September 30, 2021
What gives you hope for the future?
What gives you hope for the future? That’s what we’re asking communities around the world. Introducing A New Community Engagement […]
August 23, 2021
We’re launching a Citizen Engagement & Democratic Innovation Programme White Paper
If you’ve been following us for the last few years, you’ll know we’ve been developing our Citizen Engagement & Democratic […]
June 7, 2021
complex system
How the elephant got his trunk: what evolution can teach us about complexity
I’m going to assume that everyone who frequents this blog and is a regular reader of Dave’s work is very […]
April 8, 2021
future backwards
Looking back at the Acorn Study; Part 9: Seedlings
After a couple of weeks of hiatus (early spring is definitely Bank Holiday season here in Cyprus), this blog series […]
March 18, 2021
future backwards
Looking back at the Acorn Study; Part 8.2: And then COVID happened
Picking up right where we left things, let’s dive straight into more of the patterns. It is a commonly-accepted stereotype […]
March 11, 2021
future backwards
Looking back at the Acorn Study; Part 8.1: And then COVID happened
The Acorn Study began in the autumn of 2019. As often happens, most stories were collected in its early days […]
March 4, 2021
future backwards
Looking back at the Acorn Study; Part 7: Hope, loss, and sacrifice
In 2018, Jem Bendell, a sustainability leadership professor, wrote a paper that took the possibility of near-term societal collapse due […]
February 25, 2021
future backwards
Looking back at the Acorn Study; Part 6: Knowledge and information – always needing more?
As always, let’s start with one of the high-level patterns in our collection: the sources of knowledge or awareness in […]
February 18, 2021
future backwards
Looking back at the Acorn Study; Part 5: Looking backwards, looking forwards
This week we are looking at the dimension of time. Time is a central concept in all kinds of contexts, […]
February 11, 2021
future backwards
Looking back at the Acorn Study; Part 4.2: Individual, collective, other
  Without further ado, let’s pick up where we left off last week! We ended the post on a series […]
February 4, 2021
future backwards
Part 4.1: Individual, collective, other
  We are now at the stage where we start to dig into the patterns and ask what they might […]
January 31, 2021
Thinking about Networks – 2
It is funny, when we think about networks, we think about groups, communities, systems, and other complex collections of interacting […]
January 28, 2021
future backwards
Looking back at the Acorn Study; Part 3: Small actions
Before going into the meat of this section, let’s talk about triads and dyads a little bit, and the representation […]
January 21, 2021
future backwards
Looking back at the Acorn Study; Part 2: A background to the patterns
Almost every SenseMaker collection, no matter what it is, contains some garden-variety multiple-choice questions. These may appear simple, but they […]
January 14, 2021
future backwards
Looking back at the Acorn Study; Part 1: Introduction 
This has been a year of experimentation in many things, including the report format. SenseMaker, despite its use for near-real-time […]
January 7, 2021
Change, urgency, and new opportunities 2: What can we sense together?
It is 2021, and many of us don’t know quite what that entails. Most were very glad to see the […]
June 18, 2020
Change, urgency, and new opportunities: talking about climate change during a pandemic
I have been thinking a lot about climate change during the COVID-19 times (and so have many many many others). […]
March 1, 2019
A Retreat on narrative – where better to meet than in Ireland
The location of the Cynefin Retreat about Narrative in Organisations (Ireland, 18-21 March 2019) is specially chosen for its unique […]
April 16, 2015
The story of SenseMaker® in UNDP Eastern Europe and CIS
In December 2012, I flew to Bratislava with Dave Snowden where we met with a roomful of smart, enthusiastic UNDPers […]
April 9, 2015
A technical footnote
By now you will have read Dave Snowden’s welcome post concerning our new website, which we’re very pleased to say […]
December 8, 2014
Lessons learning
I’m currently in Stockholm for the Adopting Agile workshop/think tank (it has flavours of both). This is event number four […]
November 6, 2014
Dependency matrix
One of the key things in understanding and managing a complex adaptive system is getting the granularity right.   Things that […]
September 2, 2014
Early Bird Discount for Washington DC’s CSM course ending 8th Sep
Summer's nearly over, and with it our Early Bird discount for the CSM course in Washington DC from the 29th […]
August 1, 2014
Amsterdam Two-Day SenseMaker® Design: Only a week left to take advantage of Early Bird Discount!
There are still seats available at the Two Day SenseMaker® Design course in Amsterdam held over 16-17 September 2014. Enjoy […]
July 19, 2014
Memories of Singapore
Time to leave Singapore for Sydney but a busy morning.  It started with a conversation on gaming and its use […]
June 3, 2014
Brambles I
I woke bright and early at the Management Centre in Bangor University to a view of the Menai Straits from […]
May 29, 2014
Complexity, resilience, and safety culture
Creating and Leading a Resilient Safety Culture is our new training course that brings together resilience thinking with complexity and […]
April 14, 2014
Toronto & Copenhagen
Just back from a great week in NYC participating in #LeanUX14.  Off to Portland today after an all too brief […]
March 25, 2014
SAFe: the infantilism of management
I gave the opening keynote at the Agile conference in Brno today. A good audience in that they paid attention […]
March 25, 2014
Cynefin & Sense-making and LeanUX… in NYC!
It’s always a delight to visit the Big Apple and I’m looking forward to being there again April 6-13. I’ve […]
January 9, 2014
Finally, in Halifax NS
I don't get to Halifax as often as I would like.  It has been one of my favourite places since […]
December 14, 2013
Mastery and competence
In one of the breakouts today a few of us spent three sessions working on a wider education initiative around […]
December 13, 2013
Tools and artifacts
I finally replaced my iPad last night having given up on the original being found.   I was still in […]
October 2, 2013
A diversity of perspectives for an authentic sense of reality in healthcare
  It’s only working with a diversity of many perspectives can we get objectively closer to a more authentic sense […]
August 2, 2013
Accidents and resilience
This past weekend the community I call home, the West Kootenay area of British Columbia, saw an unfortunate accident in […]
June 10, 2013
Healthy together!
The wonderful weekend brunches are a real delight here in Melbourne. The breakfast culture is very strong and is similar […]
April 26, 2013
Citizen Engineers
A couple years ago I had the pleasure to meet Ryan Martens, Founder and CTO of Rally Software, in beautiful […]
April 24, 2013
KM Europe and a respondent
A flying visit to Amsterdam (well train in from Nice then a flight home) to speak at KM Europe.  It […]
April 16, 2013
Complex domain: April 2013
I’ve been using the complex domain model for some time now since I first published it.  One of my main […]
March 31, 2013
Of two welshmen
Over the last three days and nights I have watched Philip Madoc's wonderful warts and all portrayal of Lloyd George […]
February 12, 2013
Perspective and contrast
Monday 11 Feb was a holiday in the province of British Columbia, Canada, as it was the newly declared “Family […]
February 10, 2013
Anticipatory guilt
For many years I've argued that expertise is a mixture of training and experience; knowledge combined with practice.   My […]
November 29, 2012
Discerning intent from tweets?
I have been quite busy of late with travel, proposal writing, and working collaboratively on some joint offerings.  Hence the […]
November 16, 2012
The present only toucheth thee:
I landed in Auckland this morning from Singapore in the first and shortest (9 hours) of five long red eye […]
November 6, 2012
On giving and receiving…
A couple weeks ago my wife and I had an opportunity to become participants in a wonderful initiative – the […]
October 23, 2012
The idea is you break the chains Guys, not rejoice in ignorance
There is a peculiar populist product of our post-modern age which argues that chaos is the 'archetypal state of everything' […]
October 22, 2012
knitting “up the ravell’d sleave of care”
Just in case anyone is worried I'm not planning the death of a King, but it is a great quote […]
October 22, 2012
How many people will be attending your meeting?
One of the things that frustrates me about booking venues for workshops and training sessions is the way event coordinators […]
October 18, 2012
.. as sick stigma is to innovation
I had no formal duties at KM World today but I enjoyed Dave Weinberger as always, but with two slight […]
October 15, 2012
… to give birth to a dancing star
Regular readers of this blog (yes I know I have been irregular of late in posting) will know that I […]
September 19, 2012
The art of engineering
Last week I enjoyed a short business trip within the same time zone.  I traveled to Seattle and decided to […]
September 7, 2012
Ambiguity & Abstraction Immersion v Aversion
The recent Melbourne and Auckland Advanced training sessions have given me a deeper perspective on the Consensus-Coherence framework that is […]
August 30, 2012
A wonderful first visit to New Zealand!
