December 3, 2020
Selling novelty
May years ago now I left a job as Development Accountant at one of the Hunting Group Companies to enter […]
December 2, 2020
Spinning the Cynefin discs
Today’s post is a development of yesterday’s and I plan to look at the various overlapping aspects of a situation […]
December 1, 2020
Triple point & the knobbly bits
Now I want to make it very clear up front that I know this doesn’t work as drawn, it’s an […]
November 30, 2020
Stalin or Lincoln?
This post continues an earlier series on the theme of Leadership and is the third post in that series.  Links […]
November 29, 2020
a fractious twelve months
On this day last year I was in Reading trying to give a masterclass without the ability to write or […]
November 28, 2020
Of congruence and coherence
My old headmaster, of fond memory, was too find of appealing for harmony at school assemblies.  I think he wanted […]
November 27, 2020
Homo Narrans: archetypes
Two days ago (apologies for skipping a day) I said that I would pick up on the role of archetypes […]
November 25, 2020
Homo Narrans: of infinite-resource- and-sagacity,
As I promised yesterday I want to pick up on the use of narrative in lessons learned, or more properly […]
November 24, 2020
Homo Narrans: preface
The  Just So Stories by Rudyard Kipling were a key part of my formative years and I still refer to […]
November 21, 2020
Diversity & coherence
Problems of diversity, inclusion and associated conflict pervade modern society.  To be honest they always did but we are more […]
November 20, 2020
Flexuous focus (2)
In my earlier post on focus I identified the need to shift from the alpha to the omega points in […]
November 19, 2020
My bit in the Flow Book
I’m interrupting the flow of my posts about an anthro-complexity approach to strategy to reference a new book published today […]
November 18, 2020
Flexuous focus (1)
This post (which will be several parts) is an extension of my posts on contextual strategy that started with a […]
November 17, 2020
Its not about winning
 l was thinking about Max earlier on today.  I had planned to post an update on my uncertainty matrix, now […]
November 16, 2020
Flexuous landscapes
This is the third, and final for the moment, post looking at the Apex/Flexuous/Ystwyth curve(s) and it is more of […]
November 15, 2020
The Ystwyth-curve continued
Yesterday’s post took around 18 hours of elapsed time interspersed by a dashed visit to the shops and two hours […]
November 14, 2020
Flexuosity untangled
I’ve always been fond of wolves, something that is probably due to a childhood spent with Kipling’s Jungle Book and […]
November 13, 2020
Transcend II: Learning and ritual
I’ve never really been a player of games.  I dabbled in chess when young and the family rituals on wet […]
November 12, 2020
Transcend I: cadence and control
This is the first of two posts that deal with existing from a crisis, the final stage of Assess – […]
November 11, 2020
Naming things
Naming things is always fascinating and learning the origins of names an education of itself.  Walking in the hills the […]
November 10, 2020
“… intire of it selfe”
A health warning – this is an exploratory post starting to develop an anthro-complexity theory of organisational change.  As such I am working […]
November 9, 2020
Lustful appetites
The title of this post is used collectively to refer to gluttony, fornication, and avarice in one of the sources […]
November 8, 2020
The need for order
When I was at school, way back in the days of the white-hot heat of technological optimism, the local printers […]
November 7, 2020
Keeping the faith?
Just as a warning, this is a rather rambling post.  The overall theme is about constraints and is another theme […]
November 6, 2020
Cynefin21 and the book
The first of what will be several piles of Cynefin books arrived today, my priority is to autograph copies for […]
September 16, 2020
Owain Glyndŵr Day
Most readers will not be aware that today is Owain Glyndŵr Day, celebrating the day in 1400 when he was named […]
September 14, 2020
Leadership: distributed communities
There is a long preamble here all of which I think is relevant, but then I like a discursive approach […]
September 11, 2020
Anthro-complexity & aesthetics
Just before Christmas 2015 I posted on the subject of What’s in a name?  That was the first time I […]
September 10, 2020
The Triopticon revisited
Back in October 2017, I published a blog post on what I was then calling the Ticotocon.  The context of […]
September 9, 2020
Musings on Pelagianism, rules & agility
If I am honest about things I am probably guilty of Pelagianism in some form.  For those not on top […]
September 8, 2020
Needles in Haystacks
The banner shot here was taken by me last Sunday in the late afternoon of what was a delightful hike; […]
September 5, 2020
freely ye have received, freely give
The tenth chapter of St Matthew’s gospel has two of the best-known quotes from the bible: the advise that if […]
September 4, 2020
Necessary ambiguity
One of my best memories from the year I turned my back on Diabetes is the walk I did after […]
September 3, 2020
Self-destructive tendencies
One of the most painful ever scenes for anyone of a progressive mindset is the People’s front of Judea from […]
September 2, 2020
Mostly harmless
I was asked this evening, via LinkedIn to comment on the Baldridge Performance Excellence Program and I replied with the […]
September 1, 2020
Leadership: What is the locus of change?
This is the first in what will be an occasional series of posts in which I want to examine, in […]
August 29, 2020
Rules of engagement
I got a little angry in a Slack group a day or so ago at an attempt to manipulate what […]
August 28, 2020
dum vivimus, vivamus
I’ve been occupied by and with COVID now for more months that I care to think about and the blog […]
May 6, 2020
COVID-19 The Future of Society
This key post in our COVID series has been written by our long term partner and friend Wendy Schultz a […]
April 20, 2020
COVID-19 & Leadership
This blog post is written by Dave Snowden (the Cynefin Centre) and Millie Begovic (UNDP) to launch a critical experiment […]
April 20, 2020
COVID-19 & Leadership
This blog post is written by Dave Snowden (the Cynefin Centre) and Millie Begovic (UNDP) to launch a critical experiment […]
April 18, 2020
Narrative as abductive acts of knowing
This is the second post of several that I am publishing this month to update some of my original work […]
April 17, 2020
Lle i enaid gael llonydd
Some time ago while watching one of Iolo Williams reflections on the Welsh Landscape I noted his use of the […]
April 13, 2020
Its getting personal …
Last year was a difficult by any standards as I have previously recounted.  I entered 2020 on a pathway to […]
April 12, 2020
Big, thick and rich (the data)
Plans for a series of key blog posts after my March update series on Cynefin have been disrupted by COVID-19 […]
March 27, 2020
Cynefin St David’s Day (5 of 5)
I don’t know if I displaying a keen anticipatory capability in focusing on Disorder, the all too often ignored fifth […]
March 16, 2020
Cynefin St David’s Day (4 of 5)
In this penultimate post in the current series, I want to look at what you can manage in the complex […]
March 10, 2020
Cynefin St David’s Day (3 of 5)
In my prior post in this series, I said I wanted to explore the idea of aporia in more depth but […]
March 3, 2020
Cynefin St David’s Day 2020 (2 of 5)
In my first post in this series, I talked about the renaming of the disorder domain into A/C (for short) […]
March 1, 2020
Cynefin St David’s Day 2020 (1 of 5)
On St David’s Day last year, I started a five-part series of posts to update the Cynefin Framework, all illustrated […]
February 27, 2020
Going on a journey
With the odd exception, I always enjoy a long train journey.  In the past month, I’ve done trips from Berlin […]
February 23, 2020
Wherefore, part the second
In the first of these articles, I looked at Borton’s W³ question from the 1970s and more recent adaptations (with […]
February 16, 2020
Wherefore, part the first
