Dave Snowden

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.

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.

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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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Study 206

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.

Wherefore, part the first

Dave Snowden

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. .

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.

Change, urgency, and new opportunities: talking about climate change during a pandemic

Dave Snowden

Photo by Deborah Diem on Unsplash. I have been thinking a lot about climate change during the COVID-19 times (and so have many many many others ). Two things have struck many among us, and have repeatedly been brought up in discussions I have been a part of.

Change 137

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.

… 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.

“… 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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”.

Lle i enaid gael llonydd

Dave Snowden

Some time ago while watching one of Iolo Williams reflections on the Welsh Landscape I noted his use of the above welsh phrase which means ‘a place for the soul to find peace’. It is linked to Cynefin (the place of your multiple belongings) but it isn’t the same thing.

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.

Cynefin & perception

Dave Snowden

Various social media feeds link me daily to discussions about the use of the Cynefin Framework. Sometimes I take part, more frequently not. The last thing I want is to be too precious about its use and to a degree abuse.

Cynefin St David’s Day (4 of 5)

Dave Snowden

In this penultimate post in the current series, I want to look at what you can manage in the complex domain of Cynefin and return to the which domain is X in debate.

Breaking the forest cycle

Dave Snowden

I’ve been meaning to write about the “forest cycle” or the supposed necessity of chaos for some time. Yesterday’s post on the different between the Cynefin framework and the Stacy Matrix reminded me of the need.

Cynefin & Theory of Constraints – Webinar II

Dave Snowden

This week CE hosted an open webinar on the topic of Cynefin & Theory of Constraints. This webinar featured CE practitioners and TOC experts, Steve Holt, Jabe Bloom, Greg Brougham, and Hilbert Robinson.

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.

Avoiding paralysis in major change

Dave Snowden

Over the last three weeks I’ve been engaged in a diverse set of projects. Firstly the Singapore foresight and horizon scanning event, then a steelworks in Australia followed by masterclasses and multiple government meetings in New Zealand.

Change 201

Cynefin St Davids Day 2019 (2 of 5)

Dave Snowden

It’s taken longer than I hoped but I now have the time to complete my series of five update posts on Cynefin. In my last post I explained the change from ‘Simple’ to ‘Obvious’ in the ordered domain.

In praise of Texture

Dave Snowden

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

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.

Martin Burns RIP

Dave Snowden

On the 11th of March this year I sat down for a meal at the Bridge Inn in Ratho (top picture) near Edinburgh with Martin and Lucy Burns along with Simon Wardley. It was the end of an enjoyable three days. Wales had beaten Scotland (just) to stay on course for the Grand Slam and I was there.

A Retreat on narrative – where better to meet than in Ireland

Dave Snowden

The location of the Cynefin Retreat about Narrative in Organisations (Ireland, 18-21 March 2019) is specially chosen for its unique landscape and naturally rugged beauty.

Cynefin as of St Davids Day 2019 (1 of 3)

Dave Snowden

An email came in yesterday from our new CEO Marion asking if I could explain why I had changed simple to obvious within the Cynefin framework, why I called it simple in the first place, had I thought of any other words and did it change anything to do with the dynamics.

Bringing the human element and complexity thinking to rebuilding resilience in Puerto Rico

Dave Snowden

Cognitive Edge, through the Cynefin Centre, is part of an exciting project team funded by a United States National Science Foundation grant.

Exploring synergies and interaction between the Cynefin Framework and Theory of Constraints

Dave Snowden

As our business contexts become increasingly complex, the success rate of large scale transformation efforts and projects are rapidly decreasing. Many have been looking for answers to improve their performance and results, often jumping from one method to the next in search of “The Answer”.

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.

My/Our research …

Dave Snowden

I’ve long pointed out to over enthusiastic proponents of ‘story telling’ that the phrase has a double meaning in English and the most dominant one is to tell a story.

Linkages matter

Dave Snowden

Working in complexity you soon get a sense of which ideas and concepts are causing (sic) people problems. One is the whole dispositional v causal aspect on which I have written several times, most recently at the end of 2017.

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.

Musings on Blake

Dave Snowden

One of the few good news items yesterday (don’t ask but it involves more tests) was my discovery that we have a major exhibition of the work of William Blake in London over the Christmas period, which means I can make it and daughter is also interested which is a bonus.