I'm enroute home after a business trip that had me in Singapore, Melbourne, and Auckland.  Although Singapore is starting to […]
August 29, 2012
Rotate 45 degrees and think anew
Regular readers of this blog will know that Cynefin and its domains are going through a period of flux at […]
August 17, 2012
Someone suggested widecasting as an alternative to sidecasting yesterday so I am trying it out in the title here.  Not […]
August 16, 2012
Determined to take carry-on only
Late this afternoon I was tending to some errands with the family ahead of being away on a two-week business […]
August 16, 2012
Great service creates desirable cognitive patterns
Today is a travel day and the longest leg of my journey will be starting soon.  In about an hour […]
June 15, 2012
Flood lights and traffic circles
For the first few years of my work with Cognitive Edge, the Cynefin framework, and complexity in general, I did […]
June 2, 2012
HTLGI2012: Science & Poetry
One of the highlights of this years festival was the presence of moral philosopher Mary Midgley.  Her book on Wickedness […]
May 18, 2012
From New York to Amsterdam…
I just completed a two week business trip and my last two stops were New York and Amsterdam.  Two cities […]
May 6, 2012
Paddling by the Thames
The end point of the Thames Walk is the flood barrier at Greenwich, but we faced two unexpected barriers on […]
April 7, 2012
When guidelines & heuristics are better than strict policy
Yesterday I was traveling from NYC to Vancouver after spending the week in New York delivering our Practitioners Foundations course.  […]
March 15, 2012
Avoiding the dangers of a single story with SenseMaker®
During the SenseMaker® day at the Practitioner Foundations course I delivered in Toronto with Terry Miller, I decided to open […]
March 3, 2012
Discount offer for early subscribers
Welcome to our new site!  Please note that we are offering a discount for the next 3 months for people […]
March 2, 2012
St David’s Day 2012
St David's Day is the national festival of Wales. There are parades, concerts and festivals to celebrate the name day […]
February 27, 2012
The Kennett, the Og and the Ridgeway
Having landed from Singapore early in the morning and suffered the longest four minutes in rugby history I was in […]
February 26, 2012
and for the morons
A timely warning from Dilbert today, which should serve as a warning to us all. Like all good cartoons it […]
February 21, 2012
Cultural change in Singapore
I'm back in Singapore for a week working on a portfolio of projects building on work over the past decade. […]
February 14, 2012
A mans errors are the portals of discovery
As part of the preparation for CalmAlpha this week I've been reviewing some of the general principles of complexity in […]
February 14, 2012
Cynefin – a time management and productivity tool?
The thirst for easy fixes to the challenges of time management appears unslakable. I have no doubt that for some, […]
February 12, 2012
Who is the game for anyway?
Rugby is a winter sport, but its not an arctic one. The news that France v Ireland was called off […]
February 11, 2012
A sense of belonging
I walked through this arch tonight to watch a rugby match for the first time since the summer of 2009. […]
February 9, 2012
7 principles of intervention in complex systems
I may buy this T-Shirt as its a great slogan. As it happens I was working on intervention strategy in […]
February 8, 2012
Curing growing pains with Cynefin
How does a successful entrepreneurial organisation deal with operational growth pains without losing its ‘soul?’ I have been working with […]
February 7, 2012
Extracting value from Fear and Loathing
About 12 months ago, I attended an early morning meeting whose sole purpose was to approve a short list of […]
February 5, 2012
…this terrible pain in all the diodes down my left side.
David Griffiths indulged in a little head banging this morning, and give he is in the same state of nervous […]
February 4, 2012
For those in peril …
I have a semi-allergic reaction to sounds bites that appear to lack thought before propagation. Its a part of my […]
February 3, 2012
agreeth not …
No man putteth a piece of a new garment upon an old; if otherwise, then both the new maketh a […]
January 24, 2012
Is there balm in Giliad?
I've always argued that that Margaret Attwood's The Handmaid's Tale should be added to the cannon of key dystopian novels. […]
January 24, 2012
Management vs Tonga
I had a fantastic day Sunday last; good lunch, stimulating diverse conversation, rugby in Wales, and all in the company […]
January 23, 2012
Rose tinting
Today I met up with our current guest blogger Iwan Jenkins at the Anchor Inn and following a good lunch […]
January 22, 2012
Half way down the Thames
We passed the half way mark today on our journey from the source to the mouth of the Thames. We […]
January 21, 2012
Beyond reasonable doubt
It's not often that I agree with Richard Dawkins, but his article in today's New Statesman on “reasonable doubt” is […]
January 10, 2012
This above all: to thine own self be true
It is very important to have a clear picture of your starting point, particularly when solving complex problems, but it […]
January 9, 2012
Where are we?
In a recent conversation during the diagnosis stage of a strategy project, I was asked whether I would, “put my […]
January 5, 2012
Change management – a financial perspective
A number of threads on the Cognitive Edge blog highlight the frustration and difficulty in getting companies to use new […]
January 3, 2012
A turnip seed never grows into a parsnip
For those of us who travel extensively, one of the most valued Christmas gifts is the opportunity to take time […]
December 31, 2011
The Price is Right?
It will be difficult to apply ‘probe-sense-respond’ in business because the environment subconsciously prohibits experimentation. That would be my conclusion […]
December 13, 2011
Dots and patterns: making your competitors colour blind
An alternative title for this piece could have been “Narrative research—a practical introduction.” As stated previously, most of my clients […]
December 12, 2011
The winner is
The winner is Mr Steve Dawkins, and a copy of Obliquity is in the post. Thank you too for all […]
December 9, 2011
Create the demand to participate
I’m not sure if I always get the whole ‘change management’ thing. I have been in full-time employment for over […]
December 9, 2011
…and the winner is?
It seems that this won’t be the last post after all. In the next week or so I will post […]
December 8, 2011
Can using complicated tools to solve a complex problem make you ill?
My initial contact with Cognitive Edge was stimulated by a question; does anyone out there have experience of applying a […]
December 5, 2011
So what. Tell me who has used it, and how I can make it work
I am frequently asked to demonstrate to my commercially-minded, tight-budgeted, hard-nosed, doubting-Thomased clients that there is profitable proof of pragmatic […]
December 2, 2011
Can you handle the truth - Part II
In ‘Can you handle the truth – part I’ I referred to the conceptual importance of feedback loops. In part […]
December 2, 2011
Praise the Lord! We are a musical nation.
In business we spend a considerable amount of time discussing where we are going. Yet when we introduced to other […]
November 30, 2011
Can you handle the truth - part I
Last year I read ‘The Ghost of the Executed Engineer’ by Loren Graham. The book focuses on Peter Palchinsky, a […]
November 29, 2011
From Silence to Screams: Feedback loops in the Simple Domain
I have come to think of the Simple domain as the Enabling domain. However, most of our clients enjoy the […]
November 28, 2011
If you love your business, get involved
I had tired of the grouchiness of the Air Canada staff that welcomes you into their lounge at Pearson Airport, […]
October 25, 2011
Some concluding thoughts from Manchester Airport
So what does all this add up to in terms of the use of Cynefin and Sensemaker ideas in the […]
October 24, 2011
Sensemaker, Evaluation and the Logic of Interventions
There is a trick I pull in workshops that deal with models. I start by putting a toy elephant on […]
October 17, 2011
Sensemaker and Evaluation
My last blog was sent from the Air New Zealand transfer lounge in LA. This one is sent from Geneva. […]
October 13, 2011
More ways of using Cynefin in evaluation
There is strong tendency in the evaluation field right now to treat everything as if it were complex. In my […]
October 12, 2011
Two challenges and a puzzle
Let’s recap. The evaluation field tends to use things called “Logic Models” to assess and determine the “worth” of interventions. […]
October 11, 2011
The Vancouver Stanley Cup Riot through the Cynefin looking glass
One of the more fascinating applications of the Cynefin framework is dynamically plotting the unfolding of events as they occur. […]
October 11, 2011
Cynefin, Sensemaker and Evaluation. Some thoughts and puzzles
Kia ora tatou, Over the years I’ve written much about Cynefin and Sensemaker, but mostly aimed at those who know […]
October 7, 2011
So Where’s the Business Case?