We tend to read ‘wherefore’ as a question asking where something is, but the meaning is actually for what, or […]
January 5, 2020
Twelvetide 19:12 Hay-on-Wye
I spent a lot of time thinking about the last post in this series and there were a few candidates. […]
January 4, 2020
Twelvetide 19:11 Annapurna Sanctury
In this penultimate blog in the series, I’ve picked something to represent my journey back to health relayed in a […]
January 3, 2020
Twelvetide 19:10 The MIT Bookstore
The first nine posts in this series have been largely personal although I started to explore some of the formative […]
January 2, 2020
Twelvetide 19:09 The Arms Park
There was little doubt that the Arm’s Park would be on this list.  The shrine of Welsh Rugby over the […]
January 1, 2020
Twelvetide 19:08 Treleddyn
This time last year I was en route from a holiday cottage to the small village of Croesor to do […]
December 31, 2019
Twelvetide 19:07 The Opera House
Opera has been a part of my life from an early age and I was torn between the Empire Theatre […]
December 30, 2019
Twelvetide 19:06 Goredale Scar & Gynefin
By coincidence today is Gynefin day (we think Beth Smith coined that name) an annual ritual in which UK based […]
December 29, 2019
Twelvetide 19:05 Wick Court
This is the second and last post with a religious theme to it.  Both cover the period during and after University […]
December 28, 2019
Twelvetide 19:04 the Chaplaincy Centre
In 1972 I went up to University to read Philosophy and Physics.  it was a bit an indulgence at the […]
December 27, 2019
Twelvetide 19:03 and so to the land of the eagles
While my the first hill was Moel Fammau, my first mountain was Yr Wyddfa, the name being a reference to a […]
December 26, 2019
Twelvetide 19:02 A place of pilgrimage
I have vague memories of early holidays.  I know, because I have been told, that the first was in Tenby. […]
December 25, 2019
Twelvetide 19:01 It all starts with sausages
I finally decided on the theme for my traditional (well I’ve done it more than once) Twelve Days of Christmas […]
December 24, 2019
releasing the Evil Spirits
I can’t say that 2019 has been the best of years.  It started well with a sentimental weekend in Pembrokeshire […]
October 22, 2019
mycorrhiza: abstraction & codification
In 2002 I published Complex Acts of Knowing, the first major article to include Cynefin in its near current form; if […]
October 15, 2019
mycorrhiza: Introduction
A mycorrhiza is a symbiosis between a fungus and a green plant. The plant captures and transmits the energy of […]
October 14, 2019
Breaking the forest cycle
I’ve been meaning to write about the “forest cycle” or the supposed necessity of chaos for some time.  Yesterday’s post […]
October 13, 2019
Separated by a common language?
From time to time in social media I resist the temptation to respond when people talk about the Stacy Matrix; […]
September 11, 2019
… from little acorns grow
Last week I was in Nairobi as the keynote at a panel discussion on Behavioural Insights for Environment Impact for  UNEP sandwiched […]
September 1, 2019
Mayr’s lemma
I’ve just started reading Mark Fedyk’s 2017 book The Social Turn in Moral Psychology which I picked up on an […]
August 31, 2019
Musings on Blake
One of the few good news items yesterday (don’t ask but it involves more tests) was my discovery that we […]
August 30, 2019
Bias or heuristic?
One of the points made in our recent retreat on decision making is that the phrase cognitive bias could be misleading. […]
August 29, 2019
Adding aesthetics to culture
Many years ago now I worked with anthropologist Beth Meriam to design an approach to cultural mapping using SenseMaker®.  The […]
August 28, 2019
“… save his own fame and gratification.”
A reminder that his blog is my personal opinion and is not an official statement from Cognitive Edge, its staff, […]
August 27, 2019
My/Our research …
I’ve long pointed out, to many over enthusiastic proponents of ‘story telling’; that the phrase has a double meaning in […]
August 26, 2019
Coherent heterogeneity (2 of 2)
In yesterday’s post I said:  as you increase variety within the system to the point where it becomes heterogeneous, it […]
August 25, 2019
Coherent heterogeneity (1 of 2)
One of my discoveries this year was Dora’s Dairy just outside Swindon.  It sells raw milk without the destruction of […]
August 24, 2019
Cynefin & perception
Various social media feeds link me daily to discussions about the use of the Cynefin Framework.  Sometimes I take part, […]
August 23, 2019
Organic Agility: powered by SenseMaker®
There being no rest for the wicked I hoped on the sea bus from our Airb&b in North Vancouver to […]
August 22, 2019
A year later … (3 of 3)
So its over, and in terms of process and engagement one of the best retreats we’ve had.  Banner picture shows […]
August 21, 2019
A year later … (2 of 3)
So its now Wednesday and we’ve had a whole day of synthesis here at the Cynefin retreat in Whistler, focused […]
August 20, 2019
A year later … (1 of 3)
So its Tuesday, second day of this years retreat at the Brew Creek Centre near Whistler in Canada.  We’ve just […]
August 19, 2019
Complexity in Human Systems
Many of the readers of this blog will know that one of the drivers behind the creation of the Cynefin […]
August 18, 2019
Thinking about design ‘thinking’
I’ve been thinking about the whole approach we are adopting to  design thinking  as the Whistler retreat approaches.   We […]
August 17, 2019
Turning truth into myths
My original intent for today was the write a post about a new event for all those interested in the […]
August 16, 2019
Mapping, sensing and hacking
On an impulse the other day I set up a book club for Cynefin Centre staff.  The idea was to […]
August 15, 2019
Linkages matter
Working in complexity you soon get a sense of which ideas and concepts are causing (sic) people problems.  One is […]
August 14, 2019
Avoiding paralysis in major change
Over the last three weeks I’ve been engaged in a diverse set of projects.  Firstly the Singapore foresight and horizon […]
August 13, 2019
Swarm ‘intelligence’ 2 of 2
Yesterday I talked about wikipedia as a technology mediated form of collective intelligence.  Today I want to broaden the subject […]
August 12, 2019
Swarm ‘intelligence’ 1 of 2
Today is the 13th anniversary of my starting to edit Wikipedia.  I’m now up to 34,937 edits at an average […]
June 26, 2019
Housing 2019
This is a holding post 🙂 I will summarise the talk with links and details of the possible collaborative project […]
May 19, 2019
Martin Burns RIP
On the 11th of March this year I sat down for a meal at the Bridge Inn in Ratho (top […]
April 27, 2019
Monocarpic banality
I’m starting to think that it is only a matter of time before I graduate from being merely  curmudgeonly  and […]
April 20, 2019
Cynefin St David’s Day 2019 (5 of 5)
In my final post in this update series on Cynefin and I’m reserving the right to change things when I […]
April 19, 2019
Liminal Cynefin & ‘control’
I was searching for my original known-unknown-unknowable matrix for today’s post and, as you do, came across a variation of […]
April 18, 2019
Cynefin St David’s Day 2019 (4 of 5)
The introduction of liminality to Cynefin necessitated a slight rethinking of the main dynamics within Cynefin.  To be clear multiple […]
April 17, 2019
Cynefin St David’s Day 2019 (3 of 5)
The introduction of the liminal version of Cynefin was probably the most significant change in recent years.  One of the […]
April 16, 2019
Cynefin St David’s Day 2019 (2 of 5)
It’s taken longer than I hoped but I now have the time to complete my series of five update posts […]
March 5, 2019
Cynefin St David’s Day 2019 (1 of 5)
An email came in yesterday from our new CEO Marion asking if I could explain why I had changed simple […]
March 2, 2019
Patience is virtue of necessity
Around five years ago I spent a difficult and unplanned night in Toronto airport. I didn’t enjoy it but in […]
February 28, 2019
Being labeled as ill …
One of the concerns I raised in yesterday’s post was the danger of assuming the need of a therapeutic approach […]
February 27, 2019
Becoming well?
