Clark Quinn

So yesterday I talked about the value of diagrams , but I thought I’d add a bit about the process of actually creating diagrams. Naturally, I created a diagram about it. I created this diagram for a session I ran on diagramming a number of years ago.


Clark Quinn

One of the things that I feel is a really useful tool in my ongoing learning, in my ‘making sense of the world’ is diagramming. I find diagrams to be a really powerful way to understand not just elements, but relationships. So I want to make a case for the diagram.

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Complex thinking

Clark Quinn

An interesting article I came across brings up an interesting issue: how do we do complex thinking? The article says that our brains are limited in thinking about complex situations. Another short-cut that the article cites is diagrams.

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).

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.

A complex look at task assignments

Clark Quinn

And I’ll be the first to acknowledge that it’s complex, as the diagram represents, but let me tease it apart for you and see if it makes sense. If it’s a complex artefact (such as a product design, not just a presentation), there could be several revisions.

Organizations and Complexity

Harold Jarche

Tweet I’ve discussed this table before, but I’d like to put it all the links together to highlight what we need to do with our organizations and structures to deal with complexity. Complexity. How we can support emergent practices in the increasingly complex enterprise: COMPLEXITY. Patti Anklam , in discussing value networks and complexity states: Understanding of complexity provides a practical guide to managing context.

The Evolution of Design Thinking

Irving Wladawsky-Berger

Yet, they account for the bulk of the growing complexity in our daily lives. This new approach is in large part a response to the increasing complexity of modern technology and modern business.” . In such an environment, formulating a winning market strategy is very complex indeed. .

Design 281

The rapidly changing workplace

Harold Jarche

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. The Stacey Matrix shows the complex work space quite clearly.

Change 285

Get outside the disciplinary box

Harold Jarche

Tweet A most interesting post by Nick Milton at Knoco got me thinking again about complexity. I like the 2 X 2 diagram showing how increasing complexity makes us dependent on creative individuals and increasing collectivity makes us dependent on more processes. complexity

Informal learning is a business imperative

Harold Jarche

complexity Informal Learning Work

Tools for LXD?

Clark Quinn

I’ve created diagrams (such as the Education Engagement Alignment ), and quips , but here I’m thinking something else. Complex ideas require external representation. We’re also bad at complex calculations.

Tools 200

Network thinking

Harold Jarche

Here are some recommendations for moving to a new social contract for creative work : Abolish the organization chart and replace it with a network diagram (some new tech companies have done this). The more complex or novel the idea, the more time it will take to be understood.

The Graphic That Started My Journey Researching Purpose Three Years Ago

Dan Pontefract

Whilst I knew (and still know) a connected and engaged culture is critically important for today’s complex and complicated organizations, something was gnawing at me. and I came across this Venn diagram.

70:20:10 - Beyond the Blend

Charles Jennings

The diagram below also represents a common view of blended learning. Diagram from Heinze & Proctor ‘Reflections on the Use of Blended Learning’ (2004). This is what my colleague Jane Hart calls dependent learning (see diagram below). Work is becoming more complex.

Autonomy and Value in Social and Workplace Learning

Charles Jennings

My colleague Jane Hart recently shared the diagram below on her blog. Learning in the Modern Workplace’ Model Jane’s diagram shows the increasing value that can be released through exploiting learning opportunities beyond ‘the course’ – or the curriculum.


Clark Quinn

I am a big fan of diagrams (as you probably infer :), and animations add an important dimension. As Larkin & Simon pointed out in their landmark Cognitive Science article (PDF) “Why a diagram is (sometimes) worth ten thousand words”, a mental model is composed of conceptual relationships between the elements. A diagram maps those conceptual relationships to spatial relationships, providing a memorable framework to both comprehend and remember that model.

Some thinking about decisions

Dave Snowden

One thing I want to tackle in more depth (which I didn't mention in yesterday's post) is the difference between design thinking as it is popularly understood and complexity informed design thinking. We then identify what aspects are complicated and which are complex. (If

Cognitive and Learning Sciences

Clark Quinn

And, typically, if we’re addressing higher-level thinking than motor reactions (think: decisions about actions), we’re activating complex combinations of patterns. Images representing concepts, diagrams, and language.

Initial thinking on scaling

Dave Snowden

But thinking about constraints is the essence of complexity and in particular the difference between governing and enabling constraints; language you will now find in the latest versions of Cynefin. A complex system is what it is, there is no doing back.

Perspectives on Cynefin

Dave Snowden

Generally they cast sinners into order while claiming the privilege of complexity for themselves. I might then go on to split order if needed, but in this case I am focused on understanding governance within complexity so divisions within order are less important.

What matters in knowledge work

Harold Jarche

This Venn diagram by Oscar Berg says a lot about the nature of work and management today. Not for leadership and not for dealing with complexity.

mycorrhiza: abstraction & codification

Dave Snowden

In 2002 I published Complex Acts of Knowing , the first major article to include Cynefin in its near current form; if we ignore the words the only difference with the current version is the lack of liminality. to explicitly bring complexity theory into play.

