Dave Snowden

The science of common sense

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A solid day’s teaching at Hull Business School today based one a set of material I have used in this type of context several times.   Session one is complexity, session two the cognitive aspects (distinguishing cognitive complexity from computational approaches) and then finally SenseMaker® under the general banner of narrative research.  The final session tends to use slides as I need to show narrative landscapes and entry/retrieval.  But for the rest of the programme I chalk and talk; that allows far greater flexibility and you can adjust the pace to the audience.

Now with a set of masters students it is more than legitimate to push the boundaries a little.  Complexity is a very new way of thinking but as I constantly point out; it is the science of common sense, a new simplicity in sense-making.  That was made easier today as the majority of the participants were active managers or practitioners at the front end of practice.  One ex Chief Petty Office and an Ambulance Service manager to take two examples.  I find that those who face the reality of complexity in their day to day jobs get the ideas and concepts quickly.  It gives a scientific explanation to things they already knew but found difficult to articulate.  The more communication is mediated, the more distanced the decision maker from reality and the more problematic they find simplicity give the artifice of the complications.