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Dave Snowden

So what are we about?

March 27, 2014  ·  News

The first of three posts with some draft content for the new web site

Cognitive Edge acts as a research centre for a distributed network of independent and in house consultants. We create methods and tools together with associated training and support. Our overall philosophy is apply learning from the natural sciences to social systems. In keeping with that philosophy we seek to move on from the case-based approach that dominates social and management science, shifting to a model in which theory and practice coevolve to create...

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Designing our new web site

March 26, 2014  ·  News

Two of the things that irritate me at conferences are Chairpeople who run over on time and then expect the speaker to reduce their time accordingly;  the other is speakers who spend time with corporate slides rather than getting on with their subject. So I am very aware that talking about Cognitive Edge as a company is not what people have come to hear. But there are times when it’s necessary and with our new web site currently in the commissioning stage, finding a succinct way to say what Cognitive Edge is about has become...

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SAFe: the infantilism of management

March 25, 2014  · 

I gave the opening keynote at the Agile conference in Brno today. A good audience in that they paid attention and were thoughtful. I tried a slightly different approach to the subject starting with some of the biology and cognitive stuff, dealing with complexity in a simplified format and majoring on SenseMaker® as a way to create continuous feedback loops between users and developers with the intent of enabling both co-evolution and exaptation. The slides and podcast are now loaded so readers can judge for themselves on the value...

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The bunny of disappointment

March 24, 2014  ·  Musings

Yesterday I referenced the Melvyn Bragg podcast on complexity with Ian Stewart, Jeff Johnson and Eve Middleton-Kelly.  Now I am a great fan of his In our Time series but I always find it interesting when a subject comes up in which I have some expertise.  In this case I do and have varying degrees of acquaintanceship (no more) with all three protagonists.  Now I was listening to the podcast while engaged in the soothing rhythm of pairing which is a great aid to concentration but which should not be disturbed.

I think the best...

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An obsessional interlude

March 23, 2014  ·  Musings

I spent most of yesterday exhibiting my obsessive tendency. This may come as a shock to some readers, but when i get into detail I really get into it. Colleagues will attest to my extreme frustration with their deviant behaviour in not using styles properly in Keynote and Pages; I regard the use of an extra carriage return rather than changing the style as a mortal sin, deserving of punishments beyond the imagination of Dante.  If i make a change to any style I always spend time revising the template I was the same when I was a...

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Of rings and things

March 22, 2014  ·  Trivia

An odd and messy sort of day.  I am in the middle of sorting out the study to accommodate the new desk (that allows me to site down or stand up to work) and that means I have lost my old roll top desk with all of its storage.  Good news is that I can now look out to the beauty of the garden (for which I claim no credit that is all down to my wife Sheila's labours over the last two decade).  Either way it means that there are holes in the wall, and it needs repairing anyway so I cleared everything out and have spent the day with...

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The new Luddites?

March 21, 2014  ·  Polemic, Reflections

The luddites were not the first to resist the introduction of new technologies and I have always had some sympathy for Ned and his followers. Their work was being taken away by new machinery and no one paid any particular attention to their survival needs. So this post is a mixture of explanation, frustration and a plea for ideas for new gainful employment for a cadre of qualitative researchers whose work is being displaced by social computing, big data and SenseMaker® in particular.

Now the cause of this is a series of...

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Brown field architecture

March 20, 2014  ·  Musings

Enterprise Architecture seems to be catching up with Agile in terms of interest in complexity in general and Cynefin in particular.  I gave a keynote today in London with the working title of A new simplicity a phrase designed to contrast with the overly simplistic approaches that over structured approaches tend to provide.  I won't repeat the whole presentation here as the podcast and slides are available.  For people familiar with Cognitive Edge most of the content will be familiar but I was pleased with the assembly and some of...

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Heuristics needed not booklets

March 19, 2014  ·  Diabetes

This is continuation of my post of yesterday, but expanding on the theme of how you get people to change behaviour and self manage change.   Again I am going to illustrate this with my own experience of managing a radical change post my diagnosis as diabetic, so there is an element of personal story here as well (so if that bores you skip the next paragraph and some of the one after).

The day I got the diagnosis I flew back to Berlin to complete the week with the final two performances of the Ring Cycle.  Now for the first two I...

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Early detection, fast recovery

March 18, 2014  ·  Diabetes, Reflections

One of the points I have been making for years is that a degree of failure is inevitable in any system and what matters is early detection, fast recovery and fast exploitation of the new space created.  Now this applies to the whole health and life style question and I promised to pick up on a personal example in yesterday's post.  My own experience when I was first diagnosed with Diabetes was that the reaction of the diabetes nurse was to start me down a process driven pathway of palliative care starting with diet, then metformin...

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