About us

Cognitive Edge was founded in 2005 with the objective of building methods, tools and capability to utilise insights from Complex Adaptive Systems theory and other scientific disciplines in social systems. This approach, known variously as Naturalising Sensemaking and Cognitive Complexity has developed three main focus areas:

The development of SenseMaker®

The development of SenseMaker® a software ecology which integrates decision support, research, monitoring and knowledge management.  Described as the first example of distributed ethnography by a leading anthropologist in the British Government, the software represents a radically new approach to narrative research.  Future developments include the creation of human sensor networks to generate new approaches to evidence strategy and a range of foresight tools.  The first App version of the software was launched in 2012.

Comprehensive global education programme

A comprehensive global education programme has created a broad network of practitioners able to use the methods and tools developed by Cognitive Edge.  Approximately 2,700+ Network Members now exist both within organisations and as independents.  This distributed network is able to deliver high value solutions to clients both as direct assignments, and to supplement existing in house skills.  Cognitive Edge also employs consultants to support the network and SenseMaker® projects.  Those consultants are based in North America, Singapore and the UK.

The research agenda

The research agenda of Cognitive Edge remains at the heart of its methods and tools programme.  Cognitive Edge actively participates in a range of academic and government think tanks as well as taking some of the latest insights from natural science and applying them in real world situations.  This work was acknowledged by the Academy of Management with two awards for the Cynefin framework, which is at the heart of the approach, and has been extensively cited in papers, and used in both Government and Industry.

Cognitive Edge is at the leading edge of developing approaches that allow organisations to absorb uncertainty, create resilience and detect weak signals which more conventional approaches would ignore. Cognitive Edge is driving the development of an ecological metaphor to underpin management theory to compliment the engineering approach which has dominated thinking for several decades.

Dave Snowden

Founder and Chief Scientific Officer

Founder and chief scientific officer of Cognitive Edge. His work is international in nature and covers government and industry looking at complex issues relating to strategy, organisational decision making and decision making. He has pioneered a science based approach to organisations drawing on anthropology, neuroscience and complex adaptive systems theory. He is a popular and passionate keynote speaker on a range of subjects, and is well known for his pragmatic cynicism and iconoclastic style.

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Network Membership

You probably have many traditional approaches to meeting challenges, but what do you do to cope with a sudden shift in your organisation or marketplace? What do you do when traditional approaches break down and don’t work, or worse, you end up with an even bigger problem?

Whether you’re an independent or in-house consultant, academic or interested individual, Cognitive Edge’s methods and software provide you with a truly trans-disciplinary approach to tackling intractable problems in a VUCA (volatile, unstable, complex, ambiguous) world.

Our Cognitive Edge Network now numbers in excess of 6,000 members in more than 41 countries – register now to access proven tools and techniques from hundreds of consulting projects worldwide over the last 13 years, and interact with a diverse professional network unlike any other.

Here’s what some of our members have to say:

‘As I provide my clients a new perspective on their world, Dave Snowden and Cognitive Edge provided me the opportunity to view my own professional capabilities from another perspective.’ – Arno Korpershoek

‘The lens through which I help communities, organizations and individuals has been forever changed by my new appreciation for complex adaptive systems, the Cynefin Framework and my participation in the Network.’ – Terry Miller

‘I started using Cognitive Edge Methods in 1998. Since the Network formed several years ago I’ve grown to really appreciate my membership and value the interaction very highly.’ – Ron Donaldson

‘Cognitive Edge methods have enriched me both intellectually and professionally and because of this I remain an active member of the Cognitive Edge Network.’ – Jochum Stienstra