Dave Snowden

Pragmatism requires knowledge

Dave Snowden

We are dumbing down knowledge to information and elevating it works for me so I will do it again to a a status that is inauthentic at best, dangerous at worst. I’m half thinking of using the daily Gaping Void download to stimulate my posts this month.

… 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. Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?

Trending Sources

Resonance in meaning

Dave Snowden

Satire aside, and despite my love of Eliot’s Choruses from the Rock , I started to talk about shared knowledge allowing data to be informative. For the non accountant a set of financial reports is simple data, but for another accountant with a shared knowledge base it is information.

to illuminate a small field

Dave Snowden

A key complexity message here, we are informed by the past but we act in the present. Anyone who has ever been walking in the hills will have had the experience of a sudden shaft of light illumining a previously unnoticed aspect of the landscape.

Price 54

On Experts, expertise and power

Dave Snowden

This is a body of knowledge and we should not allow the term to be corrupted into an information system as it has been in project management and the absurdities of knowledge management accreditation schemes. Remember Nurse Ratched in One Flew over the Cookoo’s Nest ?

OMG, its culture change time

Dave Snowden

If you constrain that which cannot naturally be constrained then an informal culture of avoidance and work arounds will grow very very quickly, and invisibly. If in doubt, blame the culture seems to be a golden rule in consultancy and management alike.

Patterns & significance

Dave Snowden

So let me put forward some simple statements, just short of a round dozen: The purpose of statistics is to inform human decision making. Decision making is about a sufficiency of information and a coherence of hypothesis to determine a way (or ways) forward; we do not and cannot require certainty. A series of emails and skype calls today built up a head of frustration with some people's obsession with statistics and data.

On the dangers of transparency

Dave Snowden

However as the process management movement gained momentum and computer based information processing more pervasive my actually authority and in consequence my freedom to experiment and make mistakes was limited.

Cost 51

Scaling: of gaps and things

Dave Snowden

Those three elements form a triad as shown below and the sides of the triad give us three common moves, or dynamics that inform and define organisational identity and practice. Yesterday I promised to move on the How do you scale success?

Humans are messy

Dave Snowden

Proximity, informal flow and the like are far more influential on individuals that some implied inner qualities.

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.

A typology of Foresight

Dave Snowden

While the leader is informed by the processes to the left of the model (and therefore communication is key and we had a lot of good stuff on visualisation), on the right the leader has to be intimately involved in the data itself. I enjoy the responsibility of summary type presentations.

Types 70

… forever blunt and merciless

Dave Snowden

That has historically been regarded as getting the right information at the right time to the right people who also have the right training. Its not enough to manage the information system, you have to manage the ecology of knowledge flow within an organisation. Yes, when the informal system makes the bureaucracy work despite itself you get considerable innovation. There was a speaker panel at KM World with myself, Verna Allie & Bob Buckman, chaired by Patrick Lambe.

What is thought to be is rarely real

Dave Snowden

For each decision they are are encouraged to comment on the decision but in particular are asked to identify information sources used in making the decision, the manner of its communication and the resources or more precisely artefacts used to support the decision.

The ineffable, the inexpiable & the inexpicable

Dave Snowden

That eventually failed, not because it was wrong, but because is was only right within boundaries and did't properly manage the informal, trust networks that are key to knowledge flow in an organisation.

The resilient organisation: introduction

Dave Snowden

So in this series of posts I will look at how we do this under the headings of my three principles of complexity based management namely: The use of finely grained objects (this will be two posts, one on organisation objects, the other on information & narrative).

this terrible pain in all the diodes down my left side.

Dave Snowden

Think of the radical change that Twitter and to a lesser extent Facebook have wrought not just for passing around information but on the whole question of human identity.

The mantra of resilience

Dave Snowden

It is a world of praxis , theory informed practice in which we need to engage our workforce, our customers and people in the decision making process. We've been involved in an interesting project on social resilience and I have been working tonight on the presentation for tomorrow. Aside from the analysis, I needed to get some of the theoretical stuff around null-hypothesis/abductive research together in an easy to explain format for economists and others of that ilk.

Five years of editing Wikipedia

Dave Snowden

Argumetns took place within formal and informal rule structures with larger numbers of people from very different backgrounds. At 1401 on the 12th August back in 2006 I made my first edit to the Wikipedia, all to the knowledge management article.

Causality: It works for puzzles not for mysteries

Dave Snowden

DC via non-adaptive information control where higher level entities influence lower level to attain pre-determined goals such as a thermostat. DC via adaptive information control which is a combination of 2&3 and covers pavlovian conditioning and Bee responses.

The hound calls

Dave Snowden

In Alan Gardner’s The Moon of Gomrath , Almanac, the last of the Children of Danu is called by the Hound of his ancestors as the final resolution of the battle with the Morrigan approaches.