I returned from two fruitful days in South Africa working on what we have temporarily named the new cognitive edge […]
February 11, 2019
Narrative: paying the piper
One of my motivations in devising the Tricotocon approach to trans-disciplinary learning, which we will use in the coming narrative […]
February 10, 2019
Narrative: exploring the world
The first time I saw the Aran Islands was back in the 70s from the Cliffs of Mohr. I was […]
February 9, 2019
Narrative: picking up the scallop shell
Narrative has been an ever-present aspect my work over many decades now. I was lucky in that I initially entered […]
January 5, 2019
Twelvetide 18:12 lle i enaid cael llonydd
Writing this series has been an interesting process – a few of the posts were planned but in the main […]
January 4, 2019
Twelvetide 18:11 the numinous
I first came across the idea of the numinous when I picked up a second hand copy of Rudolf Otto’s […]
January 3, 2019
Twelvetide 18:10 integrity
In my opening post I mentioned integrity as one of the key words I wanted to address and in this […]
January 2, 2019
Twelvetide 18:09 habits & the soul
One of those quotes from the bible that most people are, at least in the western tradition, aware of comes […]
January 1, 2019
Twelvetide 18:08 meaning making
Some years ago I was at an Academy of Management meeting in Washington DC to receive an award for original […]
December 31, 2018
Twelvetide 18:07 loyalty and trust
I’ve managed to pass the half way point in this series and I’m feeling confident about completion. But I’m heading […]
December 30, 2018
Twelvetide 18:06 free will
It’s very difficult to talk about ethics without at least mentioning the question of free will, and (I would contend) […]
December 29, 2018
Twelvetide 18:05 metaphor
Yesterday’s post looked at a case in which narrative techniques were used to present individual leaders with multiple challenging perspectives; […]
December 28, 2018
Twelvetide 18:04 empathy through perspective
As you may have gathered over the first few posts in this series I’m not seeking to solve the meta […]
December 27, 2018
Twelvetide 18:03 between obligations
I’m not sure when, or why, my life long dislike of Utilitarianism started but I still remember discovering the elegant […]
December 26, 2018
Twelvetide 18:02 immersion in value
Art has many roles in human evolution but one of the most important is to teach values and trigger people […]
December 25, 2018
Twelvetide 18:01 introducing axiology
In recent years I’ve managed to attempt, and mostly complete, a series of Christmas posts on a range of subjects. […]
December 24, 2018
Culture 7 of 7: Completion
When I started this series I said I was going to follow the metaphor of creating a painting with a […]
December 23, 2018
Culture 6 of 7: Adjustments
In any art work the final adjustments mean that we are nearing completion, in cultural change I want to argue, […]
December 22, 2018
Culture 5 of 7: Colouring in
The big issues are now behind us in this series and the final three posts (with the promised twist on […]
December 21, 2018
Culture 4 of 7: Light and Dark
Chiaroscuro is an art term, Italian in origin which refers to light and dark. It originated in an artistic technique […]
December 20, 2018
Culture 3 of 7: Identify the big shapes
While having specific goals is not possible in a complex system, and any cultural change is complex, it doesn’t mean […]
December 19, 2018
Culture 2 of 7: the canvass
I’m using the metaphor of a painting to provide structure to this series and all paintings have to start somewhere. […]
November 26, 2018
Culture 1 of 7: the subject
The Oxford English Dictionary defines culture as “The arts and other manifestations of human intellectual achievement regarded collectively” and “The […]
November 25, 2018
Mapping ….
Back in March 2018, I posted on the differences between models, frameworks, methods, manifestos and creeds; the first in a […]
November 24, 2018
Onwards and upwards
It’s been a long year and probably the sparsest period of writing for me in the last twenty years. It’s […]
September 27, 2018
Design, value & constraint
The pictures here are from the first ever Cynefin Retreat in Snowdonia last year; our fourth retreat, the third of […]
September 25, 2018
Narratives of & by the Leader
I left the question of the role of the leader in story telling open in yesterday’s post. My contention remains […]
September 24, 2018
Context in narrative work
One quote from my contribution to the ‘StoryTheFuture’ event was picked up in social media. I’m not sure it really […]
September 23, 2018
The liminal nature of narrative
I’ve been delayed in getting this second post in the series of the role and nature of narrative published. Many […]
September 9, 2018
The landscape of narrative
Back in 2014 I wrote the entry on organisational story telling for the Sage Handbook on Action Research. I wasn’t […]
August 19, 2018
I didn’t fly, I wasn’t well served
Given I live in the UK and have a preference for One World I spend a lot of time on […]
August 18, 2018
We need an new Albigensian Crusade
If I had to choose a heresy (and it may be heretical to even pose such a question) then it […]
August 12, 2018
There comes a time …
Long distance walking is meditative in nature and often metaphorical in the nature of the reflection. Once you go beyond […]
August 2, 2018
Compliance, disintermediation and wisdom
One of the really difficult aspects of leadership is that you have to get used to the fact that very […]
August 1, 2018
The dance of the Librarians
If I look back at the highlights of my various speaking engagements over the years then those to librarians are […]
July 31, 2018
The myopia of metrics
I still have affectionate memories of my slide rule. We learnt how to use them around the age of 14 […]
July 28, 2018
The tyranny of the explicit
One of the phrases I coined many moons ago is that of ‘necessary ambiguity’; or, if I am feeling less […]
July 28, 2018
The tyranny of the explicit
One of the phrases I coined many moons ago is that of ‘necessary ambiguity’; or, if I am feeling less […]
July 19, 2018
Spandrel & serendipity
In architecture a spandrel is the space between an arch and the vertical wall. It had no purpose until artists […]
July 17, 2018
Resilience
In yesterday’s post I illustrated the difference between a resilient and a robust system by contrasting a salt marsh with […]
July 16, 2018
Reflections on the Whistler process
Our first retreat of 2018 explored the general area of design and innovation. It took place in Whistler with an […]
June 16, 2018
Triage & trivia
For my generation one of the seminal television programmes was M.A.S.H, one of those cases where the spin off for […]
June 16, 2018
Triage & trivia
For my generation one of the seminal television programmes was M.A.S.H, one of those cases where the spin off for […]
June 14, 2018
Leadership & integrity
I’ve got a lot more posts lined up in the Alice series, but I’m going to interrupt as the mood […]
June 10, 2018
… and reduced the answer to shillings and pence
The picture is of a doctor wearing a plague mask. The mask is to protect him from the night air, […]
June 8, 2018
Complexity, design and aesthetics
One of my better ideas last year was to put together the first Cynefin Centre Retreat in Snowdonia. By bringing […]
May 25, 2018
Scaling the Edge: Cynefin™ as a journey
For most of my life I’ve been working with various forms of symbiosis and synthesis. Bringing the natural sciences as […]
March 18, 2018
… which way I ought to go from here?
It’s been two very busy weeks (lots of big changes to be announced next week have occupied my time) since […]
March 3, 2018
Of shoes–and ships–and sealing-wax–
This is the first of a series of posts on the agility; of indeterminate length and intermittent in nature it […]
March 2, 2018
Memories of Dinas Bran
Thanks to the combination of Storm Emma and the global warming induced icy blast from Siberia I am stuck for […]
March 1, 2018
St Davids Day 2018, 61 days in
I reached a significant milestone today. Four years ago the 28th of February and the 1st March were the first […]
February 2, 2018
A foreword to a Cynefin book
I finished off the foreword to a forthcoming book about Cynefin in Japanese a day or so ago. I wrote it in […]
February 1, 2018
When can we start again?
Pressing demands on my time have meant I had to delay this final post of three. I’m also building a […]
January 26, 2018
Should we start again?
I interrupted this series for yesterday’s brief tribute to Ursula Le Guin. In the first post a couple of days […]
January 25, 2018
Ursula Le Guin
Most people came to Ursula Le Guin through the Earthsea novels. I only read those as an adult and came […]
January 24, 2018
Can we start again?
