3 pieces of advice for leading a system turn around (especially for our new SA President)


“We incline to see history through the lives of great men. That inclination blinds us to the real complexity …”  – John Kay,  Obliquity Ever since his election as South Africa’s new president, my news feed has been filled with posts from people telling Cyril Ramaphosa what his priorities should be.  He faces a seemingly … Continue reading 3 pieces of advice for leading a system turn around (especially for our new SA President)

What Van Gogh & Cape Town’s water crisis can teach us about innovation


Most people believe that innovation requires creativity, and therefore that creativity is a pre-condition for innovation.  This has somewhat “mystified” innovation and sparked entire industries focused on creativity training, design thinking courses and all manner of “creative disruption” processes to help people “think outside the box” in an attempt to unleash the latent creative genius … Continue reading What Van Gogh & Cape Town’s water crisis can teach us about innovation

7 principles to help organisations resist the siren song of copying recipes


“You can’t replicate the end point of an evolutionary process, which by its success has changed the context anyway.  However we can seek to copy the starting conditions and enable the emergence of new contextually unique successes that learn from it.” – Dave Snowden “… the fact is, if you don’t know what makes things … Continue reading 7 principles to help organisations resist the siren song of copying recipes

Coaching leaders in the networked economy: reflecting on learnings from the A-N coaching course (LOL 1)


When you’re at sea and need to find your way, it is key to first locate yourself i.e. know your current position.  Before we had GPS, mariners did this by getting a “fix” – taking a compass heading on three widely spaced objects and determining where these headings intersect to get a “fix” on their … Continue reading Coaching leaders in the networked economy: reflecting on learnings from the A-N coaching course (LOL 1)

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 centred on Responsible Leadership as we had an expert in the room (one friend runs the Albert Luthuli Centre for Responsible Leadership) and it’s a very relevant topic at … Continue reading The complexities of Responsible Leadership

Jungle vs Zoo – Reflections on change and resilience


In my previous post I introduced the analogy of a jungle vs a zoo to help us make sense of the complex contexts we face and the often ordered organisational structures and processes we tend to create.  In this post I want to explore this analogy further and look specifically at how change and resilience from the … Continue reading Jungle vs Zoo – Reflections on change and resilience

It’s hard to survive in the jungle if all you know is the zoo


I recently posted a tweet that created an unexpected enthusiastic response. It read: “It’s hard to survive in the jungle if you were trained in a zoo” I love using metaphors and analogies to explain the concepts I work with, like the difference between complex (jungle) and complicated or obvious (zoo) contexts. This is one … Continue reading It’s hard to survive in the jungle if all you know is the zoo

Maintain diversity and redundancy (Building resilience: Principle 1)


“Systems with many different components (e.g. species, actors or sources of knowledge) are generally more resilient than systems with few components.  Redundancy provides ‘insurance’ within a system by allowing some components to compensate for the loss or failure of others.  Redundancy is even more valuable if the components providing the redundancy also react differently to … Continue reading Maintain diversity and redundancy (Building resilience: Principle 1)

Cynefin in IT Leadership: A seminar with Dave Snowden


“By 2016, the Cynefin Framework will be used in 10% of all IT operations organisations as a sensemaking methodology” – Gartner (direct quote) The Cynefin framework is one of the leading sense-making tools for Management, built a foundation of complex adaptive systems theory. It provides a pragmatic means to recognise that different types of system … Continue reading Cynefin in IT Leadership: A seminar with Dave Snowden

4 day accreditation training with Dave Snowden: May 2014


Dave will be back in South Africa again from 12-15 May to present the new and improved 4 day Cognitive Edge accreditation.  Come and learn about the new domain models and other new thinking from Dave himself. You can attend all 4 days, or just the days that interest you.  You can find all the … Continue reading 4 day accreditation training with Dave Snowden: May 2014