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Dave Snowden

Small countries, big ideas

October 6, 2014  ·  News

For the last year with Bangor University and the Welsh Audit Office I've been working on our Small Countries Big Ideas initiative.   The basic idea is to create a series of properly researched programmes using SenseMaker® in the areas of health, social services and development.    In all these areas we have existing projects and a lot of excitement.   However for the next stage of our development we need to have a more controlled, less ad hoc approach along with proper research and papers describing what happens and also what needs...

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Intervening in a complex domain

October 5, 2014  ·  Reflections

A good conversation in Moscow this morning with David Anderson around and about the issue of managing a complex system and as is the way with discussion a half formed idea or two coalesced.    I've been teaching how to intervene in a complex system for years, developing and then using the ABIDE perspective question for example. More recently, based on UNDP work we've been mapping out what elements can be scaled.  Then we have three basic questions: (i) what can I change? (ii) Of those things that I can change, where can I monitor...

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Please, not more of the same (2 of 3)

September 21, 2014  ·  Reflections

I had to get up at 0400 this morning to make the morning flight for Berlin.  The reason was that I had an indulgent thirty hour period which stated on Friday night with a Blues match at the Arms Park, followed yesterday by a walk on Pen-y-fan followed by a performance of William Tell by the WNO in Cardiff.  OK we lost the match, but with considerable improvement over the previous week and it will take time for the new coach and players to jell.   I also got to take Kim Ballestrin to her first ever Rugby match.  I'd driven her down...

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Please, not more of the same (1 of 3)

September 20, 2014  ·  Reflections

Last month Paul Tudor alerted me to a 2012 McKindsey report Delivering large-scale IT projects on time, on budget, and on value.  I pulled it out yesterday as I wanted to read it for my opening keynote at the Global Scrum Gathering in Berlin next week.  In that keynote I plan to talk about issues of scaling a complex system and how to engage the 'C' level beyond IT management.   The report is two years old but I doubt things have changed that much so it gives me some key data.  What it doesn't do is really given any idea as to a...

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Goin’ to the chapel ...

September 19, 2014  ·  SenseMaker®

Final day of two working up here in Deiniolen (it's near Llanberis in case you don't know).  We have two technical teams, one in Singapore and a new one here in North Wales linked into the University.   Last night we held an event at the. University to recruit local authorities and others to a series of projects in social work and health.   There will be a new SenseMaker® Web site shortly and that multi-country  programme will be featured along with our new Culture Scan offering.  The scan will be a sub $2k capability with wide...

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From the malarial swamps of Darien

September 18, 2014  ·  Polemic, Reflections

It would be too easy to comment on the Scottish referendum tomorrow, or even late tonight when we know the result. It is probably the most significant vote in last hundred years or more and the Guardian front page (the opening picture) gives a good sense of that in respect of Scotland.  However I think the implications are far wider.  Over dinner last night in North Wales I said that I thought while a yes vote might not be the best result for the UK, it would be a great result for Europe.  I also said that we needed a few things to...

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The last 3000er

September 17, 2014  ·  Walks & Bike rides, Great places

Up to North Wales today for a series of meetings on SenseMaker® development and the start of an exciting new project on governance of which more in a few weeks time.   Now my view at the moment is that if I have a meeting in Bangor I am going to find times for the hills and today was no exception.  I got away later than expected and wasted time in Betwys trying to find a holster for the new camera without success.  In consequence I got to the Ogwen Valley after lunch and without the means to safely carry the new camera, so I...

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Barber shop ramblings

September 5, 2014  ·  Musings

Today was one of those days that occasionally hit you when you travel a lot.   I came in overnight from South Africa and my original plan had been the best part of two days at home before flying out to Marrakech for a client event Sunday.   As it happened I was asked to go out a day early so the sequence of events today was not fun.   I had to pick up the last piece of furniture for the study from Station Furniture near Heathrow at 0830 so I used the free hour to have a shower in the new Arrivals Lounge at Terminal 2.  Then I...

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Engagement in emergence

September 4, 2014  ·  Narrative

In my final post (for the moment on conflict) I want to talk about how we engage people in creating a sustainable solution.  One issue with any change is there is a tendency to promise the earth, to set idealistic goals as to what will now happen.  People who have lost hope during conflict are given new hope by peace.  The problem is that this can fail and lead to more cynicism, and a consequent unwillingness to engage.   In part this is because we tend to set over idealist goals and don't have the feedback looks in place to spot...

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Informing the peace makers

September 3, 2014  ·  Narrative

One of the principles of managing a complex adaptive system is the need for fast feedback loops.  In my second posting on narrative and conflict management I want to address that in the context of negotiation.   Now while my mind is on national level conflict, the same principles apply to service negotiation at a company level without the nature of major changes in the process.

During negotiations it is easy for people from both sides to get into entrained positions or loose connection with those they represent.   This can be...

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