I recently came across a book written by Eduardo Porter: The Price of Everything: Solving the Mystery of Why We […]
September 28, 2011
We see the world not as it is, but as we are
Several of you probably have come across the posting’s title or a variation of it. Today’s topic of interest is […]
September 15, 2011
One way to approach sensemaking
I am still writing up my thoughts on SenseMaker and sustainability that will be my last blog. And so, in […]
September 5, 2011
… And then a miracle happens (well, not quite)
Little has been written on how to develop a process based on the logic and method of SenseMaker. I remember […]
September 1, 2011
Evaluating SenseMaker
As I mentioned, 2011 is my year of action research on SenseMaker. I’ve got six cases to draw on (various […]
August 27, 2011
In which I introduce my year of action research on SenseMaker
The fun of guest blogs lies in their diversity. I’ve really enjoyed Tom’s philosophical reflections. In contrast, my blogs emanate […]
August 21, 2011
Thanks for the Opportunity and Cheers
My projects have got my full attention again and so I am signing off on the Guest Blog. Many thanks […]
August 16, 2011
The emptiness of thinking and the richness of experience
I’d like to comment on Keith’s comment about my notion in my first guest post that ideas in themselves are […]
August 14, 2011
On the Blind Spot for Complexity
Many thanks to readers of the Guest Blog for initial comments (I write better when I have someone to talk […]
August 12, 2011
German Character and Complexity
In a new Vanity Fair article on the role of the Germans in the international financial crisis, Michael Lewis, the […]
August 11, 2011
The Role of Narrative in Change
In my role as change manager, people in a company inevitably talk to me about what is not working in […]
August 9, 2011
The Literal Mind and Pattern Recognition
I have finally gotten around to reading a lovely novel recommended to me by a client in the financial business […]
August 8, 2011
Associations on Change and Letting Go of the Old
I’m looking forward to blogging on Cognitive Edge for the next couple of weeks, not knowing what to expect, and […]
June 21, 2011
The Volcano Principle
On 14 April 2010 a small volcano erupted in Iceland, and before people could even pronounce the name Eyjafjallajökull, all […]
June 2, 2011
Leadership Networks
The other day while working with a group of managers on succession planning and development, background stories emerged that hinted […]
May 31, 2011
Brine flies and petroglyphs
This weekend was a holiday here in the U.S. I took a day trip 200 miles north to Mono Lake […]
May 26, 2011
The thick and thin of it
Clifford Geertz, the cultural anthropologist who influenced the practice of symbolic anthropology, wrote “analysis, then, is sorting out the structures […]
May 24, 2011
Leadership of Attractors
In my last post I discussed how leadership could be viewed as interactions that create attractors. These are usually tactical, […]
May 12, 2011
The Unbearable Lightness of Blogging: Of words, innuendos and meaning
It’s out there!!! I am not a blogger. As a person, I possess no desire to publish a web log […]
April 25, 2011
When the facts won’t get you there
I thought I might finish these posts with sharing an offline exchange between myself and colleagues working on education policy. […]
April 20, 2011
“first the word, then the thought,”
Yesterday the Institute for Government released a series of reports on policy making in the UK. What is interesting about […]
April 18, 2011
Transitions without Train Wrecks
After an uneventful flight from Heathrow I am back in Canada, a little jet lagged and still processing the last […]
April 15, 2011
Big Society and Innovation
We are in London the next few days. I could rant about how the hotels here don’t get that people […]
April 13, 2011
Standing in the tragic gap
We have spent the day with a number of Finnish public sector people. I am always touched by the warmth […]
April 5, 2011
Making meaning out of apparent noise
We talk a lot about sense making and we use it to understand patterns within apparent noise. I want to […]
March 31, 2011
Know-how verses Know-why
This concept comes from Steve Haeckel, a colleague of Dave at IBM. Know-why knowledge is knowledge of the system and […]
March 26, 2011
If innovation is really encouraged by ‘starvation and pressure….’.
First of two mini posts today…… As I write this an estimated 300,000 people will be marching in Central London […]
March 24, 2011
Local Links and Coastal Lincs - how everything ties together in some way
A quick post from picturesque Durham station en-route to Lincoln. One cathedral city to another. A big moment of excitement […]
March 21, 2011
Twitter is Five Years Old and Sometimes it Makes Me Angry!
Last week was extremely busy and so my blogging was curtailed. This despite having nightmares about a bearded Celt and […]
March 15, 2011
Introductions - Why I find Biogs painful
Is it just me or does anyone else find ‘biogs’ embarrassing and a real pain to construct? When you are […]
February 27, 2011
Auf Wiedersehen
If you squint at the diagram while standing on our head you might see a reflection of Otto Scharmer’s “Theory […]
February 26, 2011
A Little Sunshine Please
In my previous post I described the paradox of knowledge as a chute that ends in a safe landing in […]
February 26, 2011
Master Chef’s Needed, Please Apply
We now have in hand four ingredients around which we can construct our recipe – Organizational Learning, Tension, Potential and […]
February 24, 2011
Here Lies Bureaucracy
I’ll use the term general management to distinguish the common, daily practice of work management from the other role based […]
February 24, 2011
The Black Heart of Bureaucracy
The tension I’ve found is a powerful force, it is felt quite strongly by some. Among them are some of […]
February 22, 2011
From the beginning
Looking back over my notes and doodlings, I spent a lot of time at first in exploring the domains. I […]
January 30, 2011
Farewell - and greetings
One final post before I pass the baton on to someone else. The European gang of Cognitive Edge practitioners/students/aspirers has […]
January 29, 2011
kun-ev’in - easy to overlook
It’s easy to forget, when you’ve been through an accreditation course and done some exercises here and there and are […]
January 27, 2011
Democracy - an endpoint, not a starting point
Always a risk, blogging on something you’re reading about when you haven’t finished the book yet. The author may return […]
January 26, 2011
Idealised futures can be dangerous
One of the elements, of course, from The Future, Backwards that contrasts with standard visioning – it’s not about some […]
January 26, 2011
Selling SenseMaker to the Mulla Nasrudin
Feeling slightly sheepish today – two discussions yesterday with people about the potential of SenseMaker. One great conversation that lead […]
January 23, 2011
Of castles, spirits, pigs and young girls
A diversion into popular culture today – but one with a different take on storytelling than the usual. In the […]
January 9, 2011
Clowns to the Left of Me, Jokers to the Right
It is with great regret that I report today the passing of Gerry Rafferty. Gerry co-wrote and sang the song […]
November 8, 2010
Strategy making in a complex world
Reactions on how to solve the financial crisis of 2008/2009 produced no real, innovative solutions – just more of the […]
October 9, 2010
Visualizing complexity
Although one can get often trapped by complex tools (thinking that they are ‘holistic’), there are two kinds of ‘tools’ […]
October 8, 2010
Creating space
Two little children were talking at the school yard of a mountain village of Greece, fifty years ago. The one […]
October 7, 2010
Facilitating change and the Pythagorean theoreum
In Greek mythology the three Fates were: Atropos (the inevitable), Clotho (the spin of the thread of life) and Lachesis […]
October 6, 2010
The Cynefin domains and the management functions
The four classical management functions are: planning, organizing, directing/leading, and controlling. They are in a rather linear sequence, along with […]
October 5, 2010
A community consultation project
Two years ago, a Greek NGO organized and carried out a community consultation project that aimed to shed light on […]
October 3, 2010
A narrative-based definition of conflict and crisis
Today we spent the day as a family, along with some other couples with kids at the age of my […]
October 2, 2010
Cynefin viewed as an archetypal model
As it is has been argued elsewhere, archetypal models aim to provide paradigms for human behavior and supply meaning and […]
October 1, 2010
The tragedy of Ajax
Some months ago, a friend had raised an interesting question that was derived from Sophocles’ tragedy “Aias” (Ajax). Ajax was […]
September 30, 2010
Non-linear tools in a linear attitude or vice versa?
Complexity theorists have often indicated that complex social problems appear intractable because they are approached in a linear and simplistic […]
September 29, 2010
Encountering with the shadow at the fifth domain
Referring to the domain of disorder, Dave and Cynthia argue that “often in a group (…) individuals compete to interpret […]
September 28, 2010
Life after IMF
Early this year, acknowledging our personal share of responsibility for the bad fiscal situation, the Greeks were ready to begin […]
September 27, 2010
Unfolding complex situations resembles onion peeling
As I was saying yesterday, during the last five years, I have used the Cynefin model as the basic template […]
September 26, 2010
Introducing complexity to public sector: the Greek experience
Hi, I am Stefanos Michiotis. I live nearby Athens, Greece and work as an independent trainer and consultant. For the […]
September 25, 2010
Going bush
A professional colleague of mine spends one month of every year with her partner in a part of Australia known […]
September 24, 2010
Art for art’s sake
One of the things I love to play with is perspective. I see Cognitive Edge has at least a few […]
September 22, 2010
Time tells
My 13 year and soon to be 15 year old daughters have completely different personalities, but as they grow up […]
September 22, 2010
Scouts - running the famous ‘children’s birthday party’ every week
The best blogs I’ve read have a good dose of reality as we connect bits in our lives up with […]
September 21, 2010
Making and managing links
We’re all human so finding any little advantage that helps us to get an edge is worth a shot. I […]
September 20, 2010
Would you like a verb with that?
Struggling with writing is an occupational hazard for some people and more so if the writer cares about the reader. […]
September 19, 2010
From disciplinarity to research processes
Sometimes a number of factors such as postgraduate study and a shift in career focus conspire to make you mixing […]
September 17, 2010
It’s called teaming
Multidisciplinary work should almost be the natural order of things for some disciplines, though reading some of the literature there […]
September 16, 2010
Towards a discussion on multidisciplinary studies and research
Celebrating a significant birthday in the last few weeks fits with having a bit of a rethink of what is […]
September 15, 2010
A treat for the senses
If you’ve done a bit of travelling, you tend to pick up a few stories from interesting places. One which […]
September 14, 2010
Stretching the definition of narrative
I’d like to explore the idea of narrative not being limited to words or text. It makes sense really, as […]
September 11, 2010
Can you tell what it is yet?
