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Dave Snowden

Light weight and then plain wrong

By Dave Snowden  ·  February 25, 2015  ·  Polemic

Juse to be clear, the opening picture is not intended to represent the human brain. Now in my wildest dreams I would not have believed it possible for anyone to assert it did, but that nightmare was realised today.   Having delivered a workshop on knowledge mapping yesterday I had the day to catch up on email and also to tune into the conference before speaking first thing tomorow.  I decided to go to the opening keynote by an Australian speaker which advertised itself as providing insight into the use of design thinking in intranet...

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Oppenheimer

By Dave Snowden  ·  February 24, 2015  ·  Great places

I'm taking a break from my series of posts on the new culture scan, in part because I need to do some more work on the documentation over the next few days and a couple of long haul flights will allow me reflective time to complete that task. The schedule is pretty fraught with my having arriived in Copenhagen earlier today to deliver a workshop, followed by a presentation Thursday then a flight to New Zealand with a 12 hours stop over in Singapore before returning via Los Angeles the following weekend in the first Round the World...

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Narratives of Culture: 1st movement

By Dave Snowden  ·  February 23, 2015  ·  Reflections

One of the problems with cultural surveys in organiations is that they tend to be evaluative in nature.   The same issue applies to 360 feedback, employee satisfaction survenys and the like.  With the best of intentions they want to know what people think about the organisation.  The problem is that evaluation closes down options and also can create stress or gaming behaviour.  

In addition the process of evaluation is itself problematic as it focuses people on a single act of judgement with a singple focus.   That moves away from...

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Narratives of culture: the score

By Dave Snowden  ·  February 22, 2015  ·  Reflections

This is going to be a little out of sequence, but I want to come to how we gather narrative for the new culture scans in future posts.   Suffice it to say for the moment that this uses SenseMaker® and a non-hypothesis question that can be asked of the whole workforce or just a sample: What story would you tell your best friend if they were thinking of joining your workgroup?   The employee then interprets that story using a series of signifiers that provide quantitive data, but at any stage we can look at the stories from which the...

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Narratives of culture: overture

By Dave Snowden  ·  February 21, 2015  ·  Reflections

There are some basic truths about culture in organisations that are pretty self-evident to anyone prepared to engage with either theory or practice.  The first and most basic of those is that you can't engineer it or for that matter define it as a set of desirable qualities, values or any other loose collection of platitudes.  In many ways the cultural engineering approaches that typify many a consultancy method have simply responded to the wider engineering metaphor that requires pre-defined outcomes.  In practice movements and...

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