Learning: an anthro-complexity perspective

Dave Snowden

Whatever those two books change things fundamentally and they represent two aspects of an all too common dichotomy that has perpetuated itself in management thinking ever since. Lots of systems diagrams, lots and lots of cases retrofitted to the theory, and many exhortations to change.

Complex facilitation

Dave Snowden

My priority today was to get a body of material from various documents and slide sets into the entry for Complex Facilitation. Now some people get complex facilitation but a lot don’t. Methods are designed to change interactions, not to change people.

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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. Networks can reveal various structures and various layers in complex systems – the connections (links) between the components are key.

complexity rules

Harold Jarche

We live and work in a complex system. Simple, traditional linear models do not work in complex systems. Campbell’s Law is a real thing – people change their behavior to meet targets. ” — Aeon: Complex Systems Science 2020. Complexity

Root ’cause’ & complexity

Dave Snowden

The first is the assertion that because complex systems have no linear material causality that all forms of root cause analysis should be abandoned. The only thing we know for certain about a complex system is that whatever we do will have unintended consequences.

At the Complexity turn …

Dave Snowden

As ever any radical change is “ piled high with difficulty ” to extend the Lincoln quote. A lot of difficulty lies in the fact that during times of change there are various candidates and they need to build some form of momentum.

On organisational change

Dave Snowden

It addresses the issue of organisational change using, in the main, a mapping and navigation metaphor. If we get heavy snow things will change, rivers can also flood but like all good walkers we have contingency plans and alternative routes we can follow.

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learning with complexity

Harold Jarche

Two technologies — machine learning , and the internet — are changing our understanding of the world by showing that we really cannot understand large scale complexity. “We don’t use these technologies because they are huge, connected, and complex. Sensemaking is becoming a critical skill in our complex world. Working in complexity requires constant sensemaking, connecting outside the organization with the work being done inside. Complexity

Twelvetide 20:08 Anthro-complexity

Dave Snowden

It was one of those days that did not promise well but as I ascended Cnicht (known a the Matterhorn of North Wales from its profile from Croesor) everything changed I I captured a range of shots of which the banner picture is one. PENDING CONTENT. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Systems thinking & complexity

Dave Snowden

The pioneering work of Prigogine and others which gives us complexity theory happens in the middle of that century. It was a characteristic of that period of development that the complexity of system would be resolved by engineering design, often bottom up, or definition of specific outcomes. I didn’t know it at the time but that was the key Cynefin distinction between complex and complicated. The post Systems thinking & complexity appeared first on Cognitive Edge.

Understanding complexity

Harold Jarche

Thinking of complex adaptive systems as merely complicated entities that can be regulated like machines can lead to disaster, as Niall Ferguson shows in his recent book. Human systems are complex. Today’s large, complicated organizations are now facing complex business environments that require agility in simultaneously learning and working. A schematic history of human civilization reflects a growing complexity of the collective behavior of human organizations.

Scaling in complex systems

Dave Snowden

Naturally I have done a lot more thinking since then but the fundamentals remain: you don’t scale a complex system by aggregation or imitation but be decomposition to an optimal level of granularity followed by recombination (possible exadaptive recombination). Complexity is about how things connect far more than what the things are. The post Scaling in complex systems appeared first on Cognitive Edge.

self-managing for complexity

Harold Jarche

How can they most effectively learn the skills required in the complex domain? How do leaders start creating environments that support this transition – if we simply focus on training people, but the environment remains the same, nothing will change. How can we prepare people to work in complex, and not highly ordered, work environments in which most problems are exceptions from which some emergent solutions can be continuously developed, learned, and shared? Complexity

Agency: privilege & complexity

Dave Snowden

The cartoon speaks for itself and has wider application than leadership, it can be used to look at the wider issue of change and the problems that have been created by the dominance of an engineering, cybernetics induced over the last few decades. In part that is the question of privilege, in part a failure to really on board the implications of complexity (and I speak here as some who has sinned and may well still be in a state of sin in this regard).

changing structures

Harold Jarche

“For the first time since the industrial revolution, organizations are changing at a fundamental level. The change is very much a work in progress in most organizations. Changed role of leaders —. Complexity ConnectedEnterpriseBut we now have many examples of organizations that are fully functioning in an entirely new way — that is, new ideas about how the organization is designed, about how work gets done, how people relate to each other.”

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

Dave Snowden

Anthro complexity. In the Cynefin framework , evolution appears most prominently in exaptive practice, associated with the complex domain. Exaptation in that context is defined as radical repurposing and it is key to how innovation often happens in complexity.

Complex or Chaotic?

