Dave Snowden

Creating a knowledge strategy

Dave Snowden

Knowledge is best remembered/stimulated by creating a rich context of decisions. Knowledge Management Reflections I'm back at KM World in Washington having keynoted at the event for well over a decade now.

Systems thinking & complexity

Dave Snowden

There was a lot of value in setting objectives, designing things based on how things should be provided you had the sense to realise when you had reached a threshold of what I started to call manageable ambiguity.

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On Experts, expertise and power

Dave Snowden

If you look at the medical profession we have nurses who start with experience and acquire theoretical knowledge and doctors who start with theory and then acquire practice. In those cases an approach has evolved over time with some elements of design and management.

False dichotomies, reality avoidance

Dave Snowden

All the things that went wrong with Knowledge Management at the turn of the Century.

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.

Cognitive Edge announces training courses for 2016 – Working with Complex Problems

Dave Snowden

knowledge. Techniques and exercises are run through, with recommendations of how and where to apply them, examples of their use to knowledge management, transformational change, customer and employee engagement, risk management and much more.

Resonance in meaning

Dave Snowden

Many moons ago in the early days of knowledge management I argued that the ubiquitous DIKW pyramid was both flawed and dangerous. I was speaking before one idiot who was setting out his stall as the founding father if wisdom management.

Peer to peer knowledge flow

Dave Snowden

I promised yesterday to talk about peer-to-peer knowledge flow. Removing mediating layers of interpretation reduced the dangers of misunderstanding; the same applies to knowledge flow. Knowledge Management Reflections

The certification question

Dave Snowden

In parallel I’m finishing off material for the new Cynefin Centre Masters programme which may be called The Management Apprenticeship , although the Trump associations might trigger a switch to Journey(wo)man or similar! The vexed question of certification came up in conversation yesterday.

Wilful blindness

Dave Snowden

So I put together the basic stuff on knowledge management and tried to work with the consultancy group. One of the pleasures of returning home is to catch up on the various magazines I subscribe to.

Fast falls the even tide

Dave Snowden

Knowledge Management ReflectionsWhen we put CalmAlpha together back in January I was somewhat shamed by Joseph Pelrine talking about his use of ABIDE, something that I developed as a pairing for ASHEN the best part of a decade ago, but then left it to go into decline. Others, Viv Read for example, argued that it should be brought back into the mainstream but it wasn't until a month or so that I started to realise why I was blocked on it, and how to use it.

Lean or Agility?

Dave Snowden

Link : Original Cynefin model paper in the context of Knowledge Management. I gave a keynote address at LSSC11 this morning looking at the application of complexity theory to software design.

The ineffable, the inexpiable & the inexpicable

Dave Snowden

The initial vehicle for that was knowledge management which was in the early stage of its hype cycle and I suddenly found myself on the conference circuit, and enjoying it if I am honest with myself.

A memory of Peter Drucker

Dave Snowden

It has fond memories for me of the early Delphi group knowledge management conferences held in the Hotel Del. I'm back in San Diego again for a series of meetings and if things work out I am going to spending a lot more time here.

… forever blunt and merciless

Dave Snowden

Its not enough to manage the information system, you have to manage the ecology of knowledge flow within an organisation. Managing for exaption requires a degree of mess , something that the sick staggered will find it difficult to comprehend. Thirdly , knowledge management is all about communication and that doesn't just meant the top down focus that is all too common place, although it does permit it.

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

Dave Snowden

is dead, but that knowledge management as a strategic movement has served its time and is now irretrievably seen as a sub-function of IT.

Of experts and expertise

Dave Snowden

A long time ago when I first created the Cynefin framework in its five domain form my focus was on knowledge management. CoPs were then held to be the best way to host and develop expert knowledge, so calling it the domain of experts made sense.

What is thought to be is rarely real

Dave Snowden

As I described yesterday, my use of narrative started with the need to discover decisions and their nature as part of creating a bottom up approach to knowledge management strategy. I should say that this type if mapping is not just of value in knowledge management.

Dependency matrix

Dave Snowden

One of the key things in understanding and managing a complex adaptive system is getting the granularity right. Granularity is one of the key factors in scaling success and one of the easiest to manage. Probably the key priority measure for knowledge.

The tyranny of the explicit

Dave Snowden

In my youthful enthusiasm I assumed we would now fire the management as well as the engineers but that was also refused. We had the same nonsense in Knowledge Management.

He who works with his hands and his head is a craftsman

Dave Snowden

The picture is of a medieval baker and his apprentice, a choice that will have a poignancy for veterans of knowledge management, especially those of us who really don't by the electronic bread maker idea. That concept from Nonaka, like too much of KM ignores the social context of buying bread.

Description not evaluation

Dave Snowden

It happens like this when you develop or repurpose knowledge from different sources. It is the theory behind the cliche of if only we knew what we knew quoted by many a knowledge manager.