A few weeks ago I spent a day with other European Cognitive Edge practitioners who got together at Luton Airport […]
September 9, 2010
Narrative refit
We have a wonderful set of guides at Coventry Cathedral who add a tremendous amount of value for visitors by […]
September 8, 2010
Impact of Cultural Differences Part 2
Over a year ago Dave Snowden wrote a blog entitled “The occult insignificance of meaningless numbers” in which he stated […]
September 7, 2010
Impact of Cultural Differences Part 1
I remember my first time in a supermarket in the USA, it was over 20 years ago and I was […]
September 5, 2010
How many uses are there for a bell curve…
I’m working on a meatier blog for the next few days, so tonight just a link with minimal comment to […]
September 2, 2010
Understanding in Context
Dave Snowden blogged recently on the importance of context and said None of us know how we would act in […]
September 1, 2010
Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition
It’s been a long day and I offer a little light relief in the shape of this YouTube video. For […]
August 31, 2010
Proverbs 2:6
I’m just back from two days at Greenbelt, a Christian arts festival held every year at the Cheltenham race course […]
August 30, 2010
Hello, it’s a pleasure to be Guest Blogger here on the Cognitive Edge site! To get my stint off the […]
August 27, 2010
The Emergence of Chaos, Complexity, Complication and Order
I think Complexity Theory is great and is certainly a more relevant approach than how people have been treating human […]
August 27, 2010
A “Work of Art”
Ive been an artist and designer all my life dabbling in drawing, paint, sculpture, animation, interaction, music, etc.., more recently […]
August 26, 2010
Money, “Real World”, Pretend, Law and Order, Cops, Getting Fired, etc…
So I was just at Bojangles… which by the way is an AWESOME Cajun/Southern fast food restaurant here in the […]
August 26, 2010
Be the Chaos! (social entropy)
Maybe my best advice would be “Be the Chaos!”? Or maybe according to the Cynefin framework, it would be “Be […]
August 25, 2010
Culture and Society and Identity
A lot of people might say that we act according to our culture, or that it is a part of […]
August 24, 2010
The Science of the Past
I heard this hinted on a few times before, but never a really good argument or reflection… How many people […]
August 23, 2010
Phenomenology - Epistemology - Ontology
I think that a lot of what people perceive as problems stem from a few simple notions regarding the confusion […]
August 20, 2010
Ontology as System I would recommend reading any research done by this group, but this article especially regarding “autopoesis” and “ontogeny”… Good […]
August 19, 2010
The “Emergent Interpretant”
Symbolic Interactionism (Herbert Blumer): 1. “Humans act toward things on the basis of the meanings they ascribe to those things.” […]
August 18, 2010
Freedom vs. Security
“figure it out”… a sort of tag line… it includes both figuring things out as in you are the constructor […]
August 16, 2010
Introductions and a little background
Hello all, I hope to post at least an entry a day during my time on here… ive always thought […]
August 14, 2010
2 degrees of separation
Reading David’s blog entry of August 12th on overhearing conversations, I thought about a kiwi take on this. If this […]
August 14, 2010
Flotsam and Jetsam
You know an airport lounge is a strange place. I’m stuck in Toronto again for four hours between a flight […]
August 12, 2010
Latest “toy”
Just a short entry today and I blame it on my latest “toy” … I am a “born again mind […]
August 9, 2010
Ladies a plate
Over the past few days another example of spontaneous order came to mind. I live in a small village that […]
August 7, 2010
Spontaneous Order
The work of Fredrick Hayek has been of interest to me since I worked on my PhD. In a round […]
August 5, 2010
Hectors World
A recent article from the Observer talked about the availability of various services that “manage the internet footprint that people […]
August 3, 2010
What did you dream about last night?
I mentioned in my introduction that since I turned 40 I have challenged myself to move outside my comfort zone. […]
July 31, 2010
It’s 4.03 and I can’t sleep…
… ok, not really. It’s about half eleven on a Saturday morning now and the final day of my stint […]
July 22, 2010
Between introversion and extroversion
Over the past month I have had a chance to delve into facilitating anecdote circles for a project. I did […]
July 21, 2010
Of fishes, fishing, and feeding
I have not been spoonfed, whether literally or figuratively, since I was, say, three and a half. Even as a […]
July 20, 2010
The Spirit of Inquiry
My favourite word since childhood is ‘why’. When overused in childhood it is a cause of exasperation or amusement but […]
July 7, 2010
The Origins of Cynefin - Part 2
Back in March I started a series on the origins of Cynefin. The first post described the original inspiration from […]
July 6, 2010
Introductions are in order: Cynefin and Theory of Constraints
I discovered Cognitive Edge and the Cynefin Model after learning, studying, applying and dabbling in a number of other models […]
June 16, 2010
Navigation: how we see sites and evolve their meaning
In 2010 wikis are widespread, a common and practical tool for distributed content creation, language and shared value emergence. The […]
June 14, 2010
Wikis as a Complex-Adaptive System
Well, hello! I’ve been away at a conference for the last week so hopefully I can make up for it […]
June 4, 2010
A poem
In this blog I am going to try to make sense of Cynefin and I use verse to do it. […]
May 30, 2010
Time out….but not really!!!!
Haven’t blogged for a couple of days because I took time out to relax on the glorious Hawkesbury River, which […]
May 23, 2010
I would like to introduce myself. I am Professor Liz Fulop from the Griffith Business School (GBS) at Griffith University, […]
May 21, 2010
Idea: A Network of Practitioners, and then some in Denmark
Yesterday, I had a great meeting with Søren Raaschou, who is an accredited Cognitive Edge practitioner, just like me. We […]
May 15, 2010
Applying Game Theory in Petanque
Another passion of mine is the French game “Petanque“, and today I’ve been playing it all day long. Again. I […]
May 13, 2010
Is the pursuit of dreams = inefficiency?
Friday last week the Danish newspaper “Kristelig Dagblad” brought a whole page about people pursuing their dreams to make a […]
May 10, 2010
Turning a passion into a job
I’m about to bag my third job. Not in a row. No, at the same time. Besides running my own […]
May 8, 2010
Alice through the glass ceiling or Tweedledum Tweedledee and Tweedledem
As we suspected a hung parliament which means a period of negotiation starting with the Conservative Cameron and the Liberal […]
May 6, 2010
Trusting in the least worst
The politicians are arriving at their final destinations for polling day in the UK, and the electorate will begin voting […]
May 2, 2010
“What goes without saying comes without saying” Bourdieu
No phone has turned up so I am now in the process of getting another one with all the associated […]
April 28, 2010
Mobile misery
Today I thought I might be a bit more learned in this blog and then the world turned upside down […]
April 27, 2010
Whose Healthcare…?
We have now had 2 national TV debates between the leaders of the three main parties and surprisingly the also […]
April 26, 2010
Change? - will that be 30p then?
Well where do we go from here – a phrase we are hearing all around us in the UK as […]
April 23, 2010
Continuing on culture in the workplace
Continuing on from from my last post I’m wondering how culture impacts how knowledge gets used in the workplace. When […]
April 23, 2010
Thanks for the opportunity
I’m up early this morning and looking out the windows over the grounds of abandoned fireworks factory next to my […]
April 21, 2010
How we deal with culture in KM
Knowledge Management is culture specific. How a group interacts, chooses to include and exclude members, how to express importance or […]
April 19, 2010
Notes on Japan & Toyota – No. 2
This continues on from a post in late February when the Toyota quality problem was all over the news, see […]
April 17, 2010
The Knowledge Wheel
  This posting is derived from an earlier post from my Baoman’s blog. This is based on a much more […]
April 13, 2010
Emic & Etic
In knowledge management there is quite a lot of interest and use of anthropological and ethnographic methodologies. It is important […]
April 10, 2010
Blogging from Macau
I’m very happy to do this CE guest blogging for the next two weeks. I started blogging earlier this year […]
April 6, 2010
Happy holidays
I am not sure why I have become intolerant to “happy holidays” as a greeting for our special religious periods. […]
April 2, 2010
The water company engineers story
The story of the water company engineers has always interested me. I expect most of you have heard Dave speak […]
March 30, 2010
Let no man despise thy youth
I have in recent times noticed significant discussion around expertise and the role of the expert as a deeply experienced […]
March 28, 2010
The power of informal systems
In the past week or so I have had the privilege of meeting ad talking with some extraordinary young Australians […]
March 22, 2010
Some more ‘necessaries – but not sufficients’ ……
One of the areas we explored at some length in the recent practitioner conversation in Melbourne, related to the skills […]
March 18, 2010
Language as a necessary – but not sufficient – tool of disruption……
In one of my earlier lives, I undertook assignments in workplace reform in some of our traditional and highly unionised […]
March 17, 2010
The unintended consequences of a sideways intervention……
I live with my 3 dogs on 4 acres… and need someone on site who can look after things when […]
March 15, 2010
On being a disruptive technology……
As I am nearing my 40th year of self employment, being a disruptive technology is a helpful notion – especially […]
March 14, 2010
Cynefin jigsaws?
I grew up with jigsaw puzzles – my mother was disappointed when a birthday or Christmas passed without a new […]
March 11, 2010
The vexed issue of language
In our work at the Foundation, we have developed a language of our own with phrases like “speaking Greek to […]
March 9, 2010
What do you mean, evidence?