One of the major issues in virtually any change initiative in organisations is the constant assumption that one can start […]
January 21, 2018
Requisite conflict …
Probably the key phrase in my post yesterday was “Start not with what things should be, not how they came […]
January 20, 2018
Synderesis in Cynefin
I probably shouldn’t have brought an ancient scholastic text book with me but I still have a fondness for it, […]
January 19, 2018
Phronēsis in Cynefin
I’ve talked about some of the intellectual origins of Cynefin and yesterday addressed the question of quiddity, on in more […]
January 18, 2018
The quiddity of Cynefin
For those not familiar with it, quiddity is not about games played by wizards (although for all I know it […]
January 17, 2018
Origins & acknowledgements
It was satisfying to find my name on Brian Castellani’s updated map of the Complexity Sciences. The map is used […]
January 16, 2018
A sense of direction (4)
Taking the A5 route Anglesea late in the afternoon is normally a delight as the mountains of Snowdon start to […]
January 15, 2018
A sense of direction (3)
I really should be cutting back on the email and task backlog at the moment but I keep getting distracted […]
January 14, 2018
A sense of direction (2)
Having written yesterday’s post I started to play around with mapping various approaches to measurement, goal setting and the like […]
January 12, 2018
A sense of direction (1)
I had a really interesting exchange on twitter over the last few days. It’s nice when you can have an […]
January 5, 2018
It’s a wrap, for now …
  I’m now at the end of the Christmas series of posts summarising some of the uniquesess of human systems […]
January 4, 2018
The abstract and the liminal
  I’m now reaching the end of this series and I haven’t exhausted all the characteristics that distinguish human systems […]
January 3, 2018
We are aware, we don’t just react
The Anthropocene is generally dated from the Trinity Test – the first explosion of a Nuclear Bomb which tool place […]
January 2, 2018
Identity
One of the more fascinating aspects of human systems, and one of the most significant differences with the wider field […]
January 1, 2018
Conflict
You see conflict and care in all systems but humans are pretty unique in allowing both to exist outside kinship […]
December 31, 2017
Inclinations & dispositions
One of the most important things to grasp about a complex adaptive system is that, at a system level, we […]
December 30, 2017
Acting at your own level of competence
One of the most common, and the most irritating aspect of change workshops is the number of times they end […]
December 29, 2017
Senses of direction
I’ve spent a fair amount of my time in the mountains working within a general sense of direction but adjusting […]
December 28, 2017
Scale
The third aspect of anthro-complexity I want to discuss is the complex and problematic issue of scaling. Now this is […]
December 27, 2017
Proximity in time, space & truth
The next aspect of uniqueness in human systems that I want to address is that of proximity. In ‘standard’ complexity […]
December 26, 2017
Inherent uncertainty is our natural habitat
Yesterday I used Paul Cilliers list of characteristics of a complex adaptive systems to introduce the idea that complexity in […]
December 25, 2017
Xmas 2017: I Introduction
One of the oddiities of our increasingly digitial world is the way that birthday and other reminders pop into view […]
December 24, 2017
Come on in, the water is lovely
Over the years I have had various encounters with cults from the overtly religious to those that might be better […]
December 23, 2017
A sheep in wolves clothing
Nothing pleases people more than to go on thinking what they have always thought, and at the same time imagine […]
December 6, 2017
Innovation on the cusp: symbiosis
Teaching intelligent people with real world problems is always one of the great pleasures of life and also a chance […]
December 5, 2017
Ahhh, this porridge is just right
Most readers will be familiar with the tale of Goldilocks and the Three Bears and the three time repetition of […]
December 4, 2017
13 years and a day (well months)
Flying into Saskatoon from Calgary today was a sentimental journey. The last time I was here was just after I […]
December 3, 2017
cum hoc ergo propter hoc
The fact that a rooster crows at sunrise does not mean it causes the sunset, the fact that you find […]
November 14, 2017
Black box or stepping stones?
A couple of decades ago I was developing two product ranges, one for decision support and the other for stock […]
November 13, 2017
Fidelity in complex systems consultancy
It been a week since my tirade against the abrogation of leadership by falling back to the crutch of a […]
November 6, 2017
“No one gets fired for buying ….
… IBM” was a standard adage a few decades ago. You could have a better software package, or better hardware […]
November 5, 2017
Two days for the price of one
Today was one of those odd days that you get in international travel. I’m writing this from the lounge at […]
November 4, 2017
Liminal Cynefin – image release
I decided it would be a good idea to make the image of Cynefin available, if only to reduce the […]
October 30, 2017
Authenticity in Cynefin
The picture here is of Michael Bryant as Mathieu Delarue in the BBC production of Sartre’s The Roads to Freedom. […]
October 29, 2017
Drawing lines …
An abiding memory of childhood is being sent home by a Chapel going Welsh Primary School teacher with instructions to […]
October 28, 2017
Initial working on identity
One of my best ever Opera experiences was back in 1986 when I went to what looks to have been […]
October 27, 2017
Liminal Cynefin: the final cut?
The liminal version of Cynefin has been slowly evolving over the last few months. It was getting close in August […]
October 8, 2017
In the Tricotocon …
Over the years I’ve developed a range of facilitation and workshop techniques based on the underlying principles anthro-complexity. Ritual dissent […]
October 1, 2017
Scaling in complex systems
I wrote a series of posts about scaling over three year ago which in part addressed some of the perversities […]
September 30, 2017
The certification question
The vexed question of certification came up in conversation yesterday. We’re going through the process of creating the right support […]
September 25, 2017
connections not things
Following last weeks highly successful Cynefin Retreat we had a Cognitive Edge management meeting at my home in Wiltshire. In […]
September 10, 2017
Thoughts on doctrine & inclusion
Over the years I have had various emails, social media links and other links to various versions of the Cynefin […]
September 4, 2017
The “R” words
I started to make some real progress on the development of constraint mapping when I realised the typology I was […]
August 30, 2017
Yes but… (and the Isaiah moment is still with us)
Coming to the end of two weeks in New Zealand and I’ve been struck by a dreaded lurgy, or possibly […]
August 27, 2017
The knotty issue of constraints
  I’ve been developing a theory of constraints both as a method for strategy mapping and as a way of […]
August 22, 2017
Liminal & situated strategy
I was originally going to move on to post about constraints but a early meeting this morning involved a stimulating […]
August 21, 2017
Liminal Cynefin, stepping over the threshold
I’ve been frantic the last few months with a lot of long standing wishes and dreams that are all coming […]
July 10, 2017
The first Cynefin retreat
  I debated using images of a mediaeval religious retreat to open this post, but then moved on to the […]
July 9, 2017
Liminal Cynefin: first revision
I posted an early version of the liminal variant to Cynefin a few days ago, then presented it a few […]
July 2, 2017
Hope
To Longborough Festival Opera today for the final performance of Fidelio, Beethoven’s only opera and one of a handful of […]
July 1, 2017
Resonance in meaning
Many moons ago in the early days of knowledge management I argued that the ubiquitous DIKW pyramid was both flawed […]
June 30, 2017
Power of the facilitator
I’m picking up on my earlier posts on experts and professionalism by addressing the more controversial issue of workshops in […]
June 28, 2017
Here we go again, or why I resigned from Ethos
Way back in my DataSciences days before the IBM takeover I worked on a new approach to providing services based […]
June 24, 2017
Navigation by fell runner …
Its been over fifty years since I did my first mountain navigation training in the Lledr Valley. There were about […]
June 23, 2017
Professionalism?
