker® instead.

Big, thick and rich (the data)

Dave Snowden

Plans for a series of key blog posts after my March update series on Cynefin have been disrupted by COVID-19 and the need to both manage the situation within Cognitive Edge and the Cynefin Centre, but more importantly, create a range of offerings to provide capability around the pandemic crisis. One of the main points I have made is the need to focus on learning and innovation in parallel with crisis management processes.

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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.

Twelvetide 19:03 and so to the land of the eagles

Dave Snowden

While my the first hill was Moel Fammau, my first mountain was Yr Wyddfa, the name being a reference to a legend of it being a cairn thrown over the giant Rhitta Gawr after his defeat by Arthur. It’s English name Snowdon means snow hill in Old English.

Love Shouldn’t Hurt

Dave Snowden

300 : the prolific film historically retelling The Battle of Thermopylae, where a comparatively small Spartan army courageously defied the odds, stood their ground, and helped protect their beloved homeland. 300 : the percentage of increased calls to Battered Women’s Support Services in Vancouver this month. 300 : the number of days since I last saw my abusive ex-partner…. When I reflect back, it was the moments of connection that were most liberating.

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. More recently I reacted with more vigour to a mash up of the two in which my disorder became a more extreme zone in the upper right hand area of the stacy matrix. That was wrong on so many counts and it, in part, stimulated this post.

Stuck Betwixt and Between

Dave Snowden

Three weeks ago, my uncle died from COVID-19. He was a second uncle and I hadn’t seen him in a few years. No one except his father and siblings could go to the funeral. There was no body, no family dinner, no regular memorial services at 3 days and then again at 9 to remind us that yes, this has really happened. No trays of coffee and sweet cognac, no boiled grains of wheat.

Study 159

Twelvetide 19:6 Goredale Scar & Gynefin

Dave Snowden

By coincidence today is Gynefin day (we thin Beth Smith coined that name) an annual ritual in which UK based staff and any friends get together at my house at Lockeridge with the intention of reducing my stocks of gin.

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.

“… 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. We’ve just passed the 200th Anniversary of Peterloo which was a defining moment of its age; it shifted the population to support of the movement for enfranchisement.

… 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. She and I also ran a session in the afternoon using Future Backwards for a packed room of UNEP staff and their network in the afternoon. My role was also to provide an overview of complexity theory and its application to climate change.

Cynefin St David’s Day 2020 (2 of n)

Dave Snowden

In my first post in this series, I talked about the renaming of the disorder domain into A/C (for short) standing for Aporetic or Confused for what used to be called authentic or inauthentic disorder. Now before people get hung up on language, if you are presenting Cynefin for the first time then you are unlikely to use the liminal version and you can just call it confused.

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.

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. I’ve lived long enough to see a wave of so called ‘universal’ solutions sweep through industry and government feeding hordes of consultants in the process and often damaging established and useful practice.

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. I think it was one of those slides that I put together at a conference where I am getting irritated with a preceding speaker who is either peddling snake oil and/or is fatally naive.

In praise of Texture

Dave Snowden

I love this cartoon by Shannon Wheeler , that was posted by the New Yorker.

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 192

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. So to take the case of inattentional blindness (see below for this not familiar with the idea) the argument is that expert radiologists can not spend their time looking for ANY anomaly but only anomalies that they expect.