When I was a statistician, I had almost complete professional freedom, as the people I worked for or with did […]
March 8, 2010
Bed-time ritual
When my daughter was two or three years old, she asked for a story one night, and of course, being […]
March 4, 2010
Reflections from a statistician
Well, I suppose a lapsed statistician is a more accurate description of my current status in the field of statistics […]
March 3, 2010
Serendipitous synchronicity
In our work at the Foundation, we have experienced one example after the other of happy coincidence. We would go […]
March 1, 2010
The journey begins …
The last year or so has been a fascinating roller-coaster ride of excitement and frustration as a small team of […]
February 25, 2010
Reflexions III: The Meetings
The main thing I’m supposed to be doing as a guest blogger this week is reflecting on how accreditation courses […]
February 24, 2010
Reflexions II: The Metaphor
As part of this reflective exercise, I’ve been going through a lot of old notes from the early days of […]
February 23, 2010
Reflexions I: The Model (continued)
More loose, unstable thoughts that need their own contextualization. What’s most interesting to me about the Cynefin model is that […]
February 22, 2010
Reflexions I: The Model
While most converts to the new science argue that complexity theory is a better way of looking at virtually anything, […]
February 21, 2010
Spirituality at Work
I was at a dialogue yesterday in Pasadena hosted by the Business Renaissance Institute. Like BRI, my interest in “spirituality […]
February 20, 2010
Digesting the Accreditation Course
So I’ve enjoyed the last three days in San Diego with Michael Cheveldave, Craig Horangic and a diverse dozen participants […]
February 17, 2010
How does an organization know what it knows?
How does an organization know what it knows? That question drives a lot of interest in knowledge management. It drives […]
February 15, 2010
KM Definitions or Metaphors?
As a writer and consultant, my work straddles the realms of organizational knowledge and learning (which often seem mutually exclusive) […]
February 14, 2010
Time Differences
I’m supposed to start guest blogging Sunday, but it is still Saturday night where I am. A few hours ago, […]
February 9, 2010
Experiment on your friends
My first two Future Backwards facilitations were done small scale, for friends and for free. They gave me the confidence […]
February 8, 2010
Avoiding client rejection later, annoy them now…
One pattern we saw in early SenseMaker projects was challenge and (on occasion) rejection of results by the end client. […]
February 6, 2010
Toothache, Faceache and adaptation
Having spent a couple of hours in the dentist’s chair this morning, I feel like Faceache (from Buster, one of […]
February 4, 2010
Ah-ha moments
The past week has been a major mix of approaches, headsets and sectors. I’ve run a masterclass on Internal Communications, […]
February 1, 2010
A practitioner’s viewpoint
It’s a little daunting to step up to take the microphone following on from Russell. I am, of necessity, going […]
January 13, 2010
When One Blue Crayon Isn’t Enough by April K. Mills
There are more colors in nature than in any size box of crayons. Yet, with a box of eight crayons, […]
January 6, 2010
Cargo Cult by April K. Mills
If you don’t know what the term cargo cult means, you must. The stylized version of the story behind the […]
December 30, 2009
Cross domain confusion.
I’ve just recently decided to get started using Twitter, which I don’t completely understand yet, but most likely because most […]
December 11, 2009
Tiger Tiger in the night …
How can a man fail to finish a fortnight of blogging without a comment on the worlds’ number one golfer? […]
December 10, 2009
Stockholm 2009 Deserves its own Blog
How could I finish this fortnight as a guest blogger without tackling the two juiciest issues of the week. So […]
December 9, 2009
Personal Responsibility vs Rules and Regulations
I wondered today if I was alone in a futile search for the opportunity to make up my own mind […]
December 7, 2009
Do you believe in doughnuts?
I was assailed at the airport the other day with a diabolically difficult choice, Dunkin Doughnuts, Crispy Creams, the ones […]
December 7, 2009
Science, Truth, Sound bites & The News
About once a day I make the fundamental error of either turning on the radio and hearing a news broadcast […]
December 6, 2009
What should I read?
For years I have seriously and semi systematically read the right books, the ones everyone recommends, the ones with really […]
December 5, 2009
Bite sized learning, the new age
For my sins ‘ what a perfectly stupid phrase’ I am an involved in executive education. Once we ran workshops […]
December 4, 2009
Airplane seats
Sometimes I find myself climbing on board a aircraft and looking at the seating, I can see and then feel […]
December 1, 2009
Teenage & Adolescent Violence – Problem Solving Incompetence
As your guest blogger I am indulging my various prejudices and idiosyncratic concerns. Today its problem solving incompetence! Seems to […]
November 30, 2009
Environment, Ecology and The Point?
I notice as I read other people’s blogs, that I am essentially an antisocial creature, not necessarily a total disadvantage […]
November 29, 2009
About Sensemaker and following Chris’ comment on the 28th
One of the experiences we have had with narrative capture involves the process of persuading people to actually go into […]
November 25, 2009
I have been using SenseMaker™ for a while now and am still amazed at how some think that it will […]
November 22, 2009
Baggage Handling - Aussie style
Last night I travelled the well worn path back to Canberra for the next Accreditation course. Whilst we had a […]
November 19, 2009
Learning to learn - the “Ah ha” moment
As I complete final preparations for the next Cognitive Edge Accreditation course which I am co-facilitating with Steve and Viv […]
November 18, 2009
Reflections in nature
Having been exposed to complexity and its strong connection with the natural world, I am now always taking a camera […]
November 17, 2009
An Ordered approach to a Complex world
One of the biggest challenges with senior executives we face is getting them to understand that dealing with complex issues […]
November 16, 2009
What is it about context?
These days I am more aware of the importance of context than ever – especially when it comes to dealing […]
November 15, 2009
Introduction - my journey into Complexity
It is great to have been asked to be a guest blogger for Cognitive Edge! I thought it worthwhile sharing […]
November 6, 2009
Creating chefs from recipes
I had a particular identification with Dave’s “The chef & the recipe book user” blog. I don’t think it should […]
October 16, 2009
Spandrels and exaptations
Brunelleschi or other architects of the renaissance did not set out to design spandrels, those curved triangular areas between the […]
October 16, 2009
Priming, framing, and exaptations
Psychology, mass media research, and even behavioral economics have of late become very interested in the phenomenon called priming or […]
October 14, 2009
Under the classical, mechanstic paradigm, identities were delimited by crisp, sharp edges — crisply defined conceptual boundaries, if you will. […]
October 14, 2009
Imprisoning neology
Today’s front page of the Wall St Journal has a hilarious article on the serious debate in France concerning whether […]
October 10, 2009
Eat my words time!
I guess Nobels also go for hope. I guess, too, that just as there are sins of omission there are […]
October 8, 2009
How do you Spot Radical Novelty?
Are the following incompatible? 1. Manufacturers and their sales force want the very “design of everyday things” to point to […]
October 7, 2009
Celebrate the Season… and Innovate
I love October. Tis the season of Nobel, MacArthur, and Booker awards — celebrations of true accomplishments not celebrity. And […]
October 5, 2009
The Short-lived Concepts of Blackmail & Privacy
I just learned that the very concept of blackmail didn’t really exist prior to the 19th century. Before the rise […]
October 4, 2009
Complexity Theory in Cuba…..
Or is it just Cuban complexity? I’m currently consumed with getting the word out about Complejidad 2010, the 5th biennial […]
October 3, 2009
Making Education Dangerous, Pt. 1
One approach to making education dangerous is to borrow from complexity principles, and begin with humility regarding the path towards […]
October 3, 2009
Making Education Dangerous, Pt. 2.
The U.S. education system is broken. The data are clear, and those with means continue to flee the system – […]
October 1, 2009
Education Needs to be Dangerous
Atop the ancient fortress at Dun Aengus, the Bride and I were nearly alone. (Travel tip: When visiting the Aran […]
September 26, 2009
Context is Changed - Rock of Cashel
I’ve been titling the last few posts in terms of how context can shift over time. This is not intended […]
September 25, 2009
Context is Lost - Newgrange
Raise a glass, when you get a chance, to T.B. Naylor, who, one day in 1891, found himself or herself […]
September 24, 2009
Context is Layered - Making Sense at Knowth/Cnogbha
When you visit Knowth, you stand amidst “passage tombs,” most likely built over 6,000 years ago. Surrounded by massive kerbstones […]
September 22, 2009
Are Chefs Knowledge Workers?
My son-in-law recently directed me to a resource that spoke highly of “manual labor,” as a gentle admonition to me. […]
September 21, 2009
My Daughter is Not a Knowledge Worker
“I could never do your job, Dad. When I leave work, I actually clock out. Ca-chunk, and I can go […]
September 20, 2009
Introduction and How’r'ye?
Well, greetings! Adding a bit to the cheeky bio above: My professional biography includes eight years in the U.S. Air […]
September 15, 2009
But why did it work?
I’ve just had the experience of upgrading the operating system on my mac, and coming from a Microsoft background, I […]
September 8, 2009
Mass capture and recognising patterns
I spent a bit of time today playing around with a programming language that I’m not overly familiar with as […]
September 7, 2009
Chicken and the Egg
I’m currently living in the UK and have now been here for just over 4 years. While in general it […]
September 2, 2009
Piloting Social Media
A good blog by Michael Indinopulis, “Enterprise 2.0: Skip the Pilot” introduces a nice complex notion. His actual premise is […]
September 1, 2009
Word of the day: Stigmergy
I’m on vacation in Wisconsin, with a little time to catch up on reading and blogging at the local Internet […]
August 28, 2009
Beach poems, patterns
I took a day off to go to the beach with my friend Pam yesterday. We’ve been taking these days […]
August 26, 2009
Keeping the puppies in the box
I spent most of my career working for a company that was full of smart, independent thinkers who were difficult […]
August 24, 2009
In Formation
I’m happy to be back here guest-blogging on the Cognitive Edge. I thought it would be good to start my […]
August 21, 2009
Success is a self-correcting strategy
This has been an exciting week for us. We’re in the final stages of an exciting project where we’re using […]
August 18, 2009
Culture at Netflix
I’m in two minds about this slide deck by Netflix – Reference Guide on our Freedom & Responsibility Culture. On […]
August 17, 2009
Standing on the shoulders of giants
I found this link on a friend’s Facebook post. It’s by no means a complete list, but it’s interesting to […]
August 14, 2009
It’s as if the ghost is controlling the machine
Ever since I heard Dave speaking on identities, specifically in the context of understanding the behavior of customers, employees etc, […]
August 11, 2009
“A good metaphor is something even the police should keep an eye on”
I really enjoy the title quote by G.C. Lichtenberg. I also think it’s quite true. In fact, the more we […]
August 10, 2009
HARNESSing knowledge
This is my second opportunity to be a CE Guest Blogger – having just returned from a week’s vacation, I’m […]
August 6, 2009
The Europeans are Coming!
