Dave Snowden

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.

Identity

Dave Snowden

One of the more fascinating aspects of human systems, and one of the most significant differences with the wider field of complexity is that of identity. Humans beings rarely have single agency. Not only that our identities can flex and change instantly and in context.

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Acting at your own level of competence

Dave Snowden

One of the most common, and the most irritating aspect of change workshops is the number of times they end up with broad statements about how people need to change their culture, change their attitude etc.

cum hoc ergo propter hoc

Dave Snowden

The fact that a rooster crows at sunrise does not mean it causes the sunset, the fact that you find sick people in a hospital does not mean that the hospital makes people sick. Of course it might, but you can’t draw the conclusion from the observation.

List 70

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.

Proximity in time, space & truth

Dave Snowden

The next aspect of uniqueness in human systems that I want to address is that of proximity. In ‘standard’ complexity agents receive signals from other agents in close proximity but don’t have knowledge of the wider system. Now this is true and no true of human systems.

Pragmatism requires knowledge

Dave Snowden

I’m half thinking of using the daily Gaping Void download to stimulate my posts this month. I may not keep it up, but today’s works well as it also picks up on yesterday’s post.

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.

connections not things

Dave Snowden

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

Liminal & situated strategy

Dave Snowden

I was originally going to move on to post about constraints but a early meeting this morning involved a stimulating discussion with the senior partner of a law firm and as a result I’ve going to carry on from yesterday’s post and return to constraints tomorrow.

The knotty issue of constraints

Dave Snowden

I’ve been developing a theory of constraints both as a method for strategy mapping and as a way of better understanding domains and sub-domains in Cynefin. That thinking was in part stimulus for the liminal version of Cynefin.

Ahhh, this porridge is just right

Dave Snowden

Most readers will be familiar with the tale of Goldilocks and the Three Bears and the three time repetition of too big, too small, just right and so on. The relevance to innovation may not be immediately clear but it is important when we are look at radical, or exaptive innovation.

In uncertainty lies resilience

Dave Snowden

This post is illustrated with Body of Knowledge , a steel sculpture created in 2010 by Jaume Plensa, located at the Westend Campus of Goethe University Frankfurt.

False dichotomies, reality avoidance

Dave Snowden

In my keynote on Friday at Agile Maine I opened by suggesting that there was a schizophrenic dichotomy in the Agile movement between highly structured, harmful, all encompassing frameworks on the one hand, and mostly harmless, but inconsequential methods based on happiness and the like.

risk?

Dave Snowden

Most large companies are prepared to invest in “incremental innovation” but very few are willing to grant decision authority to management teams at a level necessary for disruptive innovation.

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.

Liminal Cynefin: the final cut?

Dave Snowden

The liminal version of Cynefin has been slowly evolving over the last few months. It was getting close in August but I wasn’t happy as it didn’t properly deal with disorder or the various Cynefin dynamics.

Power of the facilitator

Dave Snowden

I’m picking up on my earlier posts on experts and professionalism by addressing the more controversial issue of workshops in modern practice. Now before anyone gets paranoid or over reacts I’m not arguing against workshops per se.

Small actions to create meaning

Dave Snowden

The last few days have seen one of the periodic retweeting of a three year old post I wrote with the title SAFe the Infantilisation of Management. This in turn generated a more extensive debate on LinkedIn which saw a few SAFe trainers and coaches defend their position.

Boundary conditions

Dave Snowden

For various complex reasons which started with a casual throw away remark at Lean Agile Scotland followed by a brief twitter storm I am spending two days in Dubai with a Kanban group. That includes the co-authors of Essential Kanban Condensed , namely David Anderson and Andy Carmichael.

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.

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.

Things a leader can do

Dave Snowden

Just over a week ago I posted at the end of day one of the Helsinki think tank on Leadership. I planned to post the next day on one of the sessions I was involved in but events and travel overtook me.

Shooting the Sacred Cows of OD

Dave Snowden

Yesterday I referenced a tweet from the Welsh Academy session at which I was a keynote Thursday. A frantic couple of days really.

Don’t prescribe sainthood

Dave Snowden

One of the many things that has always frustrated me about too many organisational change theories and practices is the assumption of sainthood. A model of the organisation, or its leaders, or the ideal employee or whatever is created.

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.

Yes but… (and the Isaiah moment is still with us)

Dave Snowden

Liminal Cynefin: first revision

Dave Snowden

I posted an early version of the liminal variant to Cynefin a few days ago, then presented it a few times. Last week in Tallin I ran through it in a masterclass and realised I had over complicated things. If you look at the learlier post I had added liminal boundary zones everywhere.

SAFe: the infantilism of management

Dave Snowden

I gave the opening keynote at the Agile conference in Brno today. A good audience in that they paid attention and were thoughtful.

Class 124

The domain of disorder (ii)

Dave Snowden

Most people who have walked in the mountains will have experienced a temperature inversion at some stage. You suddenly discover yourself standing above a sea of cloud with the odd peak visible but the vast majority of the landscape.

The trust word

Dave Snowden

A weapon is defined by the Oxford English Dictionary either as A thing designed or used for inflicting bodily harm or physical damage or as A means of gaining an advantage or defending oneself in a conflict or contest.

Liminal Cynefin – image release

Dave Snowden

I decided it would be a good idea to make the image of Cynefin available, if only to reduce the change of people drawing it as a two by two and adding a diamond to keep me happy. Typical Saxon tendency, reducing Celtic curves to straight lines.

Liminal Cynefin

Dave Snowden

The Cynefin framework tends to be used in the main to categories situations within the four main domains (and for more advanced use all five). I’ve never had a problem with that but the dynamics are as important as the domains and they are too often neglected.

New partnership

Dave Snowden

Berlin has always been one of my favourite cities since I used to cross under the wall back in the 70s for various WSCF meetings.

A return to constraints

Dave Snowden

I’m getting increasingly excited about the work I am doing on constraints. I first posted on this with an initial taxonomy back in September. Since then I have been working the ideas into a series of keynote speeches and more recently workshop exercises.

… and nearer to the Dust

Dave Snowden

One of the deeply negative aspects of the knowledge management period of a decade or more ago was the gross confusion of information with knowledge. One of the drivers was a quote now attributed to Bill Gates “ The inventory, the value of your company, walks out the door every evening. ”

Liminal Cynefin, stepping over the threshold

Dave Snowden

I’ve been frantic the last few months with a lot of long standing wishes and dreams that are all coming together at the same time. The sort of thing that you initially say is the sort of problem you want to have, but when reality strikes one’s view is rather different.

Boundaries as domain shadows

Dave Snowden

I’ve been teaching a masterclass her in India to a mixed group and took the opportunity to push myself to get the boundaries as domains version of Cynefin to a point where it could be published for comment and start to develop.

Facile or felicitous?

Dave Snowden

I realise up front that there is a danger that this post may be misinterpreted. So to be clear I see nothing wrong in facilitation per se, I facilitate and I teach other people complex facilitation skills.

Creating a knowledge strategy

Dave Snowden

I'm back at KM World in Washington having keynoted at the event for well over a decade now. Once it was virtual and I was represented on stage by a pumpkin, but I've learnt my lesson from that and now I turn up!