Having posted on expertise yesterday I found myself thinking about the issue in the course of a six hour drive […]
June 22, 2017
On Experts, expertise and power
Remember Nurse Ratched in One Flew over the Cookoo’s Nest? Louise Fletcher won the Oscar for a brilliant portrayal of […]
June 21, 2017
Systems thinking & complexity
A recent post by Sonja caused some reaction in social media and I promised to write something to clarify my […]
June 20, 2017
Liminal Cynefin
The Cynefin framework tends to be used in the main to categories situations within the four main domains (and for […]
May 28, 2017
Boundaries as domain shadows
I’ve been teaching a masterclass her in India to a mixed group and took the opportunity to push myself to […]
May 12, 2017
the right Promethean fire
Love is one of those words which has so many meanings in differencing contexts that any exposition on the subject […]
May 11, 2017
… and nearer to the Dust
One of the deeply negative aspects of the knowledge management period of a decade or more ago was the gross […]
May 10, 2017
Coping with ‘stress’
My last three days put this evening’s Gaping Void cartoon in context. Monday I picked up Kate from the Future […]
May 9, 2017
When to stick?
I should probably have watched out for today’s Gaping Void cartoon before mentioning humility in yesterday’s post! In the text […]
May 8, 2017
Random walk, but with coherence
In reality very few aspects of human life have the tidy linear progression of a ladder, although the snakes on […]
May 7, 2017
False dichotomies, reality avoidance
In my keynote on Friday at Agile Maine I opened by suggesting that there was a schizophrenic dichotomy in the […]
May 6, 2017
The sounds of silence
Not the easiest if cartoons today, its not a condition I often face! But silence is something I use a […]
May 5, 2017
A light touch on the tiller
So its day five of the Gaping Void blog month and today’s cartoon brings together my earlier post on small […]
May 4, 2017
The trust word
A weapon is defined by the Oxford English Dictionary either as A thing designed or used for inflicting bodily harm […]
May 3, 2017
Pragmatism requires knowledge
I’m half thinking of using the daily Gaping Void download to stimulate my posts this month. I may not keep […]
May 2, 2017
Small actions to create meaning
The last few days have seen one of the periodic retweeting of a three year old post I wrote with […]
May 1, 2017
Staying in the saddle
The bicycle puncture turns out to have been symbolic of a series of irritating events one side effect of which […]
March 5, 2017
Doomed
Too much travel, too little hill walking and only one day between trips. But at least, I thought I can […]
March 4, 2017
Pubs that have stood the test of time
Returning from Australasia by way of Milan yesterday I was at least home for the weekend before having to travel […]
March 3, 2017
Integration and an alarmist implication
Presenting similar material to very different audiences last week gave me the opportunity develop some ideas and make some new […]
March 2, 2017
The Squirrel of Judgement
Sometimes one of those viral images on Facebook is just too good not to promote and I love this one. […]
March 1, 2017
Memories of St David’s Day
I was sat in the lounge at Changi airport today between flights having briefly entered Singapore for a meeting about […]
February 28, 2017
Field Notebooks
My final full day in Australia before I return home via way of Milan and it was a mix of […]
February 27, 2017
Security?
I had three presentations today and my voice held up, just. I’ve had a bad cold for weeks and jumping […]
February 26, 2017
Early onset adulthood?
Reading up on the Borg for yesterday’s post (I’m a trekie but don’t have an eidetic memory) I was reminded […]
February 25, 2017
Assimulation
Details of the way that the twitterverse and Facebook were manipulated in the Brexit vote and the descent of humanity […]
February 24, 2017
Human dampeners
The first time I went to Wellington I tagged on a visit to a speaking engagement in Brisbane around twenty […]
February 23, 2017
In uncertainty lies resilience
This post is illustrated with Body of Knowledge, a steel sculpture created in 2010 by Jaume Plensa, located at the […]
February 22, 2017
Experience & judgement
Two sessions in Wellington today along with a dinner meeting and I’m starting to loose track of what stories I […]
February 21, 2017
Cadence & granularity
Cadence and granularity represent concepts where we get some strong links between Cynefin and Kanban. In this context I am […]
February 20, 2017
Third time lucky
They have a deep hobbit obsession at Wellington Airport as you can see from the picture. Landing here is always […]
February 19, 2017
More on travel
Just over fourteen hours from my last post and I’m in the lounge at Singapore having managed around four hours […]
February 18, 2017
On travel …
So its late at night after a longish drive up from the Arms Park and I’m about to embark on […]
February 16, 2017
Paranoid or naive?
My post of yesterday induced a marvin-moment in one respondent. For those unfamiliar with the term it is a reference […]
February 15, 2017
Sea wall or salt marsh?
When we lived in St Albans, way back in the days before children, we occasionally made a winter day trip […]
February 14, 2017
James 2:24 & Cyborgs
An odd combination of things came together for this post. I was working earlier today on a signifier set to […]
February 13, 2017
A blustery day
  I am, exceptionally at home for a whole week before heading for New Zealand on Sunday. In theory it […]
February 12, 2017
The perils of the simplistic
I was catching up on episodes of Melvyn Bragg’s In our Time in the car today and listened twice to […]
February 11, 2017
Owl? Lark? Zombie?
Having got home in the early hours of the morning following wonderful production of the rarely performed Adriana Lecouvreur at […]
February 10, 2017
The making of meaning event (2)
Sometimes a little ambition is no bad thing, even if we start small. My post on Wednesday indicated that we […]
February 9, 2017
Divination & perspective shift
I went to a seminar this afternoon on the ‘ontological turn’ in anthropology given by one of the early advocates […]
February 8, 2017
The making of meaning event (1)
Yesterday’s post on bullying at work struck a cord with a lot of readers. Lots of interest in doing something […]
February 7, 2017
The bully tends to win …
A lot of the standard childhood books of my generation dealt with the subject of bullying. I was allowed Jennings […]
February 6, 2017
Making meaning problematic
I spent a good part of today talking about our planned project on Meaning Making or The Making of Meaning […]
February 5, 2017
Children on mountains
I choose a shorter route today taking in the circular walk from Llanberis over Moel Eilio and then along the […]
February 4, 2017
A Nantlle Ridge circular
I’m up working in Bangor at the moment bracketing a weekend which gave me the opportunity today and hopefully tomorrow […]
February 3, 2017
Facile or felicitous?
I realise up front that there is a danger that this post may be misinterpreted. So to be clear I […]
February 2, 2017
Don’t prescribe sainthood
One of the many things that has always frustrated me about too many organisational change theories and practices is the […]
February 1, 2017
On energy gradients
  Now bear with me on this as I am thinking aloud …. I woke up this morning to a […]
January 11, 2017
Options in uncertainty
In my last couple of posts I have been talking abound boundary conditions in Cynefin. I now want to extend […]
January 10, 2017
Pathways with purpose?
I’ve done the ascent and descent of the path to Llyn Bochlywd at the base of Tryfan in North Wales […]
January 9, 2017
Boundary conditions
For various complex reasons which started with a casual throw away remark at Lean Agile Scotland followed by a brief […]
January 8, 2017
Of places & presence
A couple of days ago in my first post on meaning I used a photograph taken on a walk with […]
January 7, 2017
Common meaning?
