Dave Snowden

Systems thinking & complexity

Dave Snowden

So if a system has no causality you can’t set outcome targets a priori , but you can define a vector target (direction and speed of change from the present against intensity of effort).

The knotty issue of constraints

Dave Snowden

The typology of constraints I posted last Decembe r has survived the test of multiple presentations and discussions and has the advantage of combining the distinction between resilience and robustness which is critical to any understanding of strategy.

Trending Sources

Liminal & situated strategy

Dave Snowden

Through the process we are constantly presenting and representing material to our networks of employees and partners to validate the approach and prevent pattern entrainment that is an inevitable consequent of small group interaction – or the pre-formed patterns of the large consultancy firms.

Power of the facilitator

Dave Snowden

In our work on citizen engagement we are looking at the ability of a community to stage multiple, contextual micro-events that generate small nudge like changes in the present rather than the idealistic future orientated plans that tend to emerge from workshops.

False dichotomies, reality avoidance

Dave Snowden

In some presentations I have started to introduce the complex-complicated transition in human systems as a domain in its own right (and I may do that more, still playing with the representations).

Freedom through constraints

Dave Snowden

One of the reasons I wasn’t happy with them is that they implied a hierarchy either present or absent. 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.

SAFe: the infantilism of management

Dave Snowden

However I had not had a chance to hear an advocate present it before so I took it. But instead SAFe was front and centre, presented as the overall approach and solution. I gave the opening keynote at the Agile conference in Brno today.

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Managing the situated present

Dave Snowden

Key to it is the idea of managing the situated present. If the past is traumatic, as it has been in Colombia (where I am at the moment) then re-situating the past in the context of present needs is important.

… and nearer to the Dust

Dave Snowden

I’d argue that senior executives, and certainly politicians, have too little knowledge of the nature of statistics to exercise judgement in what to believe in respect of what is presented to them.

A return to constraints

Dave Snowden

Complexity is all about making changes in the present with a sense of direction but not with a specific goal, other than in very limited circumstances. So mapping the present is key in order to know what to change.

to illuminate a small field

Dave Snowden

But this is a poem about discovering joy in the present, not harking back or imagining forward. A key complexity message here, we are informed by the past but we act in the present.

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Intervening in a complex domain

Dave Snowden

Instead you have to make changes in the present and respond to emergent properties. 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.

Thoughts on doctrine & inclusion

Dave Snowden

I also get various requests for endorsement of presentations and uses of the framework. Over the years I have had various emails, social media links and other links to various versions of the Cynefin framework, use of my work without attribution and the like.

On stony ground?

Dave Snowden

As opportunities present themselves we will be able to rapidly deploy resource to nourish early signs of sprouting (to continue the metaphor) with small interventions.

In the salt marsh

Dave Snowden

That the state indicates an adjacent possible, a position in the present which is not dominant but is a better place than the main dispositions. I’m still working on the new use of coupling and boundary constraints for Cynefin so readers will have to wait a few days for that.

Understand backwards; live forwards

Dave Snowden

But our own narrative work in Latin American and elsewhere shows that stories of the past and present dominant outside of that cultural context. We make decisions by filtering partial data from the present through filters that evolve and emerge from past direct and indirect experiences.

Clusters in the tail

Dave Snowden

Something that t his YouTube presentation runs through (although the slides and message need some updating when I get a chance). A very satisfying first day in our Small Countries Big Ideas programme held overlooking the harbour here in Caernarfon.

Design thinking & complexity pt 1

Dave Snowden

I promised to address this yesterday following a presentation on Design Thinking at the conference here in Ohio. There was a little too much control for my mind and at the end of the day we were told that the experts would now go off line and present solutions to us in the morning.

The Stepford syndrome in KM

Dave Snowden

Either way I got the KM in Development conference late to come in on the tail end of a presentation of a social network analysis and a key word clustering exercise on the community. I was in a bad mood this morning.

Agency: privilege & complexity

Dave Snowden

The problem which I started to address yesterday is that a new way of thinking cannot be achieved by using the metaphysical assumptions of the present. The daily email from Gaping Void is saving me the effort of searching the internet for images before posting.

