Dave Snowden

How the elephant got his trunk: what evolution can teach us about complexity

Dave Snowden

I’m going to assume that everyone who frequents this blog and is a regular reader of Dave’s work is very familiar with general concepts of evolution, both as a biological fact and as a metaphor.

A word or two about words …

Dave Snowden

In some ways this post is a follow up to a point I made yesterday about the dangers of creating a coat of rhinestones on something rotten at the heart and by way or warning it is polemical in nature.

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Coherence and ‘truth’

Dave Snowden

So I’m back at the desk in my study, driven home from two weeks walking and cycling in the Lake District by Atlantic storms a day early. I’ve found a perfect self-catering location that is reasonably priced and within 90 minutes of the bulk of the walks.

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Networks and Complexity (1)

Dave Snowden

Complex human systems, such as organizations, communities or economies, go hand-in-hand with networks.

Naturalising narrated

Dave Snowden

In recent times I’ve been engaged in a series of interesting exchanges with Dr Mike Jackson OBE, hereinafter referred to as Mike. I have a visiting chair at Hull University where he is Emeritus Professor and as well as a fair number of mutual friends including Yasmin Merali and Gerald Midgley.

To curate or be curated?

Dave Snowden

From time to time someone, knowing my interest in narrative sends me a link to yet another website collecting people’s stories. One popped up in slack as I was writing this offering a “magic formula” to change the world. It has some powerful stories all carefully curated by the design team.

Darmok and Jalad at Tanagra

Dave Snowden

You may be asking what connects the events on stardate 45047.2,

linguistic aporia

Dave Snowden

PENDING FULL TEXT. . In my post of today’s ago. . . . . . . Acknowledgements. Opening picture is by Kyle Glenn on Unsplash. The banner picture continues the them of the earlier post with a picture of one of the bookshelves in my study. This is the section for Welsh (and honorary Welsh) poetr

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Sharing Global Perspectives: A project by people, for people

Dave Snowden

In 2021, the Cynefin Centre hopes that we can start introducing and highlighting the work carried out by our members more than ever before. Today’s blog post offers the stage to a project looking at experiences of the pandemic all around the world.

On organisational change

Dave Snowden

This is not the second part of the re-wilding post, but a building block towards it. It addresses the issue of organisational change using, in the main, a mapping and navigation metaphor. Earlier today Paul and I were exchanging ideas for a walk in the Black Mountains using.gpx files.

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The Woozle effect

Dave Snowden

I talked yesterday about metaphor-based languages and used Winnie the Pooh as an illustration. That was part of a loose set of posts starting to develop and codify a more general theory of leadership from a sense-making and anthro-complexity perspective.

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I will lift up my eyes …

Dave Snowden

I grew up in and around the hills of North Wales, walking most weekends when were were not dinghy sailing. Rather than a birthday party when I was young I managed to persuade my parents to book a caravan in Snowdonia and took a couple of friends.

Video 189

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.

Start a journey with a sense of direction …

Dave Snowden

The single most fundamental error of the last three decades is to try and design an idealised future state rather than working the evolutionary potential of the here and now, the adjacent possibles – it is impossible to gain consensus in the former, easier in the latter. When I set up the idea of an occasional blog post using a quote as a base I didn’t intend to use my own.

The straw man fallacy

Dave Snowden

One of the things that most irritates me on social media is the complete ignorance people seem to have of the Straw-man fallacy in logic.

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.

“… intire of it selfe”

Dave Snowden

A health warning – this is an exploratory post starting to develop an anthro-complexity theory of organisational change. As such I am working through some of the basic science relating to the constraints within which such a theory can be developed. This is Praxis in action!

Module 229

A trialectic method

Dave Snowden

The theory post of yesterday came with a health warning and this one does as well – There are some things that really irritate me and drove these two posts so the next three paragraphs are polemical, jump to the new method if you want to avoid them.