Yesterday I started to talk about meaning, coupled with a minor rant about the growing body of people who talk […]
January 6, 2017
Epiphany
Today is the festival of Epiphany, the end of the Christmas festivities and I spent it in Bangor working on […]
December 28, 2016
4: In fruitless battles for our masters
Yesterday I took a fairly positive poem from R S Thomas as my them. Lovers of the poet will know […]
December 27, 2016
3: to illuminate a small field
  Anyone who has ever been walking in the hills will have had the experience of a sudden shaft of […]
December 26, 2016
2: a mixture of pungencies, half exquisite and half plain
I’m building around the welsh word hiraeth today and I will return to it in subsequent posts. The best definition […]
December 25, 2016
1: when there were wolves in Wales
In various social media conversations about a possible subject for my Twelve days of Christmas posts this year I thought […]
December 24, 2016
Viva la Vida
I thought I had better conclude yesterday’s somewhat dark with a reference to the value of hope, one of the […]
December 23, 2016
Dum Spiro, spero
Attempts to see a performance of the Seven Acts of Mercy at the RSC were thwarted last night by the […]
December 22, 2016
Non nobis solum nati sumus
My last two posts in this mini series selecting on the post-fact issue are going to titled with quotes from […]
December 21, 2016
On virtue
Rahner, who I referenced yesterday stands in a tradition that traces itself back via Geist in Welt (a fluid combination […]
December 20, 2016
On the role of grace
I’ve chosen Caravaggio’s Mary Magdalen in Ecstasy to illustrate this post on the concept of grace. To my mind one […]
December 19, 2016
Have we ever not been post-fact?
The theme of a post-fact, post-truth society is ever present in the press, social media and various think tanks, one […]
December 18, 2016
Unarticulated needs:directions
In my last two posts I have emphasised the need to get behind surface statements of requirement(s) to unarticulated needs. […]
December 17, 2016
Unarticulated needs: deep issues
My post of yesterday made the point that it is difficult to get anyone to state what they need in […]
December 16, 2016
Unarticulated needs: context
I promised yesterday that I would pick up the question of unarticulated needs, so that is the subject to today’s […]
December 15, 2016
Granularity
My final day in Ottawa was occupied with two open meetings to discuss the novel forms of research represented by […]
December 15, 2016
Granularity
My final day in Ottawa was occupied with two open meetings to discuss the novel forms of research represented by […]
December 15, 2016
Social innovation labs, initial thoughts
For one reason or another I’ve ended up talking about various social innovation labs in multiple locations over the last […]
December 15, 2016
Granularity
My final day in Ottawa was occupied with two open meetings to discuss the novel forms of research represented by […]
December 13, 2016
It never troubles the wolf how many the sheep may be
I’ve been developing an flexuous approach to understanding strategy for several decades now. A part of that approach has involved […]
December 12, 2016
Tests for coherence
As promised yesterday I will return to the issue of constraints and constraint mapping in a series of posts over […]
December 11, 2016
Dark constraints
In my post of yesterday I identified Dark Constraints within my wider category of resilience. The reference is to the […]
December 10, 2016
A return to constraints
I’m getting increasingly excited about the work I am doing on constraints. I first posted on this with an initial […]
December 9, 2016
‘I’d have said anything in THERE
Picking up on my theme of yesterday I was reminded of a scene from The Wind in the Willows by […]
December 8, 2016
Actions speak louder than experiences
Soma is the drug that keeps people happy in Huxley’s dystopian novel Brave New World. It has, to quote, All […]
December 7, 2016
Descriptive self awareness
Reflecting on the previous two days and more conversations over multiple meetings before boarding a flight to Helsinki I was […]
December 6, 2016
On navigating conflict
http://cognitive-edge.com/blog/on-navigating-conflict/ Interesting session today on the role of art in achieving change. I have long observed that one of the […]
December 5, 2016
Curmudgeon, cynic and contrarian
The American writer Jon Winokur defined a Curmudgeon as Anyone who hates hypocrisy and pretence and has the temerity to […]
December 4, 2016
Toffs and Toughs
Most readers will have seen this 1937 picture before. It is used to illustrate the pernicious nature of the English […]
December 3, 2016
The domain of disorder (iii)
I made the point yesterday that the disordered domain within Cynefin is one of false confidence, assuming you know how […]
December 2, 2016
The domain of disorder (ii)
Most people who have walked in the mountains will have experienced a temperature inversion at some stage. You suddenly discover […]
December 1, 2016
The domain of disorder (i)
I’m out to Milan tomorrow and I am starting to feel like a Typhoid Mary for the unexpected having been […]
October 30, 2016
Agency: privilege & complexity
The daily email from Gaping Void is saving me the effort of searching the internet for images before posting. The […]
October 29, 2016
The dispositional state
I’ve had a frustrating few weeks since my last post. An as yet uncorrected error in Blogo (which I otherwise […]
October 14, 2016
of meaning & constraints (1 of 2)
I don’t know how familiar readers are with Dali’s 1943 painting Geopoliticus Child Watching the Birth of the New Man. […]
October 13, 2016
Coherence through shared abstraction
Today’s offering from Gaping Void is wonderfully enigmatic and could be a source for a lengthy trans-disciplinary colloquium if anyone […]
October 11, 2016
of morality & metaphor
I promised in my last post to pick up the question of ethics, and more specifically in the context of […]
October 9, 2016
on meaning from a realist perspective
Yesterday’s post received a gratifying response, thanks to all who volunteered and I will be in touch soon to elaborate […]
October 8, 2016
a need for empathy
There was a wonderful, if depressing, tweet from J.K.Rowling yesterday: If we all hit ctrl-alt-del simultaneously and pray, perhaps we […]
October 1, 2016
Group cohesiveness & individual effort
I’ll never forget the first time I saw the murmuration of starlings. I’d arrived at the Hilton in Rome which […]
September 26, 2016
… or pseudo-scientific?
A long time ago I settling into a new strategic role within DataScience following the best part of a decade […]
September 25, 2016
… but is it scientific?
I landed in Melbourne after two long flights but with the satisfaction of an email in box reduced to 40 […]
September 23, 2016
Freedom through constraints
Over the last couple of weeks I’ve been thinking a lot about constraints in the context of complexity in general […]
September 22, 2016
The evolution of technology
The picture comes from Monday’s VIP tour of NASA before a workshop of innovation at which I was a guest […]
September 16, 2016
back to the salt mines
After yesterday’s post using salt marshes as a visual image of providing direction in a complex system I shouldn’t be […]
September 15, 2016
In the salt marsh
I’m still working on the new use of coupling and boundary constraints for Cynefin so readers will have to wait […]
September 14, 2016
Manipulating narrative?
As promised yesterday it is more than time to update some of my thinking on narrative as communication. I’ve taught […]
September 13, 2016
A personal update
So I’m en route to San Jose to run a two day workshop for a tech giant on narrative as […]
August 9, 2016
The physicality of thought
For the last nine days I’ve been following this sign around the coast from St Dogmaels to Criccieth. The full […]
July 30, 2016
Coincidence of destination
We are being rather inundated by memories of England winning the 1966 World Cup with the 50th anniversary falling yesterday. […]
July 29, 2016
so long as I get SOMEWHERE
I intended to complete these three posts linking ideas from Alice in Wonderland with the work of Agryris (and in […]
July 21, 2016
Cloying sentimentality
Yesterday’s post had a somewhat ambiguous title and illustration and I’m going to continue that today. Discovery often involves enigma […]
July 20, 2016
To evaluate or describe?
Yesterday I referenced Max’s reminder to me of a conversation we had in which one or other of us came […]
July 19, 2016
Narrative as aesthetic
I decided it was time to tackle the backlog of 238 emails in the folder I park material for potential […]
July 18, 2016
Well there may not be an actual fire
I’m running a Cynefin and Sense-making course in London for the rest of this week and in parallel we are […]
July 17, 2016
Habitual change
I went for a walk today, catching the five o’clock early eventing train from Bedwyn to Kintbury and then walking […]
July 17, 2016
The grass suffers ….
