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Learning & sense-making in uncertainty and continuous flux: an exploratory with Dave Snowden & Harold Jarche

We know from what we read, but even more from what we experience that we are living and doing business within contexts of uncertainty and continuous flux. Most of us find ourselves continuously navigating the tension between knowing and not knowing, as the knowledge and skills that brought us success in the past are now becoming irrelevant at a mind-bending pace. In addition, the accelerated transition to remote work, brought about by the COVID19 pandemic, has brought renewed interest in the implications of a distributed workforce for learning and knowledge flows. Serendipitous encounters that facilitate learning and even innovative ideas, become harder when we are unable to “run into each other”, while at the same time the need for learning and novelty are increasing.  Increasingly, the role of leadership in a networked world is to create environments that enable learning across boundaries and nurture networks and communities that are able to make better-informed decisions and learn faster.  Similarly the role of Knowledge Management, Learning & Development and Organisational Development needs to shift from designing content to designing contexts that enable organisational fluidity, resilience and adaptability.  

Dave Snowden and Harold Jarche have been exploring different aspects of learning, knowledge management and innovation for decades. This is the first time they are coming together to explore the similarities, differences and potential synergies between their approaches. This is your invitation to join them and participate in this exploration. Sonja Blignaut will host this participatory process that will include a critical look at the methods and tools, identifying opportunities for combination and extension and hopefully the emergence of new methods and tools. This Exploratory may inspire new ways of working and learning in a state of perpetual beta.

We will kick off the Exploratory with Harold and Dave each taking a turn in presenting the essence of their approach and methods. Some of the topics that may be covered are Personal Knowledge Mastery and Learning in Perpetual Beta (Harold) and Cynefin, organic knowledge management and new approaches to organizational development (Dave).

These presentations will open up interesting themes and practices to explore, such as

  • The dynamics of the intersection of the individual (atonism), communal and collective knowledge, and the implications for sense-making and knowledge networks
  • Concepts such as distributed cognition, serendipity, and human sensor networks
  • The interplay between teams, communities of practice and networks in learning & sense-making
  • What happens to identity when we are in continuous flux (i.e. perpetual beta) where roles, relationships, and knowledge needs to be continuously negotiated. 
  • An organic approach to learning and sense-making, and how this differs from an engineering approach. How far have we come?
  • How do we need to rethink, reconfigure and enable our informal and formal networks, and communities for learning and sense-making
  • Revisiting blogging, wikis, and the proliferation of social platforms



Harold & Dave will pre-record their overviews and these will be made available to participants before the first online session. In the first online session, they will each have the opportunity to respond to the other, and also invite comments & questions from the cohort.  This will be followed by three online sessions (spaced apart to ensure integration time), where participants will continue the collective enquiry and participate in the synthesis. Participants are welcome to bring real-world challenges to enrich the discussion. Participants will be invited to a private Slack group to facilitate conversations before, during and after the event. This group will be available for 3 months post the event to continue the exploration.

  • Session 1:  Wednesday 30 September 
  • Session 2:  Thursday 1 October
  • Session 3:  Tuesday 6 October
  • Session 4:  Wednesday 7 October

Each session will be 2 hours, and start at 2 pm UTC  ( 9 am CDT | 10 am EDT | 3 pm BST | 4 pm CEST )

Participants will be expected to be able to participate in Zoom with video and audio.

Who should attend?

Experienced practitioners from diverse backgrounds will benefit from attending this Exploratory, such as Organizational Development, Learning & Development, Innovation, Knowledge Management, Strategy, Agile.  

This is not an event where the focus will be on teaching.  To be clear, you will not be taught any of the methods and approaches, you will be expected to have in-depth prior knowledge of at least one of the thought-leader’s work and to have done rudimentary preparation to gain an overview of the other. You will be expected to do some pre-work and work in-between sessions in order to fully participate in the exploration.  You are welcome to contact us to check-in on these expectations. 

We are limiting numbers to 15 to ensure deep conversation.  

If you are a student or unwaged, please email us for a special rate and opportunities to volunteer as scribes.

Please complete this form to submit your application to attend. We will contact you to discuss your application, and advise on the way forward to confirm your seat if you qualify. 


  • Early Bird   $1550 (available until 7 September 2020, or until the limit is reached)
  • Standard ticket  $2390

Cognitive Edge Premium Members qualify for a 5% discount.

Limited number of seats available at a Regional Discount. Certain regions with developing economies are eligible. Click here to apply.


September 30 – October 8


(All day event)