I’m well into my fourth day here in LA, and our hotel has just been taken over by various Europeans, […]
August 6, 2009
UK Leader Calls for Customer Service!
I’m currently being exposed to the ‘joys’ of Disney and my girls of course are enjoying the whole experience. Back […]
August 3, 2009
LA - Home of the Beautiful?
My apologies, it’s been a few days since my last guest blog entry, I’m on the move again. This time […]
July 20, 2009
‘Real’ speak not academic speak
Well having survived a night in the hotel room with a 7 year old who just couldn’t sleep, and an […]
July 20, 2009
MacLeod Review says people potential should be ‘unleashed’
Well I might be in Paris with all its attractions and distractions, including good coffee, haute cuisine – oh and […]
July 16, 2009
Service, service service!
Well my girls discovered a new time in their lives today, and were amazed that there are actually two 5 […]
July 13, 2009
Off to Paris!
This is my first blog for Cognitive Edge, so welcome to my thoughts and musings! An interesting and challenging couple […]
July 10, 2009
Good governance
Yesterday I had the privilege to attend a selected meeting of directors of hospitals and other relevant cure and care […]
July 7, 2009
Today I have run a workshop with some great technicians in the field of orthopedic instruments. A management team comes […]
July 3, 2009
Talking machines
Yesterday a had a very interesting “engagement” with a parking ticket machine. I visited the ministry of Health Care and […]
June 30, 2009
29 June 2009
I started my first blog end of March last year. As a market researcher I’m obsessed with figures. As a […]
June 14, 2009
Thanks a lot, see you….
It is my last day as a guest blog. Also this has been my first blogging experience… I found it […]
June 13, 2009
Obama - UK
I am not English as many of you know, but I have been living in UK for the best part […]
June 11, 2009
This morning I have taken the plane to Aberdeen for work. Airports are just such strange places, are the places […]
June 10, 2009
The flu and my parents
Today I have been house bound as I have the flu (or a really bad cold, not sure how you […]
June 8, 2009
Saturday night in A&E and complexity…. A good match?
Sorry for the silence at the week end…. It was actually a quite difficult week-end as my son (who has […]
June 6, 2009
This must be the worst story of the year…
What is wrong with us…. This is just an un-believable story… do not know if these kind of things […]
June 4, 2009
very good book
I just finished reading the Road by Cormac McCarthy, actually I just finished listening to it, as I bought it […]
June 3, 2009
London vs. Paris
I got back from London late last night… Too tired to blog again. London is a really “strange” place. London […]
June 2, 2009
Train to London today….
On the train to London today for some internal meetings… I must say I do not share Dave “love for […]
June 1, 2009
MP and swimming pools
On Friday I was watching “Have I got News from you” a satiric program on the BBC where comedians comments […]
May 31, 2009
The first time….Back from Cornwell..
Hi All, This is my first time blogging…. So, let’s start and se how it goes… We just got back […]
May 29, 2009
Taking measured steps
I know the theory of goal-setting, but it’s a very different thing to live it. As mentioned in a previous […]
May 28, 2009
Always do the scary thing.
You know how it is with advice – you love to give it and avoid taking it. However, on a […]
May 26, 2009
The university at which I work is on the banks of the Swan River, a broad, calm stretch of water […]
May 25, 2009
Something new something old
Did I miss something? Are management and teambuilding games seriously out of favour? Was there a whole debate that happened […]
May 22, 2009
My pedometer and me
If you are interested in the interplay between virtual communities and action in the real world have a look at […]
May 21, 2009
The complex life of guavas
I was struck by the allusion that Dave Snowden and Mary Boone used in their November 2007 Harvard Business Review […]
May 20, 2009
Backwards and forward
Although I have been working with Cognitive Edge techniques for the last 5 years, I have never had an opportunity […]
May 19, 2009
Distance and connectedness
I live in one of the more isolated cities in the world. Perth in Western Australia is a city of […]
May 18, 2009
thanks for reading
I just wanted to sneak in a quick thankyou and an invitation to those who read my guest blog over […]
May 15, 2009
low tech and on the ground - Cog Edge methods at work
I want to relate a story from the OD trenches that speaks to the simplicity and power of anecdotes and […]
May 12, 2009
old knowledge ignored
Back to my hometown of Rossland for a moment. Of the 1500 or so houses that make up this mountain […]
May 8, 2009
bewitched by the binders
Nothing quite like finalizing plans for a flu pandemic to cast a light on biased approaches to planning and action. […]
May 4, 2009
Greetings all. I’ve been looking forward to my upcoming role as Cog Edge’s guest blogger. To jump right in: One […]
April 29, 2009
From technological networks to social networks (2)
There has been in the last decade much emphasis in American strategic thinking on technological network, following the work of […]
April 23, 2009
From technological networks to social networks (1)
In my first post I alluded to my Twitter experiment and how it had been an eye opener for me […]
April 20, 2009
Confessions of a twitterati
It is a great honor for me to be asked to be the Cognitive Edge Guest Blogger this fortnight. I […]
April 18, 2009
Last post. Thanks all!
Thank you for reading. I had never blogged before and I must say that two weeks is way too short […]
April 16, 2009
On youth, complexity and an expanding universe
Perhaps people reading my posts at CE’s guest blog now think that I have an obsession with environment and such. […]
April 13, 2009
Answering Jim
Hello Jim Grant, Thanks for your comment.You raise a very interesting point, and I haven’t figured out the answer. So […]
April 12, 2009
Chris Martenson’s Crash Course – the money system
Aside from being fascinated, I felt worried after having watched the Arithmetic, Population, and Energy lecture by Bartlett – see […]
April 9, 2009
Some more about Bartlett, and perhaps on to Martenson
Continuing my last post: there’s a magic thing about doubling time, which in the tale of the emperor and his […]
April 7, 2009
Hi friends - continued
I’m afraid something went wrong with the links in my previous post. Sorry, I still have to get the hang […]
April 5, 2009
Dear friends
This is my very first and therefore utterly serious post as a guest blogger for the Cognitive Edge site. When […]
March 26, 2009
Before a man can decide what he will do, he must first determine what he will not do 人有不為也而後可以有為 Thanks […]
March 25, 2009
Gareth Morgan
Ideas about organizations are always based on implicit images or metaphors that persuade us to see, understand, and manage situations […]
March 24, 2009
Talents are best nurtured in solitude, but character is best formed in the stormy billows of the world.
March 23, 2009
The Katha Upanishad
When a person lacks discrimination And his mind is undisciplined, the senses Run hither and thither like wild horses. But […]
March 19, 2009
Poison Ivy and Itchy Bits
This week I am at Yale for our company’s executive leadership skills class. I affectionately refer to it as reprogramming, […]
March 16, 2009
A fish in a tree. How can that be?
