Blog - Category: Cynefin

All that jazz ... making coherence coherent

One of the assertions I make quite often nowadays, is that we need to move from focusing on alignment, to focusing on coherence.  I've found it interesting that out of all the potentially controversial statements I make, this one seems to generate an inordinate amount of questions and disagreement.  It is understandable as this notion […]
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Why we suck at "solving wicked problems"

Problems: Wicked, complex, intractable, or adaptive  … whatever we choose to call them, we seem to suck at solving them and we often get profoundly overwhelmed and stuck.  I believe the reason for this is hidden in the language I used in the title and previous sentence  (… and no it's not the adjectives ... […]
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How organisational OCD is stamping out innovation and agility

Obsessive-compulsive disorder is a debilitating anxiety disorder that can have devastating consequences for the individual that suffers from it. I think there is a similar disorder that organisations suffer from ... I call it Obsessive Certainty Disorder.  It too is linked with anxiety and the need for control.   And it too has devastating consequences, […]
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8 guidelines to enable organisational fluidity

While preparing for my recent keynote at Agile Africa, I came across the work of Prof Adrian Bejan, a mechanical engineer who contributed to the field of thermodynamics through his constructal law, which is formulated as follows: “For a finite-size system to persist in time (to live), it must evolve in such a way that […]
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Learnings from Whistler: Scaffolding emergence

In June this year I had the privilege of attending the Cynefin Retreat in Whistler, Canada along with many Cynefin practitioners that up to then, I only knew virtually.  The opportunity to finally meet in person was incentive enough to attend, however even that couldn’t compete with the stimulating ideas we engaged with over the […]
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Enabling adaptive space

I had the privilege this week to co-facilitate an Adaptive Space workshop with Prof Mary Uhl-Bien at a local business school. I’ve long been intrigued by her work, so it was really good to see it applied practically. As always, I’m left with a need to make sense of where it fits into other complexity […]
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Dave Snowden at TedX: A succinct overview of his groundbreaking work

Dave at TedX
I first met Dave in 2002 when we were both employed by IBM.  I remember experiencing an immediate resonance with his work, especially the inherent integrity of honoring context and not mindlessly applying best-practice recipes as the big consultancies tend to do. It is now 16 years later, and it has been a privilege to […]
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If you want to innovate, don't say so

"Innovation is not so much about having ideas as it is about making connections" Harold Jarche Last week I had the opportunity to facilitate a week-long "innovation sprint" for Agile 42, an international agile coaching company.  After recovering from my time spent facilitating 39 other facilitators (on my own!) I finally had time to reflect on […]
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Video: Evolving Cynefin Shadow Domains and constraints typology

I recently had the privilege of listening to Dave Snowden give a short explanation of the evolving Cynefin constraints typology and new shadow domains.  I find the shadow domains helpful when thinking of interventions - specifically in combination with/in place of the subdomain models. This is still emerging, so expect these to change ...
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The complexities of Responsible Leadership

Earlier in the week, I had the privilege of spending the morning exploring ideas around complexity and leadership with two friends who understand both fields.  Our conversation mostly centered on Responsible Leadership as one of the participants runs the Albert Luthuli Centre for Responsible Leadership and it's a very relevant topic at the moment.  At Davos […]
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