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Dave Snowden

Electra at the Old Vic

December 20, 2014  ·  Opera & Theatre

Excessive travel, even by my standards over the last two months have resulted in a neglect both of mountain walking and cultural events.  The former I hope to correct with some intensive sessions in the Brecon Beacons and Snowdonia over the next six weeks; I have a new ice axe to play with so the latter maybe a better focus than the former but that involves longer drives.   I really need to try and get another couple of sections of the Welsh Coast Path done but the days are too short for long distance work, so better the abruptness...

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Respect & sensitivity

December 19, 2014  ·  Polemic

The first work of Philosophy I read was Plato's Symposium at the tender age of 14 and I fell in love with it.  Since that time many of my best memories are of sessions with friends and strangers alike where debate was open and there was no need to deal with any precious player.  I've seen many variations of such preciousness over the years most recently of Facebook with a defender of Malcolm Gladwell who was unable to engage with any argument and simply threw out ad hominems suggesting that opposition to the great performer (my...

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Perspectives on Cynefin

December 18, 2014  ·  Reflections

Over the years I have increasingly used a picture of Cynefin which includes three dynamic movements rather than just present the basic framework. I used to leave that for people who wanted to learn more but then found that people started to talk about four quadrants (rather than five domains) and focused on categorisation of anything thing (or anyone) who happened to be lying around into one or other. Generally they cast sinners into order while claiming the privilege of complexity for themselves.  In extreme cases of derangement...

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Creating an architecture for change

December 15, 2014  ·  Reflections

Yesterday’s post was partly inspired by my reading David Chandler’s 2014 book Resilience: The Governance of Complexity. My daughter recommended it and it has occupied me on a series of flights from Mumbai to San Deigo by way of Heathrow and Dallas. Both connections were fraught with time delays so I ended up without sufficient charge on the MacBook to clear email and read instead. No bad thing and I might institute a new rule for flights that involves reading rather than processing emails.

Now I always get nervous when people rush...

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Complex or Chaotic?

December 14, 2014  · 

The distinction between complexity and chaos theory can be problematic depending on who you are talking with, or what you are reading. There is no full agreement in the literature as to how the terms are used. There are also some mildly worrying differences emerging between its use in the social and natural sciences; an especial concern as complexity provides the basis for a realist and pragmatic account of social systems and a truly trans-disciplinary approach to human understanding.

While the distinction is important it’s full...

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Between the ideal and real?

December 9, 2014  ·  Musings, Polemic

An interesting extended weekend in an Agile Alliance think tank I joined last year.  Then it was held in Hillsborough, this year we changed continents and headed for Stockholm to meet in Ericsson's offices while staying in the Scandic Victoria Hotel (pictured).    I'm not sure even now if the hotel is an eyesore or an example of architectural genius.  It certainly makes an impression, dominating the local landscape and as such my dilemma about its aesthetic and functional merit forms a sort of metaphor for a divide that emerged...

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Of experts and expertise

December 8, 2014  ·  Musings

A long time ago when I first created the Cynefin framework in its five domain form my focus was on knowledge management.  The first fully worked article looked at communities and deployment of knowledge and in those versions I talked about complicated (then called knowable) as the domain of experts.   The context here was the then tendency to assume that all you needed to do to create a KM programme was create a taxonomy and set up a CoP programme.  CoPs were then held to be the best way to host and develop expert knowledge, so...

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Lessons learning

December 7, 2014  · 

I'm currently in Stockholm for the Adopting Agile workshop/think tank (it has flavours of both).   This is event number four in the series and I joined for event three in Hillsborough last year.  Lots of interesting things over the last three days with new projects on creating an artisan model of learning and a complexity based approach to project management.  Expect more on those as I have a fair amount to writing to do as a result and this blog is a good place to test out ideas.

In one discussion the topic of lessons learning...

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of Charlemagne and slime moulds

November 25, 2014  ·  Reflections

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...

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A return to ritual dissent

November 24, 2014  ·  Musings

One of the most popular methods I ever created is ritual dissent.  By happy coincidence it is also one of the most effective.  It avoids bland consensus in favour of increasing the range of material scanned before a decision is taken, but depersonalises intense criticism through the ritual of turning your chair around, or better still donning a mask.   I've seen everything here from commissioned costume masks from Venice to Guido Fawkes masks used by software developers.  An interesting choice buy the latter who, as a tribe like to...

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