I hope to be able to write on a more frequent basis. If for no other reason that to catch […]
March 12, 2009
Here in 60 Seconds
A fantastic journey awaits those who are interested. The crew over at Seed Magazine has put together a video that […]
March 9, 2009
Wealth Distribution
I am making my way through the The Strategic Mind and it is a very interesting read. David referenced the […]
March 7, 2009
All living things seem driven at the most basic levels to self-repair. Multi-cellular organisms have a particular obsession with it […]
March 1, 2009
I have a friend who is a designer. When he talks about a company’s product he has the habit of […]
February 25, 2009
Skin carries – and reveals – the memory of the body’s interaction with the world, whether it is as an […]
February 23, 2009
The Body Corporate
I have a few posts in mind which will attempt to use what we know of the human body as […]
February 23, 2009
Happy Birthday Liberty
Today is the 75th birthday of Liberty, what used to be the National Council for Civil Liberties in the UK. […]
February 14, 2009
Agile Software Narratives and other examples
Some time ago we announced a narratives project around the practice and community of Agile Software development. It got stuck […]
February 9, 2009
The reality of software development
The (London) Times had a front page recently on the juggernaut that is the NHS IT project. First there was […]
February 8, 2009
Introducing myself
I somehow find myself as the guest blogger for a couple of weeks. My format introduction is: Steve Freeman is […]
February 7, 2009
Call to Action
When I wrote ‘The Strategic Mind’ I was determined that it would be a practical book. As a result I […]
February 6, 2009
Seven Disciplines of Strategic Thinking – Reflect/Be Simple
Today we take a look at the fifth and sixth disciplines in my book, ‘reflect’ and ‘be simple’. Last year […]
February 5, 2009
Seven Disciplines of Strategic Thinking – Act Slowly/Serve Others
Today I am taking a brief look at the third and fourth disciplines in my book, ‘act slowly’ and ‘serve […]
February 4, 2009
Seven Disciplines of Strategic Thinking - Know Your Own Story/Think Small
At the core of my book, ‘The Strategic Mind, The Journey to Leadership through Strategic Thinking’ lie seven key disciplines […]
February 3, 2009
The Three Illusions
The foundations for strategic leadership are based on two key elements, the capability to think outside the box and to […]
February 2, 2009
The Nature of Strategic Thinking
The key to strategic thinking is to be able to see a bigger picture, to distinguish the wood from the […]
February 1, 2009
The Space Between Denial and Despair
It’s always nice to be invited to do something of real meaning so when Dave asked me to step in […]
January 27, 2009
Point of View
As my first guest blog I thought it appropriate to start off with some remarks on the issue of “point […]
January 24, 2009
Flashing Images
In an earlier blog I spoke of a tongue-in-cheek desire to assemble a catalog of perceptual patterns humans are likely […]
January 23, 2009
The Power of Social Networks
Following up on my earlier ‘Choose your Friends’ blog there were a few comments which speculated that the study’s conclusion […]
January 20, 2009
Tomorrow’s Inauguration
Tomorrow’s inauguration of Barack Obama is indisputably an incredibly momentous occasion. His election indicates that the habitual patterns of our […]
January 17, 2009
Choose Your Friends Carefully
A recently published study by Nick Christakis and James Fowler, described in BMJ, a British Medical Journal claims that our […]
January 16, 2009
Learning on the Job
I was reminded of a large study we concluded in the fall of 2008 on employee attitudes about their quality […]
January 14, 2009
Erroneous Brain Heuristics
The following is in response to several comments I received about communities of practice (CoP) mentioned in an earlier blog. […]
January 12, 2009
Greetings from snowy Truckee, California (just north of Lake Tahoe high in the Sierra Nevada). In the spirit of providing […]
December 21, 2008
From Richard Lalleman
In order to graduate with an MSc in Information and Knowledge Management I was required to submit a research dissertation. […]
December 17, 2008
The guest blog is now open to contributions from anyone, including past guests. Details in the header on the front […]
December 14, 2008
Until We Meet Again
This guest blog has been a great example of self-organizing process for me. At least at my intrapersonal scale, it […]
December 13, 2008
Is Dominance a Difference that Makes a Difference?
I’m curious these days about dominance, its role in human systems, and its function in complex adaptation. In an intervention […]
December 12, 2008
So, what about accountability?
Recently many of my conversations have focused on accountability. Sometimes the context is management of a complex project in an […]
December 10, 2008
Shorts and Not-So-Simples
The Virtual Open House was great fun! We had holiday tunes, pictures and quotes, greeting cards, audience chat, multiple voices, […]
December 9, 2008
Celebrating Uncertainty: Happy New Year 2009
On December 9 from 2 to 4:30 CST, HSD Institute is hosting a Virtual Open House. The theme is CELEBRATING […]
December 8, 2008
Chaos and Conflict
Conflict is ubiquitous. Employees cope with anxiety. Blog readers challenge bloggers. Family members fight for attention. Neighbors bicker over boundaries. […]
December 6, 2008
Communication in a CAS
I’m preparing for the next webinar in the series Strategy to Action: The Power of Human Systems Dynamics ( This […]
December 4, 2008
Network of Networks
Of all the chaos and complexity metaphors, one that is increasingly relevant to my work in communities is the scale-free […]
December 3, 2008
Zone of Chaos
The “edge of chaos” doesn’t exist in my world. Yes, I know it is only a metaphor, but I don’t […]
December 2, 2008
Is that all?
Lunch on Friday was with a particularly business-savvy academic. We are committed to offering a Masters degree in Human Systems […]
December 1, 2008
Thanks, Dave, for the invitation to this shared inquiry. There is nothing like a probing question, a rousing discussion, or […]
November 30, 2008
goodbye, it’s time for another
Jochum opened his guest blog with a quote from the book which radically changed his perspective. As I say goodbye […]
November 29, 2008
three models of systems … or five
Please note that this post is NOT by Dave Snowden; it is a guest blog.  Unfortunately in the last rebuild […]
November 27, 2008
it may be a worldview thing
My previous post was essentially about different worldviews reflected/reinforced in differing views of “complexity”. Before I am done my guest […]
November 27, 2008
serious play in a complex party
Reading Dave’s post regarding “The major obstacle to the adoption of social computing” (which Dave says is “the IT department […]
November 26, 2008
two ships passing …
Prior to training in Cognitive Edge and SenseMaker (in Amsterdam, Sept. 2008), I hadn’t been excited by a “new way” […]
November 25, 2008
I’ve suddenly realized that writer’s block might come because there is too much you want to say, rather than too […]
November 24, 2008
bankers’ party story
Today’s New York Times has a story about the reckoning for Citigroup: “Our job is to set a tone at […]
November 23, 2008
and who could stand unawed ?
On Thursday night I attended an fundraising art auction for my wife’s employer, the Regina Early Learning Centre, and was […]
November 22, 2008
archetypes in the financial meltdown
Apparently the roles of kids in a neighborhood have alway been a rich source of metaphors in the financial industry. […]
November 21, 2008
who will write this stuff ?
A bit more about Clay Shirkey. Observing blogs, wikipedia, and the rest of Web 2.0, the question is asked: “Where […]
November 20, 2008
small pieces, loosely joined
In my previous post, I suggested that “grand narrative” doesn’t work very well in a blog. In many respects, I […]
November 19, 2008
What is great writing … in a blog?
I read quite a few blogs. Interestingly, I know of several that regularly write very well, in depth, on topics […]
November 18, 2008
Signing in from western Canada
Jochum is a very tough act to follow! And it just gets worse when he tells us that he is […]
November 6, 2008
The grand future
At the moment it looks as if Amsterdam is falling apart. Or is it being rebuild in a grand future? […]
November 1, 2008
Candle burning out
In parallel with the practicing of Cognitive Edge methods my interest in music attracted me to the idea of running […]
October 31, 2008
Hooded figures on the Fens
Its Halloween and we just got back to Peterborough in time for our usual trick or treaters. When the kids […]
October 29, 2008
Memories of a Rock Fan
Driving round Sunderland this week has brought back so many memories of my youth, none more than all the bands […]
October 27, 2008
The Dragon Paradox
“Fairy Tales are more than true; not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that […]
October 26, 2008
The Venerable Bede
The venerable Bede was a constant presence in my upbringing in Sunderland, I went to Bede School and I was […]
October 25, 2008
We used to mackem, you used to tackem
Arrived in Sunderland (on the north-east coast of England) to look after my Dad while the rest of the family […]
October 23, 2008
The three little neuronal correlates
The first little neural correlate deserves a hat tip to PsyBlog for linking to an interesting and very relevant piece […]
October 22, 2008
An orgy of consumption
I have for a long time been a fan of the Riverford Farm and its organic veg boxes (source of […]
October 22, 2008
Hive Mind
Something vibrant and visual to cheer you up. I stumbled upon this prototype of a Flickr search engine called Hive […]
October 21, 2008
Sustainability Workshop with a Cognitive Edge
Inspired by my recent ‘Tales to Sustain’ storytellers gathering, I am currently developing an Organisational Sustainability workshop for those organisations […]
October 20, 2008
The law of emergent bureaucracy
In the final weeks of English Nature I was running a workshop for Price Waterhouse and I asked “if anyone […]
October 19, 2008
Take me to the bridge
Start with a picture of Wales to keep Dave happy. Last weekend I took cynefin home to North Wales and […]
October 19, 2008
Bet you can’t do this
A nice test of your perception for a Sunday evening – from the Open University. Bet you can’t do this
October 2, 2008
Cognitive Complexity
The reference for the study on cognitive complexity of presidents is below. I see that it was written before Reagan […]
September 30, 2008
Notes after New York
Just got back from the Human Factors & Ergonomics Society conference in New York City. The conference hotel was in […]
September 9, 2008
Making connections in the Cog-Edge network.
Last week I was pleased to make connections with two members of the Cognitive Edge network: Julian Still and Gloria […]
September 1, 2008
Signifying the US political rhetoric.
My thoughts these past few weeks have been occupied with the US political process, as the democrats and then the […]
August 15, 2008
The Sierras
I’m just back from camping in the mountains of California near Lake Tahoe – a great place to re-orient your […]
July 31, 2008
summer in Oakland
I’m awaiting the arrival of friends from Paris – I was there during a terrible August heat wave several years […]
July 20, 2008
Story databases
I’m not sure what my guest blogs are going to look like – it’s hard for an academic to let […]
July 14, 2008
Reflections on San Francisco
Last month I spent 3 days with a diverse and interesting group of participants in the Cognitive Edge Accreditation Course […]
July 7, 2008
Complexity - okay, but how?
