Dave Snowden’s Blog

Managing the situated present

30 Jul 14 · 10:16 pm

Probably the most important phrase in The Children's Party Story is the conclusion: We manage the emergence of beneficial coherence within attractors, within boundaries.  That simple phrase packs a lot of meaning and potential.   Key to it is the idea of managing the situated present.  To unpack that a bit I am using situated in the sense of situation assessment, sensing what is happening in its context which includes the past and in particular our perception of the past.  In anything involving change in human systems we need to get people to do this.  If the past is traumatic, as it has been in Colombia (where I am at the moment) then re-situating the past in the context of present needs is important.  We have to create narratives that enable action then allow the potential for change to become visible, then we need to amplify success and dampen failure.

Now this needs to be understood in contrast with the more normal attempt to state an idealist future, defining a future state then trying to work backwards to make it happen.  In a previous series of posts I talked about the need for side-casting namely casting around in the present to see what is possible.  There are a range of techniques to support this, I use counterfactuals a lot and our future-backwards exercise uses them in part and can be a starting point for a wider use.  Used properly counterfacturals are the language of change as they open up evolutionary possibilities rather...

Continued »

Guest Blog

Complexity, resilience, and safety culture

By Michael Cheveldave  ·  29 May 14  ·  2:20 pm

Creating and Leading a Resilient Safety Culture is our new training course that brings together resilience thinking with complexity and Cynefin to offer a unique and practical approach to shifting safety cultures in organizations. 

Cognitive Edge is hosting three sessions of this new course in June and July.  June 26-27 and June 30-July 1 are two back-to-back sessions in Auckland, NZ. The second course is SOLD OUT with a single company procuring the entire session. Seats for the earlier dates are still available!  In July 15-16 the course moves back to North America with a session in Washington, DC. Book soon to get your spot on one of the two available dates and locations. For course details have a look at the Auckland and DC course brochures.

Our Auckland sessions are being offered in partnership with Cornwall Strategic. We're looking forward to hosting two sessions together with Steve McCrone of Cornwall Strategic in June.

In Washington, DC, July 15-16 we will have a third guest instructor, Liviu Nedelescu.  Liviu is a complexity practitioner working in the area next generation air transportation systems. Also joining us at the DC training...

Continued »