Day 1 – Complexity and Strategy
Day 1 of the Masterclass is an exploration of the deeper principles of complex adaptive systems and anthro-complexity that sit behind the naturalising tradition in sense-making. In this first day, you’ll also explore the latest liminal version of the Cynefin framework, the domain dynamics, and latest approaches to strategic sense-making and direction.
- Work with flexuous curves to understand the life cycle of management ideas, the ecosystem of the markets and how to spot and respond to signs of coming change, using them to your advantage.
- Explore heuristics and approaches to navigating disruption and crisis, linked to the EU Managing Complexity (and Chaos) in times of Crisis Field-Guide
- Experience ways to assess a client or community’s current state, determine their desired direction and assemble solutions with innovative combinations of methods and practices.
- Engage with and work with new Cognitive Edge Methods to get hands-on in decomposing and recombining methods and approaches in novel and context-appropriate ways.
- Discover and manage the evolutionary potential of the present by increasing situational awareness… the asymmetric opportunity of real-time engagement and monitoring in a complex system.
- How to navigate strategy in complex systems – including sidecasting methods as a strategic complement to forecasting and backcasting techniques. New approaches to innovation and evidence-based decision making. principles of managing uncertainty and the limitations of measurement and metrics.
- Scaffolding over Structure: endoskeletons and exoskeletons – choosing an appropriate scaffolding approach, defining interactions and shaping connectors rather than attempting to dictate or structure roles.
Day 2 – Narrative and Sense-making
Narratives are a powerful aspect of the Cognitive Edge methods and tools, underpinning communication, sensemaking and engagement. This day of the Masterclass looks at the wider context and methods of narrative and includes exploration of various SenseMaker® applications.
- Homo narrans, the criticality of narrative to human decision making. Understand narrative’s power as the oldest form of effective communication, as a form of knowledge sharing and storage, and as a narrative research tool.
- How to create a fictional environment that allows people to tell the truth – narratives as a means of enabling self-awareness of culture, an approach to conflict resolution and to share failure and learning without blame
- A deep dive into narrative methods, including: Archetype Extraction, Anecdote Circles and Persona construction
- Journalling and micro-narrative research – the role of real-time capture in distributed sensemaking and anticipatory awareness, including tools and methods to support this.
- Understand organisational applications including the use of narrative in knowledge management & learning, effective communication and conveying complex ideas using naturally occurring anecdotes.
- Discovering what is possible – shifting from platitudes and idealism to reality… including the uses and abuses of narrative in consultancy practice
- Narrative and change – how to build on the evolutionary potential of the present, as opposed to fixed idealised future states, by working with multi-perspective narratives.
Day 3 – Organisation Development and Change
If we acknowledge that organisations and communities are complex systems, how then do we engage in leading, changing and developing them in a way that is coherent? Complex systems scale by decomposition and recombination as opposed to replication, meaning that importing solutions from other systems often does not work. Recognition of this entails a different way of approaching change, the focus of this final day…
- Designing a resilient organisation and new forms of organisation based on complexity theory – designing for humans as they are, not as we wish they would be.
- Application of complex principles to organisation and design – scaling through coherent heterogeneity as opposed to false homogenisation, incorporating principles of epistemic justice, deep engagement and workforce empowerment.
- Explore the implications and possibilities of engaging a large network of people in real-time situational assessment, distributed decision making and generation of possible solutions, for broad workforce engagement.
- A vector theory of change: moving from a focus on individual employee mindset and trying to change one person at a time, to changing the environment and creating the conditions for contextually appropriate transformations to emerge within an overall scaffolding.
- Methods to activate and connect the formal and informal networks across the organisation, which also incentivise innovative team and cross-silo behaviour, including Entangled Trios and Social Network Stimulation
- Organisational design issues relating to balancing resilience and robustness, when to let go and when to consolidate. Shaping optimal granularity and communication protocols to ensure appropriate information and communication flows.
One of the benefits of a residential in-person Masterclass is the quality time and discussions that take place outside of formal sessions. This year we invite previous students and partners who are not able to attend the Masterclass to join us for an evening only – book a room and join us for dinner and discussions about emerging developments.