There is an old african proverb: When two elephants fight, it is the grass that suffers. The third party damage […]
July 17, 2016
Of honey pots and pits
Help, help!” cried Piglet, “a Heffalump, a Horrible Heffalump!” and he scampered off as hard as he could, still crying […]
July 16, 2016
Fragmented, fractal and fertile
I argued in yesterday’s post that to resolve conflict we first of all had to change the filters through which […]
July 13, 2016
Understand backwards; live forwards
The headline of this post comes from Søren Kierkegaard’s famous quote “Life can only be understood backwards; but it must […]
July 12, 2016
The flight of the owl of Minerva
A rather eclectic series of thoughts make up this post. I spent an hour or so on the phone this […]
July 11, 2016
Trust is a safe to fail exercise
I just came off a conversation with our lawyer about contractual arrangements for the new centre. Last week I had […]
July 10, 2016
Organisation by Cynefin domain
I was driving Sonja back to Cape Town airport this morning after a very useful session yesterday with Marietjie and […]
July 8, 2016
Thinking flexuously
One of my favourite subjects at school was physical geography, a taste that grew into a passion for geology in […]
July 7, 2016
Stockholm syndrome in strategy
Today I want to continue my commentary on strategy started following yesterday’s workshop; feedback from the client is that we […]
July 6, 2016
… taken at the flood
I spent the bulk of today running a session for the leadership team of a major Financial Services organisation. Sod’s […]
July 5, 2016
Musings in the cold
  An interesting couple of days In South Africa. Yesterday we ran a small, invitation only session to discuss some […]
July 4, 2016
Of ideation, power & service (2 of 2)
In my post of yesterday I wrote about the loss of purpose in the pursuit of ideology and the lack […]
July 3, 2016
Of ideation, power & service (1 of 2)
I knew just over a week ago that I would have to write something or rather several things on the […]
July 2, 2016
Shooting the Sacred Cows of OD
Yesterday I referenced a tweet from the Welsh Academy session at which I was a keynote Thursday. A frantic couple […]
July 1, 2016
Things a leader can do
Just over a week ago I posted at the end of day one of the Helsinki think tank on Leadership. […]
June 21, 2016
Here be dragons ….
I’ve been too long away from this blog for which apologies. An error of judgement on the south col of […]
May 11, 2016
On stony ground?
I’ve choose Van Goch’s (after Millet) 1889 painting The Sower to illustrate today’s post as I want to build on […]
May 9, 2016
The hound calls
In Alan Gardner’s The Moon of Gomrath, Almanac, the last of the Children of Danu is called by the Hound Of […]
April 30, 2016
… you better look good on wood
The news this evening (Bogota time) that Daniel Berrigan died in New York at the age of 94 has had […]
April 24, 2016
Dispositionality (i)
I’m finally getting on top of the backlog of email and writing after the Annapurna trek. Travel hasn’t made that […]
April 13, 2016
New partnership
Berlin has always been one of my favourite cities since I used to cross under the wall back in the […]
April 11, 2016
Catharsis
This picture was taken two weeks ago on Easter Monday when the trekking party of which Eleanor and I were […]
March 16, 2016
I’ve been called worse
My main engagement today was to present on the application of complexity theory to forecasting to a group of senior […]
March 14, 2016
Life can be a rollercoaster
I’m really not sure how I survived today and luck played its part. I got to Austin yesterday in plenty […]
March 13, 2016
Propensities
I posted on the subject of the lowest energy cost of replication while I was in the Yukon a month […]
March 13, 2016
Propensities
I posted on the subject of the lowest energy cost of replication while I was in the Yukon a month […]
March 12, 2016
Festivals
After yesterday’s drama the final arrival into Austin last night went reasonably smoothly (aside from delays due to Airforce One […]
March 11, 2016
Emergency landing
I was involved in a emergency landing today, we lost one engine and had to return post haste to the […]
March 10, 2016
Face to face
If Tuesday was Washington then today is Bergen and tomorrow Austin – one of the worst travel weeks in a […]
March 9, 2016
Chicken or egg?
At the Librarian event in Washington yesterday one of my three goto points at the end of the presentation was […]
March 8, 2016
Lessons learning for Librarians
I gave the opening keynote at the Computers in Libraries congress in Washington today. For those interested the slides are […]
March 7, 2016
Return to the ducking school
Yesterday I argued that the confusion of managerialism with management was in effect a modern form of witch trail. Things […]
March 6, 2016
To the ducking stool
It is interesting to see old habits manifest in modern clothing. Back in the 17th Century it was easy to […]
March 5, 2016
One good decision, two bad
The weather forecast today did not bode well: rain/Sleet at low level and heavy snow above 600m. Left to myself […]
March 4, 2016
38 and counting
Wedding anniversary today and whilst I am away I did at least remember the flowers. The photograph was tweeted by […]
March 3, 2016
In the peripheries
For many years walking in Snowdonia was a regular weekend activity. The drive through Ruthin and then the Clocaenog Forest […]
March 2, 2016
Judgement?
It is fashionable in systems thinking and complexity circles to use Scientific Management as the demon by which sainthood is […]
March 1, 2016
An interesting day
Today was interesting in many ways. It is St David’s Day and the 12 anniversary of my Mother’s death, she […]
February 29, 2016
Just stop!
I haven’t opened a post here with a Gaping Void cartoon for a bit so stuck for a subject capable […]
February 28, 2016
Religious Wars
I had a long drive from Hull to the Arms Park today to watch the Cardiff Blues beat Ulster and […]
February 27, 2016
Social indicators
I’ll get back to the Predation and products series later in the week, more thinking and sketching to do there. […]
February 26, 2016
Predation & products I
For those not familiar with our distant ancestors, this is a therapsid or one of the early mammal like reptiles. […]
February 25, 2016
An opportunity taken
To the ENO last night for a production of Norma by way of a client meeting just south of Cambridge. […]
February 24, 2016
covetousness makes merchandise
A few things came together this morning which sent me scurrying to find a half remembered text from the Letters […]
February 23, 2016
Intention
And so to the last, and most problematic of my 3’I’s of anthro-complexity, namely intention; problematic as it is one […]
February 22, 2016
Intelligence
Moving on from my consideration of identity yesterday we come to intelligence. Again I am exploring if my original 3’I’s […]
February 20, 2016
A lost craft
I landed at Heathrow this morning to pick up a message from my sister attaching this photograph. He had found […]
February 19, 2016
Power in abstraction
I’ve been using this slide for some years ever since it emerged from a conversation between Max Boisot and myself […]
February 18, 2016
Three or five?
For some time I have been arguing that the study of complex systems in humans has substantial differences from those […]
February 17, 2016
Abide II
I opened yesterday’s post with the metaphor of a river in flow but with stable, or semi-stable elements. A river […]
February 16, 2016
Abide part I
I’m enjoying being back in Whitehorse and its day two of the course. The name of the town references the […]
February 15, 2016
Lowest energy cost of replication …
First day of the Cynefin and Sense-making course here in the Yukon to a government audience. Also one that has […]
February 14, 2016
To be disturbed or to disturb?
A little bit of trivia today, but an interesting illustration of culture and comfort (in many senses of the word). […]
February 13, 2016
Modern heresy
Catharism was a medieval heresy who believed there were two Gods, one evil and one good. All matter was evil […]
February 12, 2016
Authenticity
I don’t know if the author of this post advocating that AQ (Authenticity Quotient) to replace EQ and IQ appreciates […]
February 11, 2016
The adjacent possible
I spent an enjoyable day with the LINK research group at UTA. A mixture of conversation and presentation with more […]
February 10, 2016
Ethnography Part II
Yesterday I expressed concern about the abuse of the term ethnography. In particular when all that people are doing is […]
February 9, 2016
Ethnography Part I
In Act I of A Midsummer Nights Dream Bottom is asked to play Pyramus, “a love that kills himself, most […]
February 8, 2016
Mischief, thou art afoot
I promised yesterday to republish this table which I created some time ago after I had read Martin’s book on […]
February 7, 2016
Design funnels and Cynefin
Mary Boone and I spent all day working on our article on Complexity Theory and design thinking. It is the […]
February 6, 2016
generating fruitful patterns
Back in May 2011 I got an email from Max Boisot, pictured enthusiastically engaged in a ritual food ceremony in […]
February 5, 2016
Purgatory is thy destiny?