Social innovation labs, initial thoughts

Dave Snowden

Using MassSense to present (and represent) ideas to multiple people both in and without the lab itself to isolate dominant but more importantly minority views.

Fragmented, fractal and fertile

Dave Snowden

I argued in yesterday’s post that to resolve conflict we first of all had to change the filters through which people viewed the present. In order to do that we need to change the perception of the past, not create a future vision.

The “R” words

Dave Snowden

I do worry that a gifted thinker and writer like Taleb seems to have been seduced by the desire of many publishers for one simple concept presented as a panacea, but he resists the danger more than most other popular authors.

Liminal Cynefin

Dave Snowden

A concerned effort over the last year in presentations and teaching has resulted in a higher utilisation so it’s time to move on the develop the boundary zones.

OMG, its culture change time

Dave Snowden

So it follows that cultural change is an evolutionary process from the present, not an idealised future state design. This will map the present so one can see what can be changed easily and what will be more pragmatic.

Creating an architecture for change

Dave Snowden

Now I always get nervous when people rush up to to me after a presentation and say something along the lines of that was brilliant its what I have been saying for years.

Patterns & significance

Dave Snowden

In SenseMaker® if we present a colour coded dot map on a triangle, humans are more than capable of seeing patterns and using the micro-narratives to glean context. Presenting real time data to decision makers which show changes (including ones which may not be statistically significant yet ) over time is far more useful. A series of emails and skype calls today built up a head of frustration with some people's obsession with statistics and data.

Wilful blindness

Dave Snowden

Heffernan makes the general point well with examples from Lehman Brothers, Greenspan's blindness to unregulated derivatives and the medical profession continuing to X-Ray mothers long after the evidence was present of the harm to infants.

Lean or Agility?

Dave Snowden

That presentation includes Cynefin and S-curve material not used in the presentation. Link : Various videos of the Children's Party story, an overview of Cynefin and two presentations on innovation.

On navigating conflict

Dave Snowden

As a part of that I finally managed to summarise a flow of actions to move forward from the present without first achiving alignment. So you should start by focusing on agreeing a description of the present without analysis, without attributing cause. [link].

The necessity of partial constraint

Dave Snowden

In SNS constrains are provided through the rules for team formation and the intractable problems presented.

as he sowed, some fell by the wayside

Dave Snowden

How many times does a presenter (and I am not exception) provide a quote from Lincoln, Seneca or the like. Anthropologies use the archetypes present in traditional stories to understand the culture of the society from which they have emerged; and they do emerge over time they are not created.

A typology of Foresight

Dave Snowden

I enjoy the responsibility of summary type presentations. If you are not familiar then I posted the material as The mantra of resilience in March of this year and there is also a recorded presentation.

Types 70

Meaning and truth

Dave Snowden

While it can be useful its various advocates and practitioners need to be aware that there is a second and more common meaning of story-telling in English, it's the sense of you are telling me a story, you are lying, or weaving partial facts to present the story you want me to hear.

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Scaling: the perversion of order

Dave Snowden

Are they naturally present or do they need to be created. To my final post on scaling, at least for the moment as it's a big and developing subject.

Architecture not application: an opportunity

Dave Snowden

What we decided to do was to create an object based architecture in four tiers, so database, business, application objects plus a presentation layer.

News 63

… forever blunt and merciless

Dave Snowden

Whether I physically see data that is presented to me is one issue (and normally we scan out what we are not expecting to see), if I pay attention to it even if I see it is another process altogether and acting on what I see is a different level of magnitude all together. All you have done is teach people the language of power and it will come back to you in slide presentations and proposals.

The ineffable, the inexpiable & the inexpicable

Dave Snowden

The last month has had a few deja vu moments with the ACS speaking tour and three virtual presentations to KM conferences in Singapore, Brazil and North American.

What is thought to be is rarely real

Dave Snowden

Presented that contrast without evaluation an essential aspect of changing attitudes by enabling descriptive self-awareness. Now, in a workshop with some preparation we present the decision clusters with summarised information flows and start to link and connect decisions.

Dependency matrix

Dave Snowden

Yes they will have long term goals but maximum impact comes from solving intractable problems in the present. That is also the best way to manage a CAS anyway; dealing the evolutionary potential of the present.