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Dave Snowden

Scaling: the perversion of order

July 24, 2014  ·  Reflections

To my final post on scaling, at least for the moment as it's a big and developing subject.  There is a tendency in some complexity writing to simply abandon the whole question of management to vague and idealistic statements about self-organising and natural systems.  The simple fact is that choosing not to do something is as much an intentional act as to do something; sins of omission are at the same level as those of commission.  The issue is not management, but what is the focus of management.  To put it simply it's all about...

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Scaling: context is all

July 23, 2014  ·  Reflections

In my second post on scaling I talked about about two types of scaling and the last two posts handled the issue of scaling up within the enterprise.  The essence of yesterday's post was that we need to allow cluster patterns to emerge from finely grained objects in three areas: strategy, capability and needs.  Each of those patterns allows a new emergent potentiality to shift to realisation.  This evolutionary approach is all about sustainability and resilience, designing capability not product.  In this post I want to pick up the...

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Scaling: of gaps and things

July 22, 2014  ·  Reflections

Yesterday I promised to move on the How do you scale success? question but working on Friday's seminar with Simon that afternoon various other thoughts came to mind and I started to sketch out the diagrams that appear below.  

For those interested and able to get to Sydney this link will give you a third off the full price

So my plan today is to talk more about the issue of granularity and non-linearity in scaling.  I want to do this in the context of understanding the dynamic between three aspects of an organisation:

    ...

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Scaling: merge, match & masticate

July 21, 2014  ·  Reflections

Scaling as a subject seems topical at the moment.   Cognitive Edge has been working with the UNDP on how do you scale success in the development sector and we recently ran a fascinating event in New York look at the science of how complex adaptive systems scale which is now moving into early experimental use.  At the same time in the Agile community we have the controversies over SAFe where scaling seems to mean ​how do I get senior IT management to adopt Agile practice rather than how do I scale success per se.  Now both of these...

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Initial thinking on scaling

July 20, 2014  ·  Reflections

I had more time to think than I planned on the flight to Sydney last night.  I got upgraded to club which was a good start, but service takes longer so sleep time was cut down, and then destroyed by three families with 9/10 year old kids whose body clocks seem set at mid-morning and whose parents saw no reason to impose any constraint.  If that wasn't bad enough we did the normal is the wind low enough to land from the sea nonsense that you get when you arrive before 0600 at Sydney.  That meant that just after I had dozed off the...

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RW@60:14: Goldcliff - Cardiff

July 12, 2014  ·  RW@60, Walks & Bike rides

Section 13 and 14 of what will end up as about 75 stages were always going to be the most tedious involving post-industrial settings which while they have their own fascination lack aesthetic qualities normally associated with country walking.  But they had to be done and today was my last chance for some weeks to pick up another section.  I completed the Chepstow to Goldcliff section a week ago but was frustrated in my plans to get to Cardiff the following day by family reunions.  My plan was to leave early and park in Newport,...

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Of artisanship

July 11, 2014  ·  Musings

A couple of years ago at the Hay Festival there was a debate on the relationship between art and craft.  The argument of Mary Midgley and others was that you can't call something art just because it is asserted as such. Instead art has to display evidence of craft to be understood as such.   Now I have always agreed with this, which is not of itself a conservative statement; Picasso for example was a craftsman, who having learnt that craft broke the rules to create something new.  

The artisan craftsman is something that we see in...

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Just a little creepy ...

July 10, 2014  ·  Polemic

I suppose the best that can be said of the journey back home today is that everything ran to time.   My hotel last night was in sharp contrast to Monday night with a full suite in The Hotel Regina, a shame to waste on just one night and no visitors!  I had breakfast with Clayton Christensen and a rushing clash of agreement on the importance of theory.  I was briefing on Cynefin and SenseMaker® as we have a major client in common at the moment and it was a good session.  More on that in the future.  The day working with the top...

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The Stepford syndrome in KM

July 9, 2014  ·  Polemic

I was in a bad mood this morning.  A consequence of drinking far more than I am used to these days and knowledge of the purgatory of near starvation I will need to go through to get my weight back to where it should be by the end of the week.  Ok its not that bad but it's how I felt.  Then an early morning conference call where politics was intruding on what should be a research agenda.  This happens a lot with SenseMaker® as its more difficult to control the outcome than with more traditional research projects.   You might learn...

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Common confusions on SenseMaker®

July 8, 2014  ·  SenseMaker®, Conference blogs

An odd sort of day which started with my getting up before 0400 to make the 0601 train the Bonn and finished with me winning a bidding war on eBay auction with my last bid while watching the German humiliation of Brazil in a bar in the centre of town.  The good Burghers of Bonn  were remarkably undemonstrative from the start which was a bit surprising.

In between I gave a presentation about the use of narrative in development work which was, in my humble opinion, one of the better summaries I have done but I may regret some of the...

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