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Cynefin™ & Theory of Constraints – Chicago, IL

A Cognitive Edge Masterclass:

Cynefin™ and Theory of Constraints:  Explorations with Dave Snowden and Steve Holt

Discover significant process improvements opportunities with the integration of two highly effective management approaches!


More and more people continue to look for answers to improving processes, performance and ultimately results. This constant search has led people to study a lot of methods, many of which claim to be “The Answer.”

Despite all this research, process improvement efforts or results remain flat-lined. Uncertainties and complexities in today’s operating environments continue to blind-side with new and unanticipated risks.

What if you could learn to apply two management approaches which, when integrated, have the potential to dramatically improve results and create greater resilience under conditions of uncertainty?

In this 2-day intense Exploration, facilitated by thought-leaders in Cynefin™ and Theory of Constraints (TOC), you will discover ways complexity theory, the Cynefin™ framework, and TOC can be applied to significantly  improve performance and results in your organisation.


What I will learn

In this masterclass you will learn how to:

  • Improve decision-making with Cynefin™, Liminal Cynefin™, and constraint management
  • Apply anthro-complexity to shape culture and improve on productivity and results
  • Identify and manage constraints (TOC and Cynefin™)
  • Identify root conflicts and set strategic focus accordingly
  • When to apply the basic elements of TOC, including the Logical Thinking Process and the generic solutions (Drum-Buffer-Rope for Production, Critical Chain Project Management for project management, Throughput Accounting for finance and measures, and the Distribution Solution for supply chain logistics)
  • Integrate Cynefin™ and TOC to establish pre-conditions for dramatic improvement of results


Who should attend

This Masterclass is for managers, team leads, senior decision-makers, C-suite (CTO, CIO, CEO, CSO), strategists, consultants, and studied members of the TOC, Lean, and Agile communities. More broadly, this Cynefin™ and TOC Masterclass is for anyone who wants to immerse themselves deeply into theory informed practices to improve their ability to improve productivity and results in their organizations or with their clients.


Register TODAY as seats are limited

Early “Front of the Class” registrations are limited to the first 8 registrations. Book your space early to ensure you are at the front of the class!

Registration is open until one day prior to course start IF seats remain available. Group registrations are common which can sell lead to fast sell-outs. Book early to confirm your seat.

Masterclasses are limited to 20 seats* to ensure a high quality learning experience and to provide participants greater interaction time with instructors.

* – final class sizes are dependent on venue configuration. Masterclass limit can vary between 18-24.


About the facilitators

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. During his tenure at IBM, he was selected as one of the six on demand thinkers for w worldwide advertising campaign 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.

Steve Holt has been a manager, engineer, instructor and/or internal consultant in a large aerospace company for many years. In the 1980s he was first introduced to ideas of Quality Improvement and that started a learning journey that included Total Quality Management, Systems Thinking, TRIZ, Lean, Agile and Theory of Constraints. But he was still nagged by the question: With all the smart people in the world and all these wonderful methods, why do we still have trouble getting things done? This led into studies of Complexity, the Cynefin™ Framework, Mission Command, Critical Thinking and Red Team analysis. Rather than switching alliances when he learns a new approach, he continues to blend them together. This continues to show beneficial synergies.

The Theory of Constraints has been Steve’s primary improvement method since he took his first Constraints Management course at Washington State University in 1997. He is  currently an Associate Professor teaching Constraints Management at the WSU. He has been a member of the Theory of Constraints International Certification Organization since 2003 and was a member of the TOCICO board of directors from 2010 to 2016. He has been part of a number of TOC implementations, many of which have been presented at TOCICO conferences. He gave the first introductory presentation on the CynefinTM Framework to the TOC community at the TOCICO 2010 annual conference. He had a “15 seconds of fame” experience when Dr. Eli Goldratt reacted (positively) to that presentation. Steve is a strong believer in the value and benefits of both TOC and CynefinTM and is looking forward to the opportunity to explore their interaction.

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 3 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.

Explanation of ticket discount options below. PLEASE NOTE the discount changes for 2019 in bold in (2) below.

  1. If you are part of a group of FOUR (4) or more people, then please email training@cognitive-edge.com for a group discount, or use the group ticket option.
  2. Premium Members get 5% discount on Cynefin Retreats, Explorations/Masterclasses and 15% for Online courses and CE managed Foundations courses (Discounts apply only to Standard priced tickets). Sign up for the Network here: Cognitive Edge network registration for a Basic membership. When you’ve done that you’ll be directed to the Network Dashboard page, click on the upgrade option to pay to become a Premium member and then use the provided discount code.
  3. Discounts cannot be used cumulatively with Network Membership discounts.


July 11, 2019 – July 12, 2019


8:30 am – 4:30 pm


From: USD 1995


Aloft Chicago O'Hare, 9700 Balmoral Avenue, Rosemont, Illinois 60018