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Dave Snowden

Health polemics

March 17, 2014  ·  Polemic, Reflections

I ran a workshop today for several NHS groups in Leatherhead.  It was a basic introduction to complexity theory and examples of health projects using SenseMaker®.   I alway enjoy teaching professional groups who have passion, and probably learn more from the conversations than they do from my teaching!  With our increasing involvement in the development sector and health I am discovering that there is a lot of that passion but also a lot of frustration with the overall management framework and resourcing within which they work.

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RW@60: Offa’s Dyke

February 17, 2014  ·  Walks & Bike rides

Last month I had to alter my long standing plan to walk around Wales this year to accommodate the storm damage on the Anglesey Coast.  It means I will now head down the border on the Offa's Dyke path (red on the map) before taking a clockwise route around the coast finishing by following the River Dee from its mouth to source (yellow).

The year is significant for several reasons.  It is my 60th Birthday and the tenth anniversary of my leaving IBM to create Cognitive Edge.  It also the tenth anniversary of the deal of parents....

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Authentic action

January 28, 2014  ·  Reflections

My little tirade yesterday about the primitive linear causality of Blair's article in yesterday's Observer prompted a few to ask be elaborate on my statement that we have to change the dynamics of people's interactions.   Now I have been here a few times over the years, but there is no harm in coming back to it as it is a key aspect of complexity based interventions.  It applies if you are trying to break people out of the radicalisation hopper or simply endeavouring to shift organisational culture.  The hopper is a simple thing to...

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Don’t blame the manifestation

January 26, 2014  ·  Polemic

A copy of the Observer arrived with breakfast this morning and I was greeted by the headline Extremist religion at root of 21st Century wars - Blair.  Now this is far from the first time I have been irritated by pronouncements from the Rev. Blair and while I hope this will be the last, I suspect I am due for more disappointment.  I did have some hope that we might expect some apology for the belief in military intervention to force a somewhat limited perspective of liberal democracy  on countries whose history and context is very...

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Playing tourist in the rain

January 25, 2014  ·  Trivia

Last night was all a bit traumatic.  I got back in time to take Sheila out for dinner, but then phone calls from children indicated multiple failures in the transport system.  Net result I picked Eleanor up from Oxenholme as planned just after 2100, but having deposited her at the hotel had to drive south through fog and rain to Lancaster to pick up Huw, finally getting him to the hotel at midnight thirty.  By then I had drunk enough coffee to keep me up for the next few hours.   The original hope for this trip had been sunshine and...

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On education

January 24, 2014  ·  Musings

Today was a work day in that I had a long standing appointment to meet with the Vice Chancellor at Bangor University as a part of the developing partnership we are building there.  I left my wife at the Brimstone Hotel (well you are entitled to some luxury on your 60th and drove to Oxenholme station to get the train.   I could have driven but I needed to clear some email and there is nothing like public transport to get your mind focused and fingers dancing on the keyboard without the distractions of the internet.  When I arrived I...

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The Inn at Whitewell

January 23, 2014  ·  Great places

I first came to the Inn at Whitewell back in 1973.  I was taken there by Blyth and Arthur as part of a trip over the Trough of Bowland in the spring of my first year at University.  Blyth had worked with me in both the Debating Club and the School Press but was a year older and had gone up to Lancaster the previous years.  She and Arthur were one of the most physically mismatched couples I have ever known, but they had come together as opposites often do and Arthur had a car!  Back in the 70s that was a big thing on campus, most of...

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Gang aft agley

January 22, 2014  ·  Walks & Bike rides

I had planned to announce the first part of my Round Wales at 60 walk today covering the North Wales Coast and Anglesey.  Detailed planning of the various stages meant that I had already cut out the From the source of the Dee section as I realised some sections of the walk would not allow a nineteen mile a day average to be maintained and 60 days seemed realistic for the coastal path but I would have to add another ten for Offa's Dyke.  Not real issue there, the 60@60 was always a bit artificial and the idea was to enjoy this, and...

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2014 Education + Sydney ALERT

January 21, 2014  ·  News

A core part of Cognitive Edge's mission/business is education and our courses have developed over the years in a messily coherent way.   In the early days it was a two day moveable feast and I ran them all with a co-facilitator at most of them.   Then we stabilised the content for a few years and I backed off leaving it to others running the odd advanced programme when I was in town.  I regret that period a bit, not because the course was not well run but (i) it meant I didn't know everyone we had trained any more and (ii) the...

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Patterns & significance

January 20, 2014  ·  Polemic

A series of emails and skype calls today built up a head of frustration with some people's obsession with statistics and data. An obsession that attempts a substitution for sense-making, rather than as a tool to support it.   One conversation with a research head of a British local authority who had been passed a HBR article which said data was more accurate than human judgement in recruitment and sooner or later all recruitment would be a big data algorithm.   Another with a colleague frustrated by people talking about the validity...

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