Dave Snowden

Learning: an anthro-complexity perspective

Dave Snowden

If you go back in time then two books could be considered to have laid the foundation for what I have termed the ‘systems thinking’ era which runs from the 1990s and is now (hopefully) starting to run out of steam while leaving much of value.

We’re launching a Citizen Engagement & Democratic Innovation Programme White Paper

Dave Snowden

If you’ve been following us for the last few years, you’ll know we’ve been developing our Citizen Engagement & Democratic Innovation programme. So it’s a well established hive of activity and expertise.

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… which ruminates when walking

Dave Snowden

Carwyn Edwards sent me an interesting link via social media the other day.

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.

Change 266

????? ??? ??????, M????, ??????????: some thoughts around trying to translate Cynefin into Greek

Dave Snowden

Unless this is the first time you have stumbled across this blog by accident, you might have come across the idea of “the Wiki”.

Wiki 211

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.

Price 249

Siphonophorae not hybrid (1 of 2)

Dave Snowden

I am indulging myself a little with the title to this post. For those who don’t know it describes a type marine entity which, while it appears to be a single organism is in fact a colony of different zooids that are different morphologically and are functionally specialised.

Returning to constraints

Dave Snowden

The more astute reader may have noticed that I have been writing a series of blog posts that update previous work and explore new ways of defining the general field of naturalising sense-making, and more particularly anthro-complexity as a key aspect of that field.

Module 285

Pleaches, Liggers & the ‘C’ words

Dave Snowden

Two interesting sets of interactions on social media triggered today’s post. One was a distinction made between cutting down a tree and trimming a hedge. That one came from a tweet by Sonja in which she said “ I liked the analogy of hedge trimming vs tree felling.

Prevarication by platitude

Dave Snowden

The road to hell, they say is paved with good intentions and nothing is more frustrating in the general field of sense-making and complexity work than when you encounter said practice.

Sample 137

Networks and Complexity (1)

Dave Snowden

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

Too fast, too soon?

Dave Snowden

This post picks up on the idea of shallow monogamy in my post of a few days ago looking at some of the obstacles to the adoption of complexity thinking.

20 years on, some memories

Dave Snowden

The love of wicked men converts to fear, That fear to hate, and hate turns one or both To worthy danger and deserved death. Richard II Act V Scene i 59-68. I thought through this post, keeping notes on the iPhone as I walked from Salcombe to Torcross on the South West Coastal Path.

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

Study 239

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.

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.

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.

Sample 207

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.

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.

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.

15 years on

Dave Snowden

So on this day, 15 years ago I wrote my first ever blog post. I was just settling into staff accommodation at Nanyang University (The banner picture I grabbed from Google Street View but I can’t remember exactly which one) for a three-month sabbatical.

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.

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.

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.

Differences to make a difference

Dave Snowden

So this weekend is the Winter Revel of HTLGI, virtual thanks to Covid but I still hope that we will back under tents at Hay this summer.

…the eye was bewildered

Dave Snowden

Back from holiday (of which more tomorrow) and a chance to pick up the blog agai as well as to reconnect with ‘civilisation’ in general. Part of that return was marking 2nd September 2022 (not that is not a typo) in the diary for the release of Amazon’s mini-series based on the Silmarillion.

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.

Change 218

Spotting anomalies

Dave Snowden

From time to time I get very frustrated at the ability of consultants and academics to correctly diagnose reasons for failure or success with the benefit of hindsight but fail to realise why the diagnosis of itself is not enough to make a difference the next time round.

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.

Darmok and Jalad at Tanagra

Dave Snowden

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

The wonderful world of the wiki

Dave Snowden

For those who don’t know Wikipedia is twenty years old tomorrow. It started in 2001 and I became an active editor five years later, User ID 1,988,889 which is the year it celebrated its millionth article and it is now well over fifty million.

Wiki 211

Looking back at the Acorn Study; Part 7: Hope, loss, and sacrifice

Dave Snowden

In 2018, Jem Bendell, a sustainability leadership professor, wrote a paper that took the possibility of near-term societal collapse due to climate change extremely seriously (you can read the whole thing here ).

Study 199

Re-wilding

Dave Snowden

I’ve given a fair number of talks over the last year around the general theme of Rewilding Agile. And while this post is going to start with the Agile movement which is hitting its twentieth anniversary shortly, the post has much wider applicability which I will develop shortly.

Looking back at the Acorn Study; Part 3: Small actions

Dave Snowden

Before going into the meat of this section, let’s talk about triads and dyads a little bit, and the representation of patterns on them, so people know what they are looking at.

Study 208

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.

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.

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.