The aging workforce (part 4)

Dave Snowden

Time in role was essential, learning was not just a question of absorbing information, but also of training muscles and acquiring multiple experiences of both failure and success.

language is the master of (wo)man

Dave Snowden

"Man acts as though he were the shaper and master of language, while in fact language remains the master of man". Martin Heidegger. So what's the difference between talking about Linear Based Print Media and Retrospective Coherence ?

of Charlemagne and slime moulds

Dave Snowden

One of the key messages from the BBC series was the way in which the evolution of the Holy Roman Empire informs much of what counts as being Germanic over the centuries and into the modern day. A couple of things came together to stimulate writing this post.

Reflecting on the future

Dave Snowden

The idea there was that you elected someone you trusted to the electoral college and then they made an informed decision between the candidates. Foresight week over and I am flying back to the UK today.

Design the process, not the outcome

Dave Snowden

Merging informal networks post merger or re-organisation. Coevolution in biology occurs when two parties exert selective evolutionary pressures on each other as a result of which they are changed. Once that change happens, it cannot be reversed and there are many examples in nature.

Babies should not be thrown out with bathwater

Dave Snowden

We've also discovered that mapping information flows between decisions based on narrative audits (I really need to blog about this) then contrasting that naturalistic this is how it is result with idealised process maps can be very powerful.

New book chapters

Dave Snowden

Here is the list for those interested here they are: " Naturalizing Sensemaking " in Informed by Knowledge by Mosier & Fischer. There used to be a joke about waiting hours for the No 9 bus to come along, and then three arrive at the same time.

News 39

Complexity and Public Administration

Dave Snowden

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.

A grain of sand: Innovation diffusion

Dave Snowden

Need to get the granularity right, both for information and for organisational structures. Today I was privileged to be invited as to present along with four others at an Innovation Diffusion workshop for UCL in connection with the NHS.

Reading styles

Dave Snowden

I just got stuck on that supremely insulting graph in the first pages of Knowledge Assets where he said hunter-gatherers use little information. I've been involved in an interesting exchange with Cynthia Kurtz on her blog which is worth reading in full.

Buy 34

Storytelling & narrative

Dave Snowden

A lot of teaching stories focus here along with the bulk of story telling consultants, who vary from the interesting and informed to the charlatan purveyors of snake oil! I'm finishing off my entry for the Sage Encyclopaedia of Action Research on organisational storytelling. It has been interesting to summarise a broad field into a low word count without references (although there is a reading list).

Sense-making in a hostage situation

Dave Snowden

As I developed a better understanding of the situation at hand, I began to analyze the information I had to determine the course of action needed. I've been meaning to share this story for a bit. For some years now the Cynefin framework has been taught at the Naval Post Graduate School in Monterrey and they also produced a wonderful alternative version of the children's party story. They recently sent me a story by Captain Richard Alexander of the Tulsa Police Department.

Thinking simply, in context

Dave Snowden

If you want the essence then it falls into three groups of three types of theory informed action: In its essence: In any situation, what can we change?

Humans are not ants, agents or angels

Dave Snowden

We'd got together for a meal the night before (less Max, plus Renata) and roughly sketched out what we were going to cover in between multiple enjoyable arguments health care, research methods, the validity of information theory and the like.

Language is the master of man

Dave Snowden

I spend a lot of time trying to explain to knowledge management people that the term cannot be rescued from its status as a subset of IT and/or a focus on codification and information. There is an interesting phenomena at the moment in that various people are trying to define themselves either by, or against Cynefin. Its and indication (citations are another) of the growing use of Cynefin within both academic and practitioner fields.

Context, is well contextual

Dave Snowden

The fact that information could now move quickly, if not then in real time, to allow executives to manage international organisations produced fascinating changes in behaviour and expectation.

Design thinking & complexity pt 2

Dave Snowden

A complexity informed theory of design on the other hand wants to prevent the premature convergence on a defined problem that the linear model of Research-Ideate-Prototype implies. In a very important sense, then, from the perspective of material engagement, cognition has no location. The active mind cannot be contained. Cognition is not a "within" property; it is a "between" property. Malafouris How Things Shape the Mind MIT Press 2013 p85.

The evolution of culture

Dave Snowden

Now there is nothing new in the idea that the informal culture of an organisation is important. One of the tasks I have to complete over the next day or so is supporting material for a range of Cognitive Edge employee engagement tools and offerings.

Roots determine routes?

Dave Snowden

More details via the diabetes category on this blog but the point is that I took an informed multi-disciplinary approach. 10: Trying to get to a single causal line of reasoning. The picture is from Avebury just around the corner from where I live.