Level of polish?

Clark Quinn

Jesse James Garrett has a lovely diagram that represents this for information architecture. But the assessment the context is complex. A debate broke out amongst some colleagues the other day about the desirable level of polish in our elearning.

Determinism, Best Practice, and the ‘Training Solution’

Charles Jennings

Human behaviour and the nature of organisations both tend to be complex and highly variable, and neither lend themself to deterministic approaches. When we’re dealing with human and organisational learning and performance we’re dealing with highly complicated and complex systems.


Clark Quinn

try a more complex example (perhaps in a group). try a very complex (read: typical) example. draw a flow diagram. I’ve been thinking a lot about processing in learning of late; what processing matters, when, and why.

Reconciling Activity and Decisions

Clark Quinn

And I have separate diagrams for each. These are complex outputs that are unlikely to be aut0-marked, and can be the basis of either or both of peer or mentor review.

… which way I ought to go from here?

Dave Snowden

It provides for a series of defined steps to achieve an outcome; a framework would position said methods (Cynefin places Scrum in the liminal aspect of the complex domain for example). Another quote from the Scrum Alliance: Scrum is an agile framework for completing complex projects.

Of sandbanks and granite cliffs

Dave Snowden

So not the process is fairly simply to complete and is summarised in the diagram below. Ones which are complex have safe-to-fail experiments in parallel (standard Cynefin techniques taught on all the courses) over a similar time frame.

MOOCs are really a platform

George Siemens

He offers this diagram to detail the distinctions: This morning, Marc Bousquet and I were on CBCOntario Today (recording here) discussing MOOCs. We can officially declare massive open online courses (MOOCs) as the higher education buzzword for 2012.

Networked Professional Development

Harold Jarche

Abolish the organization chart and replace it with a network diagram (some new tech companies have done this). The more complex or novel the idea, the more time it will take to be understood.

How to learn and learn-to-learn

Clark Quinn

What’s your top advice for someone who wishes to develop faster and learn complex skills in modern workplaces? . Experiment with different ways to represent your understanding: write, diagram, make an audio or video file.

How To 228

Mapping the entire human brain using AI and crowdsourcing: will we discover who we are?

Ross Dawson

Seung has also become the leading proponent of a plan, which he described in a 2012 book, to create a wiring diagram of all 100 trillion connections between the neurons of the human brain, an unimaginably vast and complex network known as the connectome.

The right tool for the right job

Harold Jarche

It does not work well for tasks that require high degrees of tacit knowledge and cooperation to address complex problems. In organizational performance, it is critical because we are always dealing with complex adaptive systems.

Tools 211

Games & Meaningful Interactivity

Clark Quinn

I started diagramming, and came up with the following characterization. I like how Van Merriënboer talks about the knowledge you need and the complex problems you apply that knowledge to. A colleague recently queried: “How would you support that Jeopardy type games (Quizzes, etc.)

Leadership emerges from network culture

Harold Jarche

In a naturalistic redescription of the phenomenon, we might view it as an emergent, self-organising property of complex systems. One way to look at leadership in our complex work world is through the lens of improvisation.

Supporting our Brains

Clark Quinn

The limits on working memory (you may have heard of the famous 7±2, which really is <5) mean we can’t hold too much in our brains at once, such as interim results of complex calculations.

Extending engagements

Clark Quinn

Given that their product was complex, it became clear that ‘how to’ videos were a real opportunity. They were particularly excited about the concept of ‘spacing’ practice, and loved the spacing diagram originated by my colleague Will Thalheimer. In a couple of recent posts, I’ve been telling tales of helping organizations, and I wanted to tell at least one more.

Scaling: of gaps and things

Dave Snowden

question but working on Friday's seminar with Simon that afternoon various other thoughts came to mind and I started to sketch out the diagrams that appear below. This is really important in complexity work. Yesterday I promised to move on the How do you scale success?

Cognitive prostheses

Clark Quinn

Also, the format of working memory largely is ‘verbal’ Consequently, using tools like diagramming, outlines, or mindmaps add structure to our knowledge and support our ability to work on it. Another limitation to our working memory is that it doesn’t support complex calculations, with many intermediate steps. While our cognitive architecture has incredible capabilities (how else could we come up with advances such as Mystery Science Theater 3000?),

Innovation Thoughts

Clark Quinn

I used the Learning Organization Dimensions diagram (Garvin, Edmondson & Gino) to illustrate the components of successful innovation environment, and these were reflected in their comments. Organize for Complexity by Niels Pflaeging (though they heard this as a concept, not a title).

Create contrast, enable insight

Dave Snowden

That meant I ran through the complex domain of Cynefin making the point about the need to start a programme with safe-to-fail experiments and the need to understand the existing flow patterns of knowledge use in the organisation.

Context, is well contextual

Dave Snowden

It didn't matter if it was corporate reporting or supply chain management (the two areas in which I built software and service offerings) all the neat and tidy systems diagrams broke on the rocks of human response.