Dave Snowden’s Blog

of Charlemagne and slime moulds

25 Nov 14 · 7:06 pm

A couple of things came together to stimulate writing this post.   One was thinking about issues of management and control within organisations and the other was the recent BBC series Germany: Memories of a nation.  One of the key messages from the BBC series was the way in which the evolution of the Holy Roman Empire informs much of what counts as being Germanic over the centuries and into the modern day.  OK it was formally dissolved in the time of Napoleon but there was continuity of identity.  The italicised phrase is an important one and I'll return to tomorrow.

The thing which interested me in that BBC history was the degree of cultural cohesion possible within a loosely coupled network of control between the various states that pre-date the first unification of Germany under Bismarck in 1871   This meant that political dissidents could move between the princely states to escape persecution without having to move outside a Germanic culture.  A large part of Germany’s artistic and political success can be attributed to that history combined with the need to resolve issues arising from the two world wars in the last century.

We can make a similar argument in an organisation.  Over the last few decades ambiguity has been removed from the formal management structures and process controls in organisations.  Any uncertainty is frowned and deemed inefficient in modern organisational design.   The reality of family and tribal life, or for that matter of trading networks like the various Hansa (again well covered in the BBC programme) is that their strength...

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Guest Blog

Guided hike across the Glyders

By Jules K. Yim  ·  23 Oct 14  ·  2:59 am

As Dave mentioned in his blog post about Small Countries, there will be a guided hike across the Glyders on the 26th October, starting 10:30 at Ogwen Cottage. (Paid parking there or free parking along the road to the east)

The initial walk is open to all, and requires no more than trainers / sneakers and the usual rain jackets etc.; as we ascend the Devil’s Kitchen people can choose to drop out and continue around the lake.

After that it's a rough scree walk to the top of Glyder Fawr – this portion requires proper waterproof mountain boots and probably gloves and headwear to be safe – then a glorious walk over the top to Glyder Fach but with a lot of large loose rocks so it will be slow going. After that we descend to the old Minder Road and track to Bwlch Tryfan and return.

Those interested in photos of the trail can find them on Dave's Flickr – please get in touch with me Jules if you'd like to be included in the walk. Car-pooling from Caernarfon and/or Bangor may be...

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