My opening keynote at the Scaling Agile conference in Brussels yesterday got a good response on twitter and resulted in […]
February 4, 2016
Knowledge economy?
I promised to summarise my contribution to the Kuwait event on the Knowledge Economy. The subject has been around for […]
February 3, 2016
…to know which he doth not.
I am working on a longer thought piece on the Knowledge Economy following my two days in Kuwait but that […]
February 2, 2016
Fudgel
This is the first of a series of occasional posts I plan using English words that have gone out of […]
February 1, 2016
… apparel oft proclaims the man
I’m in Kuwait for the next todays taking part in a Government event on the Knowledge Economy. My first time […]
January 31, 2016
Proceed with care
I’m feeling rather pleased with myself for getting back into the habit of daily blogging. Today makes it a full […]
January 30, 2016
The need to rethink research
One of the things that I could have added to my earlier post on CfAC plans What’s it all about […]
January 29, 2016
A cynefin reflection
One of the many wonderful things about Snowdonia is the way the architecture and the scenery blend into each other. […]
January 28, 2016
What’s it all about?
I spent the latter part of today in Pontio at Bangor University. I was there to attend a lecture on […]
January 27, 2016
On evidence
When does evidence based policy become policy based evidence? These days it would appear to be when a hypothesis held […]
January 26, 2016
Gang aft agley
As some readers know I plan to spend my sixty-second birthday on the back of an elephant hunting tiger with […]
January 26, 2016
Gang aft agley
As some readers know I plan to spend my sixty-second birthday on the back of an elephant hunting tiger with […]
January 25, 2016
The ageing workforce part 5
I’m bringing this series to an end in a storm blown cottage in North Wales. All part of training for […]
January 24, 2016
The ageing workforce part 4
So far in this series I have been focused on knowledge in the context of decisions, both for discovery and […]
January 23, 2016
The ageing workforce part 3
Having set the scene with a general introduction in my first one and a mild polemic in the second I […]
January 22, 2016
The ageing workforce part 2
It is no coincidence that I am using images from medieval apprenticeships in this series of posts. The apprentice model […]
January 21, 2016
The ageing workforce part 1
One of the hardy annuals used to justify knowledge management programmes is the problem of the ageing workforce. Equally persistent, […]
January 20, 2016
a posteriori
I promised yesterday that I would provide a list of some of the SenseMaker® based health sector projects we have […]
January 19, 2016
a priori?
  The last two days have been spent in Shipley in Heaton Mount which is a part of Bradford University. […]
January 18, 2016
More on the platitudes of leadership
Once upon a time, a long time ago, I had a general management position and performed the leadership dance. Some […]
January 17, 2016
Pathetic fallacy
A frustrating day as I didn’t hit my writing target for last night so had to stay in to complete […]
January 16, 2016
Necessary risk
I’ve had a good week at Bangor University working on the initial programme for CfAC, interviewing for staff and generally […]
January 15, 2016
Disintermediation
Three blogs using Gaping Void cartoons, but this was too good to ignore and it builds on my leadership post […]
January 14, 2016
Leadership is contextual
In yesterday’s post I said that I would look at the role of a leader in initiating and making change. […]
January 13, 2016
The banality of measurement
One of the insights which can come with age/experience is that the vast majority of people have good intentions or […]
January 12, 2016
Time
I’ve been thinking and reading about time recently and not for morbid reasons. Some of that thinking is practical in […]
January 11, 2016
Space
An article in the Washington Post caught my attention at the end of last year. It argues against open plan […]
January 10, 2016
The art & science of being a Curmudgeon
So in this final post on the 3Cs of research in organisations I’m returning to the Cynics. I might have […]
January 9, 2016
and then to context
For those who were emotionally deprived in childhood by not being read the Pooh stories I suggest a quick refresh […]
January 8, 2016
and so to satiable curtiosity …
… which the Elephant’s Child in Kipling’s Just So Stores had in abundance. I’ve previously mentioned in my 2012 Christmas […]
January 7, 2016
Cynicism, curiosity and context
In the course of writing my Christmas series I came up with a throw away comment about the 3Cs of […]
January 6, 2016
Well you could do it like that …
I’m still in an OD mindset after the last twelve days of posting and there are few loose ends to […]
January 5, 2016
twelve drummers drumming
Any mention of drums brings to mind the truly great Ginger Baker and some fond memories of more youthful days. […]
January 4, 2016
eleven pipers piping
We are probably still in the party theme section of the carol and destined to finish there with a dozen […]
January 3, 2016
ten lords a leaping
So we have a choice between the ten commandments or a reference to cuckoos. As a symbol of immorality and […]
January 2, 2016
nine ladies dancing
From this point in the series continuity gets rather difficult. The various known versions of the carol have different variations […]
January 1, 2016
eight maids a milking
If we continue with the idea that every day is about a different bird then this one is about magpies. […]
December 31, 2015
seven swans a swimming
So far I have studiously avoided the usurpation of the carol as a catechism memory tool. But I am tempted […]
December 30, 2015
six geese a laying
You know how images from some of those stories you read as a child never leave you? I have a […]
December 29, 2015
five gold rings
The first five books of the Old Testament, recording man’s sinful failure and God’s grace? Five ring-necked pheasants symbolising fire […]
December 28, 2015
four colly birds
Again multiple interpretations and also adaptations. Calling birds is now common, but the original references birds that are coal-black so […]
December 27, 2015
three french hens
I must admit that this was one of the most problematic of the verses when I did a quick viability […]
December 26, 2015
two turtle doves
While the conventional interpretation relates to devoted love I want to look at this more in the context of love […]
December 25, 2015
and a partridge in a pear tree
One of the issues I’ve found with the Twelve Days of Christmas nursery rhyme is that is no precise agreement […]
December 24, 2015
Do not an engineer or a therapist be
My Just leave it alone post of yesterday argued for a less control and against an excessive focus on hygiene […]
December 23, 2015
Just leave it alone ….
I loved this picture from Science Dump when it came popped up in Facebook a few days ago. Aside from […]
December 22, 2015
What’s in a name?
It’s the winter solstice and time to break by near two month absence from blogging. I’m not totally sure of […]
October 25, 2015
A sense of direction
I left the question of direction open in yesterday’s post; if evidence is an emergent property of a complex system […]
October 24, 2015
Evidence?
Somehow an image from the Salem Witch trials with a powerful image of patriarchy seems appropriate to continuing by discussion […]
October 23, 2015
It is never that simple
If you read the report I referenced in yesterday’s post you will find multiple claims that there is growing evidence […]
October 22, 2015
Mindful or mindless?
Before I start here I need to make something very clear. I want to raise some concerns about the current […]
October 7, 2015
Mistaking volume for veracity?
Laudato Si’is the latin title of the encyclical letter On Care for our Common Home which has caused some controversy […]
October 6, 2015
Take small opportunities
  Today started early with a brisk walk in the rain to explore the area before getting a lift back […]
October 5, 2015
A question of balance
I survived my first night in a bunk bed since 1978 relearning old skills: balancing a torch on the pillow […]
October 4, 2015
Close encounters of the engineering kind?
I spent most of the day clearing email on a sequence of trains to Glasgow. I am due to keynote […]
October 3, 2015
Would it smell as sweet?
I got asked a question earlier today by Liza van der Merwe about what the name is for the various […]
October 2, 2015
The ethics of intervention
A brief two day visit to San Francisco saw me teaching day three of the Cynefin and Sense-making course with […]
September 17, 2015