Dave Snowden

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.

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.

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 ’.

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

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 204

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.

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

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 220

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

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 168

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.

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.

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.

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 148

connections not things

Dave Snowden

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

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.

… 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.

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.

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 140

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.

… which way I ought to go from here?

Dave Snowden

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

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.

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

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 274

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.

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

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 159

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

The dance of the Librarians

Dave Snowden

If I look back at the highlights of my various speaking engagements over the years then those to librarians are right up there in the highlights.

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

There comes a time …

Dave Snowden

Long distance walking is meditative in nature and often metaphorical in the nature of the reflection. Once you go beyond two hours something changes in the body chemistry and you start to reflect on current issues, the past and future states of being.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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