Dave Snowden

The distinction between complexity and chaos theory can be problematic depending on who you are talking with, or what you are reading. There are also some mildly worrying differences emerging between its use in the social and natural sciences; an especial concern as complexity provides the basis for a realist and pragmatic account of social systems and a truly trans-disciplinary approach to human understanding.

Fidelity in complex systems consultancy

Dave Snowden

Returning yesterday from my first TedX in Cyprus I was chatting with Sonja Blignaut about some upcoming activities and differences between approaches to sense-making and complexity. So its a hard problem, if not the Hard Problem , and it is especially so when you are working in a paradigm shifting area such as complexity theory. Changing paradigms can be deeply unsettling and, like all pioneers, if you are doing your job well then the chance of arrows in the back is high.

AI Technologies Are Fundamentally Changing How Work Gets Done

Irving Wladawsky-Berger

The expanded scope will change the value employers place on tasks, and the types of skills most in demand.”. The data set generated by these methods provides much more detail about the changes in tasks within jobs and in skill requirements than traditional survey data.

Complexity and change

Harold Jarche

Complexity. If it seems to too complex for L&D to take on the “responsibility&# for enabling learning across the organisation, then bear in mind that this role will probably be assumed by others, e.g. Bus Ops, IT or Internal Communications departments as their own interests widen. Classroom instruction is complex but do we treat it as such? Changing Practice. Evidence that change does not come from within, in this ASTD article via @JaneBozarth.

Intervening in a complex domain

Dave Snowden

A good conversation in Moscow this morning with David Anderson around and about the issue of managing a complex system and as is the way with discussion a half formed idea or two coalesced. I've been teaching how to intervene in a complex system for years, developing and then using the ABIDE perspective question for example. Then we have three basic questions: (i) what can I change? (ii) ii) Of those things that I can change, where can I monitor the impact of that change?

What is the locus of change?

Dave Snowden

This is the first in what will be an occasional series of posts in which I want to examine, in the context of change the role of the individual, that individual’s identity as part of society and the affordances provided thereof. The post What is the locus of change?

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Complex domain: April 2013

Dave Snowden

I've been using the complex domain model for some time now since I first published it. One of my main aims was to move away from a simple categorisation of methods which is the all too frequent use of Cynefin into a more nuanced and varied understanding of complexity. There is a lot more to do here, but it's going in the right direction, Its gone through some minor changes but I don;t intend to repeat the descriptions of the dimensions here - read up on the link.

hold space for complex problems

Harold Jarche

Too often, we are our jobs, and when that changes, on a large scale, society will change. The changing nature of work will have ramifications across society. Structural changes in jobs and the education needed to do work are already being felt. But we need to first prepare people – individuals, families, communities – to be adaptable in dealing with technological and demographic changes, in a globalized, resource-challenged world.

Complexity and Public Administration

Dave Snowden

Some 10 years ago now when I first became interested in how complexity science might be used in public administration there was a body of thinking but relatively few practical examples of applications. That has changed. This has brought attention to approaches informed by complexity science for working with intractable problems as well as a way to square the circle of making localization workable and relevant. This blog is being posted on behalf of Thomas Townsend.

adapting to constant change

Harold Jarche

The future of [human] work is perpetual beta : adapting to constant change while still getting things done. The human work of tomorrow will not be based on competencies best-suited for machines, because creative work that is continuously changing cannot be replicated by machines or code. New methods and practices — often ‘just good enough’ — can be developed, used, modified, and eventually discarded as the nature of the work changes. Complexity WorkPerpetual Beta.

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Coherence in complexity

Harold Jarche

Anecdote reports that John Kotter, leadership guru , is accepting that methods like his 8-step process for leading change may not be effective in the face of complexity. In my last post I wrote that in an increasingly complex workplace, many of the old models are no longer useful, referring more specifically to workplace learning. The same is happening to our models for management and “change management”, as if we could manage change in the first place.

Networks thrive in complexity

Harold Jarche

In complex environments, weak hierarchies and strong networks are the best organizing principle. One good example of complexity that we can try to fathom is nature itself. It has not been a clean progression from one organizing mode to the next but rather each new form built upon and changed the previous mode. Each form also seems to be triggered by major societal changes in communications. complexity Wirearchy

immunize for complexity

Harold Jarche

It comes from the 1990’s but is still in use to describe the complex and chaotic world of business, politics, and technology. Complexity. Velocity and agility can be improved at the organizational level with frameworks, such as Niels Pflaeging’s Organize for Complexity approach. Enabling experimentation and engaging with networks (Connectivity Networks, Alignment Networks, & Productivity Networks) ensures an understanding of the changing VUCA world.