A dish best served cold? 1 of 2

Dave Snowden

One of the first classic novels I came across, and through the medium of a radio play, was the Count of Monte Christo. My mother objected to televisions on principle and so we grew up with radio which in many ways was a blessing. Radio feeds the imagination in a way that television does not.

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.

Two months of blogging

Dave Snowden

A little over two months ago I wrote a post summarising the previous year’s blog posts. This proved useful to several readers but also to me and so I resolved to timetable a similar task every couple of months.

Complex facilitation

Dave Snowden

I always have mixed feelings when I finish a Christmas blog series. There is a rhythm to writing to a plan but it can also be a burden and you feel you are missing key subjects. Whatever I took a day off and decided to summarise here some of the work I am doing on our Wiki.

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.

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.

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.

Narrative as abductive acts of knowing

Dave Snowden

This is the second post of several that I am publishing this month to update some of my original work in knowledge management and in particular the role of narrative in as a scaffold of meaning between and within individuals, community and society.

Stalin or Lincoln?

Dave Snowden

This post continues an earlier series on the theme of Leadership and is the third post in that series. Links to the first two posts can be found in my post of yesterday.

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.

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My bit in the Flow Book

Dave Snowden

I’m interrupting the flow of my posts about an anthro-complexity approach to strategy to reference a new book published today from my good friends John, Nigel and Brian.

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.

A word or two about words … (2/2)

Dave Snowden

In yesterday’s post, I was concerned about both the abuse of power, and the effectiveness of confessional use of language. The desire to compel people to put into words (generally the words of power in the facilitator’s culture and/or ideology) learning is problematic to say the least.

The shards of Cynefin

Dave Snowden

Today’s post is a development of yesterday’s post which will look at the various overlapping aspects of a situation that Cynefin seeks to handle. I am still with that wider theme of navigating through hazardous waters, hence the banner picture.

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.

Twelvetide 20:02 Carbon is not silicon

Dave Snowden

In this second post within the knowledge management section, I want to summarise some of the material on human cognition and decision making that I and others rely on within the wider field of sense-making.

Thinking about Networks – 2

Dave Snowden

It is funny, when we think about networks, we think about groups, communities, systems, and other complex collections of interacting entities. Yet, the most popular social network metrics are “individual centralities”! Who is the most connected? Who is the best connected? Who is the hub? Who is the influencer? Who spans the most structural holes in the network? We are looking at complex interconnected systems yet we are focusing on individuals. Does this make sense?

Kataphatic aspects of leadership

Dave Snowden

Two days ago I wrote a post that looked at what leadership theory is not indulging my love of language to introduce the word apophatic to a wider audience. Today I want to look at the more positive aspects, the positive things we can say, and do, hence the word kataphatic.

Wherein lies coherence?

Dave Snowden

Things are building nicely for our Exploratory next week looking at the connections between sense-making, complexity, and network theory. It starts next week and runs through to the 10th March which will a lot of time for discussion and thinking.

Root ’cause’ & complexity

Dave Snowden

There are two major forms of stupidity on the various debates that sprint on social media from time to time. The first is the assertion that because complex systems have no linear material causality that all forms of root cause analysis should be abandoned.

Of congruence and coherence

Dave Snowden

My old headmaster, of fond memory, was too find of appealing for harmony at school assemblies. I think he wanted everything to be like the choir in the banner picture.

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.

Aesthetic aporia

Dave Snowden

HOLDING FOR FULL TEXT IN DRAFT. . Using aesthetic in the sense of anything which is not linguistic or physical, implies a level of abstract. . . . . . . Static, one time. cartoons like gaping void include quotations with bite.

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The loci of competence

Dave Snowden

An alternative title for today’s post could have been sometimes necessary, rarely sufficient with the same subject namely the legitimate discussion of competence and its role in decision making as well as questions arising from the more nefarious areas of competence standards and certifications.

Moving on, with respect

Dave Snowden

One of the features of being a generalist is that you are always curious about new things and understanding, outside of your original fields of study or practice and often tangential to it.