Five years of editing Wikipedia

Dave Snowden

At 1401 on the 12th August back in 2006 I made my first edit to the Wikipedia, all to the knowledge management article. You can't resolve content issues by adjudicating content, behavior can be managed.

Cutting through a weave destroys it

Dave Snowden

It's a good Curry do with conversation (on our table at least) based on some knowledge of the sport. The trouble is that would not allow large teams of recently graduated MBA's to reuse recipes and documents from over codified knowledge management systems.

The aging workforce (part 4)

Dave Snowden

Last time (and too long ago) I talked about some general principles, many of them society based, which presented possible solutions to issues of knowledge retention. Co-evolution of knowledge is an essential feature of an apprenticeship model.

The prepared mind

Dave Snowden

Knowledge management systems have to be fragmented and experiential as anything more structured cannot handle the levels of uncertainty inherent in the future. One of the key points I have been making in the new seminar (and a few keynotes) over the last week is that resilience requires not just a prepared mind, but also a prepared organisation. That means building network connectivity and cross silo deployment capability before it is needed not during the event.

Of sandbanks and granite cliffs

Dave Snowden

For the moment I need to complete my summary of this bottom up too down emergent approach to creating a knowledge strategy. Instead this is a continuous process of mapping and strategy developed based on feedback loops and dynamic, but managed change processes.

‘Essential’ flows

Dave Snowden

One of the most irritating questions you can get at a knowledge management conference is some variant of How do I create a culture of knowledge sharing? which is a disguised form of How do I get people to use this wonderful system/process I have designed for them to share knowledge. The reality is that people naturally share knowledge where they can see a real need; meaning through contextual action. 9: Against essentialism, defining potential through action.

New book chapters

Dave Snowden

Here is the list for those interested here they are: " Naturalizing Sensemaking " in Informed by Knowledge by Mosier & Fischer. Knowledge Theory Perspectives on Place Branding " in the International Place Branding Yearbook edited by Go and Govers.

Create contrast, enable insight

Dave Snowden

I started my keynote (available as a podcast) by referencing my surprise that this was the eleventh year at which I have given a keynote at the event and that in that time I had seen three cycles of knowledge management adoption with the same mistakes being made each time.

Max Boisot 1943-2011

Dave Snowden

Over a decade ago I read Knowledge Assets which, to my mind was the first intelligent book on knowledge management I had encountered. He had an incredible ability to synthesis different fields of knowledge in a coherent way, but without intellectual compromise. They would have got on, although they never met, she had the same intellectual curiosity and broad ranging knowledge.

Fear is the mind-killer

Dave Snowden

I hasten to add that I am not recommending that knowledge managers become deeply manipulative courtesans (although come to think of it that might have something going for it). A good metaphor for knowledge management, or am I getting carried away?

Meaning & the content heresy

Dave Snowden

Nothing to be honest you can't do in Facebook, but there are approaches that take this approach and it has utility for storage, but not really for research and only partially for knowledge management. Instead of asking Does your manager consult you on a regular basis?

A grain of sand: Innovation diffusion

Dave Snowden

The problem is case based recipe approaches dominate management consultancy thinking to little effect. Link : Original Cynefin model paper in the context of Knowledge Management.

Mind your P’s and W’s

Dave Snowden

The negative exchange had started with my earlier criticism of SAFe as the infantilism of management. Their sins are those of omission, in that they do have knowledge of theory but don't want to engage until there is a stable body of cases. I KEEP six honest serving-men.

Storytelling & narrative

Dave Snowden

The three main extremes are: Communication , the traditional meaning of story-telling and way back when we were getting started on this stuff in the Institution for Knowledge Management in IBM a lot of people were interested in the wider story-telling movement. The big issues such as observer independence, engagement and bias remain unresolved with different takes on how to manage that. A lot of people these days combine communication with knowledge capture.

Typology or Taxonomy?

Dave Snowden

The Academy of Management award for my HBR cover article with Mary Boone says among other things that the paper introduces complexity science (please note the use of "science" which will be important later) and further that it applies this perspective to advance a typology of contexts to help leaders to sort out the wide variety of situations in which they must lead decisions.

Context, is well contextual

Dave Snowden

It's been the best part of twenty years now since I moved out of operational and strategic management roles and was granted the freedom to play with ideas following IBM's take over of DataSciences.

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. He argued that as words come into currency, as knowledge did in the 1990, the word becomes problematic and its meaning shifts over time based on use and practice.

Cynefin papers: a summary

Dave Snowden

Complex Acts of Knowing shows the development of Cynefin from knowledge management and uses axis labels of Cynefin linked to types of community balanced against types of knowledge. I recently provided a brief summary of the various book chapters that contain my writing.