Feeling my way through the material from the April CE London course, my main concern at the moment is ‘how’. […]
July 6, 2008
Thirty something
This week I read an article about people in their thirties and how they don’t like to think for themselves […]
July 4, 2008
Democracy 2.0
In 2006 the Dutch Huis voor de Democratie (House for Democracy) was founded. I have been a programme director from […]
June 30, 2008
Navigating Complexity – beginning the dialogue
On May 26-27 2008, Wageningen International and Learning by Design organised an innovation dialogue on ‘navigating complexity’. It sought to […]
June 26, 2008
Gardens, Psychology and Leadership
I garden. More in theory than in practice. But I garden. For years, I’ve harboured hopes of bountiful harvests from […]
June 24, 2008
Picking up the thread
Two things for now. The first is more of a comment on Irene’s ‘Aha! Moment in the Development Sector’. I […]
June 19, 2008
An ‘Aha!’ Moment in the Development Sector
The development sector really does manage to get its knickers in a knot at times. While agreeing that ‘it’s all […]
April 5, 2008
Gaussianitis: a subtle (and nearly) universal disease
Gaussianitis: compulsive disorder characterised by a subject’s compulsive use of ‘Normal’ statistics in order to get away with the complexity […]
April 3, 2008
On average, averages are the exception not the rule
In a nice article on the pitfalls of statistics published today on KnowledgeWharton (The Use — and Misuse — of […]
March 30, 2008
microprojectors: the poverty of predictions!
On the New York Times (March 30) there is an interesting article on micro-projectors “The (micro)projectors may be particularly useful […]
March 27, 2008
What do feathers and microwave ovens have in common?
Nearly all biological traits and many products for particular markets and functions, began life as something different. Feathers were selected […]
March 25, 2008
Technological and biological evolution
A few weeks ago Nature published an interesting article on a the memory of slime mould, a common bacterial film. […]
March 23, 2008
Chess, change and obliquity
To bring my guest blogging time to a close here are a couple of ideas from John Kay to mull […]
March 21, 2008
OD - as good as it gets?
Ben Ramalingam of ALNAP was kind enough to get in touch with a link to a working paper he co-authored: […]
March 20, 2008
Spatulas and learning
Johnnie Moore passes on a cracking story that does a great job of capturing the (sometimes tiny) gap between control […]
March 19, 2008
Change by staying the same
Force field analysis, derived from what Lewin termed ‘field theory‘, is often bandied around as a tool to support a […]
March 18, 2008
System failure
System Failure by Jake Chapman was initially published in 2001 and updated in 2004 – the focus is on the […]
March 17, 2008
Kolb, OODA and real time learning
First of all – apologies for this not appearing by the tomorrow mentioned in the first entry; main excuse is […]
March 13, 2008
We’re all learners now
If you’re involved in organisational change you’ll be aware that – like reincarnation – four box models are making a […]
March 4, 2008
Uncertainty & interdependency
Internet access here in South Africa is a bit difficult this week. Monday no problem, but now there are generic […]
February 29, 2008
The Weakest Link: Child Protection
Hugh Connor director of social work in the eastern area of N Ireland said to me a couple of years […]
February 28, 2008
Drugs and alcohol
Belfast is beautiful today. Spring is kicking winter into touch. I went out for a run along the river Lagan […]
February 27, 2008
Wednesday 27th February 2008
“That was a gorilla I missed…” Have heard a few public sector/third sector leaders in Belfast use this coded phrase […]
February 25, 2008
Belfast Network
Greetings from Belfast. My relationship with Cognitive Edge goes back a while. I used to work in family therapy practice […]
February 23, 2008
Why patients have to be doctors today
I want to thank Dave for kindly inviting me to be the guest blogger for Cognitive-Edge this past week. I […]
February 22, 2008
Heparin and Beef: The misguided notion of control through inspection, rules and regulations
In yesterday’s Wall Street Journal I read two articles that at first glance seemed unrelated to each other. The first […]
February 21, 2008
A web-cam as a probe to explore if you can help patients faster
Recently I started doing some work with a major hospital and in preparing my first intervention I reviewed some of […]
February 20, 2008
A non-linear approach to reconciling (business) dilemmas
At the root of my second story on the organization considered as a whole and consisting of many (interdependent) parts, […]
February 19, 2008
Do executives really want cost reduction?
With the US economy getting worse every day, many executives have started to cut their budgets. Cost reduction for many […]
February 18, 2008
“Improvement must be focused on what you want, not on what you don’t want.” Russell Ackoff
Another sin I often see in companies, is that executives focus improvements on what they don’t want, rather than what […]
February 17, 2008
The forgotten whole and the flawed focus on the “lonely” parts of an organization.
In many of the companies where I am involved as an advisor or consultant, managing improvement is an inherent part […]
February 16, 2008
Can we have some safety please?
I would like to share with you an interesting case I worked on that involved influencing the safety culture in […]
February 12, 2008
..the main event
Phil Henshaw from New York (whose by line is “it’s not finding what people say interesting, but finding what’s interesting […]
February 7, 2008
The fourth and last answer to the four horsemen of the apocalypse is the absolute rebuttal of magical thinking, and […]
February 6, 2008
Positive Deviance
Positive deviance is a concept that emerged in the field of development aid during the 1960s, and it found its […]
February 5, 2008
In my last post I suggested that building capabilities in an organization and in individuals is a necessary step to […]
February 4, 2008
In my final posts this week I want to cover four inter-connected areas of work that I think show some […]
February 1, 2008
The final horseman of the apocalypse is Death (though he is not the last of the apocalyptic signs). At first […]
January 31, 2008
Famine follows war. Of course it does. The normal infrastructure of production breaks down or is destroyed. Famine is the […]
January 30, 2008
The second horseman of the apocalypse is War. He rides a red horse. He is of course the natural follower […]
January 29, 2008
A couple of years ago we were hired to help an organization craft their knowledge management strategy. As part of […]
January 28, 2008
I’m feeling slightly apocalyptic these days, if “slightly” is a qualification one can use with that extreme term. I suppose […]
January 27, 2008
Request for help
MSc in Information and Knowledge Management Research Proposal Richard Lalleman (following his earlier guest blog) would be grateful for the […]
January 26, 2008
How Complaints and Fitness-to-Practice fit into to the government’s scheme
Complaints and Fitness-to-Practice are enshrined in the Health Professionals Order 2001 which regulates ‘health professionals’ including psychologists, counsellors, therapists and […]
January 25, 2008
Consultations as part of perverse power
The government is consulting about the section 60 legislation under the Health Professions Order 2001 which will force (though the […]
January 24, 2008
Is Britain going mad?
A response to Professor Willem Buiter’s blog Sunday 6th January, 2008 ‘Is Britain going mad?’ First paragraph: A binary is […]
January 24, 2008
Perverse systems and government control
A confession: For the past two years I have been promising to write a paper on this topic. My ‘To […]
January 20, 2008
Failing to live up to the agreed definition
I start with three items of news: Steve Wright who is accused of murdering five prostitutes, the inquest into Princess […]
January 18, 2008
Symptoms and meaning
From the News: A police Inspector? was bailed for one violent offence. He murders the key witness to the offence. […]
January 17, 2008
Certainty – Uncertainty continued
Certainty and its relationship to the Other: Zizek uses George Soros as his example of this. Soros is either manipulating […]
January 16, 2008
Certainty and uncertainty
On reading my invitation to a Cognitive-Edge training session in New York, I was struck by the use of certainty […]
January 9, 2008
Management performance models
This experiment of being open is working well (and open for the rest of this week). Today Alan Byrne shares […]
January 2, 2008
Welcome to Citygroup
Nick Leong has a topical and interesting question relating to the recent financial crisis and its impact on Citigroup. He […]
December 29, 2007
Immigration bonds
Our second blog during this open period comes from Hazel Edmunds (The Snowden cousins are all called Edmunds so there […]
December 28, 2007
MSc in Information and Knowledge Management
Our first contribution to the open period comes from Richard Lalleman who is sharing his dissertation proposal (which uses the […]
December 15, 2007
Allen Blog 2
The spontaneous emergence of multiple layers of structure and organization in complex systems make exploration and diversity creation inevitable. This […]
December 10, 2007
The Allen Blog
All evolved systems need to accomplish two almost opposite tasks if they are to persist over a long time. First, […]
December 6, 2007
The power of the cross-boundary network
I attended a really great day long “Technical Information Exchange” at the MITRE corporation yesterday. The topic was knowledge management; […]
December 5, 2007
An Organizational Lens
Over at NetAge’s Endless Knots, Jessica Lipnack and Jeff Stamps have are providing a preview of a chapter they’ve contributed […]
December 3, 2007
Networks and Innovation
The evidence is mounting. Net work (creating and sustaining networks across internal and external boundaries. The latest research from Harvard […]
December 1, 2007
Contextual Design
The in-house “Chief Work Practices Architect” of a client is using Contextual Design to understand project team work practices. The […]
November 26, 2007
Social Graphing
On Network Weaving, Valdis Krebs announces the “tipping point” for the term social graph. I followed some of the breadcrumbs […]
November 25, 2007
The Net Work of Relationships
A year ago this time I was redlining the copy-edited version of Net Work. I had to fight that crushing […]
November 23, 2007
Fail early and often, my friends—bounce #2
Next month I wrap up three years of work in Thailand. Officially, I’ve served as an advisor to Government Savings […]