Design thinking & complexity pt 1

Dave Snowden

I started talking about the differences that complexity theory makes to design thinking some time ago - In Malmo at the XP conference as I remember it - and have now introduced that material in modified form onto day four of our accreditation programme. Now I know one experience should not inform me, hence the reading and conversations but none of that really changes my judgement on this.

Managing in Complexity

Harold Jarche

As our markets and technologies get more complex, we need new models to get work done. However, complex systems are not fully knowable, though they can be partially understood through interaction with them. If companies want to remain competitive in the global market, they need to focus on complex and creative work. Much of complex work is in exception-handling and when exceptions are the rule, rigid rules must become the exception. complexity Wirearchy Work

No cookie cutters for complexity

Harold Jarche

Five years later, Dave Snowden makes a similar observation, sparked by a KPMG marketing brochure on “cutting through complexity” Dave concludes: If a consultancy firm really wants to help their clients they they should support them in living with complexity, riding its potential, avoiding reductionist approaches, engaging customer and staff in a sensing network. Making a value proposition around behaviour and culture change is therefore very difficult. complexit

The rapidly changing workplace

Harold Jarche

8) So what have I learned that will help us change our own experience of work? That knowledge is becoming more abstract, conceptual, distributed and complex. 9) We know what social and thinking skills are needed for complex contexts – we know how to hone these skills through practice. Customized, unique and creative work is required to deal with complex contexts, the large grey space on the Stacey Matrix diagram above. complexity Informal Learning Work

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Build trust, embrace networks, manage complexity

Harold Jarche

But hierarchies are rather useless to create, innovate, or change. We have known for quite a while that hierarchies are ineffective when things get complex. The only way to change a hierarchical organization is to create a new hierarchy. Most organizations still deal with complexity through reorganization. A connected enterprise starts by building a foundation of trust, embracing networks, and then managing complexity. Complexity. Hierarchies.

“Complicated” vs. “Complex”

Martijn Linssen

The background: A gentleman who makes a living “reducing complexity” for IT systems keeps running into some of us on Twitter who study complexity. The ask: There is a group of complexity aficionados that criticize my use of the word “complexity.” ” In general, these are folks who are influenced by the Cynefin framework that considers complexity and complicated to be different attributes of a system. The Emergence of Complexity.

Design thinking & complexity pt 2

Dave Snowden

For the moment I want to look at some of the implications for design thinking, reinterpreted through a complexity lens; shifting from a linear process to a non-linear dynamic. Malafouris uses linear B tablets (my opening illustration) to show how material objects change human cognition in a non-linear (although he does not use that phrase manner). In a very important sense, then, from the perspective of material engagement, cognition has no location.

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

Dave Snowden

I have been thinking a lot about climate change during the COVID-19 times (and so have many many many others ). The change seems immediate and considerable. Now, none of these things is new, and just like with climate change people have been shouting them for ages.

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Leadership for Complexity

Clark Quinn

The other meme from the retreat event last weekend was the notion of leadership for complexity. We talked through how things are moving from complicated to complex (and how important it is to recognize the difference), and that organizations need to receive the wake-up call and start moving forward. The issue really is to recognize the need to seize new directions, and then execute the change.

Gird for complexity

Jay Cross

This changes everything. Complexity has been on my mind a lot lately. What’s left is complexity: the unpredictable, volatile, surprise-time, non-linear, quantum, interconnected challenges of WTF. Will complex work become the norm by 2020? Yet learning to navigate complex environments is totally different than learning to follow procedures and solve bounded problems. To master complexity, you need, in the words of John Seely Brown, “marinate in it.”

Scale and Complex Systemic Innovation

Irving Wladawsky-Berger

But managing the kind of disruptive innovations that change the rules of the game requires a different management style based on identifying a brand new idea, moving quickly to establish an early market presence, and continuous market experimentation to refine the offerings and establish the company’s strategy. This kind of complex systemic innovation leverages lots of known ideas and makes them work together to help address important problems.

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Re-wiring for the Complex Workplace

Harold Jarche

Complexity is the new normal. Connected knowledge workers need more than directives; they need ongoing, real-time, constantly-changing, collaborative, support. Today’s complicated organizations are now facing increasingly complex business environments that require agility in simultaneously learning and working. Re-wiring for complexity. Organizations need to understand complexity instead of adding more complication. complexity Learning Wirearchy

The Internet of Things is Changing the World

Irving Wladawsky-Berger

“How the world will change as computers spread into everyday objects,” is the title of the lead article in a comprehensive review of the Internet of Things (IoT) in a r ecent issue of The Economist.

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

Dave Snowden

I have been thinking a lot about climate change during the COVID-19 times (and so have many many many others ). The change seems immediate and considerable. Now, none of these things is new, and just like with climate change people have been shouting them for ages.

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