Loading Events

« All Events

Virtual Masterclass: Sense-making and Cynefin

November 1 - November 29

$1300 – $1400

In this 4-session Virtual MasterClass, you will have the opportunity to get practical with new Cognitive Edge methods, narrative practices and facilitation tools, facilitated by Dave Snowden and the Cynefin Center team.

Instructional language: English

Masterclass format

  • The Virtual Masterclass package includes access to recorded lecture videos from the live Reading 2021 Masterclass, to view at your own pace. Additional self-paced learning resources will be made available during the programme and for an additional 3 months after the course ends.
  • Four live 2-hour Zoom sessions will support integration and put the concepts from the lectures into practice, incorporating practical application activities, discussion and Q&A with Dave Snowden and the Cynefin Center team, replicating selected Masterclass activities in virtual space.
  • A live discussion forum for the duration of the course supports ongoing discussion and resource sharing between sessions, and after the programme.


The virtual Masterclass runs on Mondays in November. with a break mid-month. Each Virtual Masterclass session is repeated twice (at 7am-9am UTC and 2pm-4pm UTC) to allow access for different time zones.

  • Session 1: 1 November at 7am-9am UTC – or – 2pm-4pm UTC
  • Session 2: 8 November at 7am-9am UTC – or – 2pm-4pm UTC
  • Session 3: 22 November at 7am-9am UTC – or – 2pm-4pm UTC
  • Session 4: 29 November at 7am-9am UTC – or – 2pm-4pm UTC

You are only required to attend either the morning or evening session, and participants may switch between am and pm sessions to suit their diaries.

Who should attend

Masterclasses are intended for participants who already know the Cynefin framework and are ready to engage in deeper discussions around the implications and applications. Participants should have a reasonable knowledge of the Cynefin framework, with prior engagement in our Cognitive Edge Foundations or BaseCamp, or similar training, recommended. 

Programme Details
Session 1: Complexity and Strategy

Session 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 session, you’ll also explore the latest liminal version of the Cynefin framework, the domain dynamics, and latest approaches to strategic sense-making and direction.

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Discovering and managing the evolutionary potential of the present by increasing situational awareness… the asymmetric opportunity of real-time engagement and monitoring in a complex system.
  • 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.
Session 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.
Session 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?

  • 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.
Session 4: Integration (and overflow)

Our final session will offer an opportunity for integration and consolidation of the learning so far, as well as an opportunity to explore real-world cases of application in the group.

  • Explore heuristics and approaches to navigating disruption and crisis, linked to the EU Managing Complexity (and Chaos) in times of Crisis Field-Guide
  • Complex systems scale by decomposition and recombination as opposed to replication, meaning that importing solutions from other systems often does not work.
  • Scaffolding over Structure: endoskeletons and exoskeletons – choosing an appropriate scaffolding approach, defining interactions and shaping connectors rather than attempting to dictate or structure roles.
  • Application and integration: revisiting group outputs from previous sessions and integrating take-aways; discussion regarding future opportunities and pathways to engage
  • Final “ask me anything” Q&A with Dave Snowden – bring your outstanding questions, curiosities and more esoteric thoughts to this informal final exchange, as a learning group.
Pricing and Discounts

Special discounts are available for the following groups – please contact [email protected] to inquire:

  • Group bookings (4+ seats)
  • Full-time Students

Premium Members get discounts on all training. Sign up for the Network here to access discounts.

Your facilitator

Facilitator: Dave Snowden, supported by Cynefin Center Staff

Dave Snowden divides his time between two roles: founder Chief Scientific Officer of Cognitive Edge and the founder and Director of the Centre for Applied Complexity at the University of Wales. His work is international in nature and covers government and industry looking at complex issues relating to strategy, organisational decision making and decision making. He has pioneered a science-based approach to organisations drawing on anthropology, neuroscience and complex adaptive systems theory. His paper with Boone on Leadership was the cover article for the Harvard Business Review in November 2007 and also won the Academy of Management award for the best practitioner paper in the same year. He has previously won a special award from the Academy for originality in his work on knowledge management. He is an editorial board member of several academic and practitioner journals in the field of knowledge management and is an Editor in Chief of E: CO. In 2006 he was Director of the EPSRC (UK) research programme on emergence and in 2007 was appointed to the NSF (US) review panel on complexity science research. Dave holds positions extra-ordinary Professor at the Universities of Pretoria and Stellenbosch as well as visiting Professor at Bangor University in Wales. He has held similar positions at Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Canberra University, the University of Warwick and The University of Surrey. He held the position of senior fellow at the Institute of Defence and Strategic Studies at Nanyang University and the Civil Service College in Singapore during a sabbatical period in Nanyang. He previously worked for IBM where he was a Director of the Institution for Knowledge Management and founded the Cynefin Centre for Organisational Complexity; during that period he was selected by IBM as one of six on-demand thinkers for a worldwide advertising campaign. Prior to that, he worked in a range of strategic and management roles in the service sector.

His company Cognitive Edge exists to integrate academic thinking with practice in organisations throughout the world and operates on a network model working with Academics, Government, Commercial Organisations, NGOs and Independent Consultants. He is also the main designer of the SenseMaker® software suite, originally developed in the field of counter-terrorism and now being actively deployed in both Government and Industry to handle issues of impact measurement, customer/ employee insight, narrative-based knowledge management, strategic foresight and risk management.

Cancellations & Rescheduling

Cognitive Edge reserves the right to cancel or re-schedule the offered session. In the event of cancellation or rescheduling, a full refund of course fees will be processed within 10 business days of cancellation or rescheduling notice. Cancellations by registrants are only permitted with a minimum of 1 weeks notice ahead of course delivery date with refunds provided less a 10% processing fee. Substitutions are permitted at any time as well as rescheduling attendance to an alternate session within a 12 month period.



November 1
November 29
$1300 – $1400
Event Categories:
, , ,
Event Tags:
, , , , , ,




Cognitive Edge


The numbers below include tickets for this event already in your cart. Clicking "Get Tickets" will allow you to edit any existing attendee information as well as change ticket quantities.
Regular Ticket
$ 1,400.00 {Taxes may apply}
33 available