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Dave Snowden

Narratives of culture: the score

February 22, 2015  ·  Reflections

This is going to be a little out of sequence, but I want to come to how we gather narrative for the new culture scans in future posts.   Suffice it to say for the moment that this uses SenseMaker® and a non-hypothesis question that can be asked of the whole workforce or just a sample: What story would you tell your best friend if they were thinking of joining your workgroup?   The employee then interprets that story using a series of signifiers that provide quantitive data, but at any stage we can look at the stories from which the...

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Narratives of culture: overture

February 21, 2015  ·  Reflections

There are some basic truths about culture in organisations that are pretty self-evident to anyone prepared to engage with either theory or practice.  The first and most basic of those is that you can't engineer it or for that matter define it as a set of desirable qualities, values or any other loose collection of platitudes.  In many ways the cultural engineering approaches that typify many a consultancy method have simply responded to the wider engineering metaphor that requires pre-defined outcomes.  In practice movements and...

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The science of common sense

February 20, 2015  ·  Musings

A solid day's teaching at Hull Business School today based one a set of material I have used in this type of context several times.   Session one is complexity, session two the cognitive aspects (distinguishing cognitive complexity from computational approaches) and then finally SenseMaker® under the general banner of narrative research.  The final session tends to use slides as I need to show narrative landscapes and entry/retrieval.  But for the rest of the programme I chalk and talk; that allows far greater flexibility and you...

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Lines in the sands of time

February 19, 2015  ·  Reflections

Up to Hull today to deliver my first lecture tomorrow in what I hope will be a long term relationship.   Yasmin Merali has moved there from Warwick and my loyalties have moved with her, although I am still to lecture on their MBA programme this year.    Yasmin is an old and loyal friend.   Unlike the Prof at Surrey University she stayed with me during the dead-john-years in IBM (I may tell that story one day, but it was nasty, brutish and short) at some cost.  She also introduced me to Max Boisot for which the debt is beyond my...

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Thinking differently for SenseMaker®

February 18, 2015  ·  Musings

A rather novel to start to the day; discovering that the Cathedral Road B&B I am staying in is owned and managed by Charlotte Church's father.  We exchange comments on dealing with wayward daughters and the loss to Welsh Rugby of Gavin Henson.  This is a part of South Wales I love, the lack of pretension and the refusal to take fame seriously.   I remember a long conversation about rugby with Tom Jones when I was luck enough to sit next to him on a flight back from Milan several years ago.  Breakfast over it was down to Atlantic...

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Hireath

February 17, 2015  · 

Down to Cardiff this morning for a two workshop which will define a series of SenseMaker® projects for the health sector.  We are holding it in the SWALEC stadium which of of itself triggers memories.   Glamorgan Cricket Club used to play at what is now the Arms Park and I spend many days there watching them play visiting overseas teams.   I still have Wes Hall's autograph somewhere.  Cardiff is a strange place for me, I regard it as home but I have only ever lived there for a few months back at the age of four.   We stayed in the...

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Good to have few choices

February 16, 2015  ·  Musings

One of the interesting aspects of spending far too much time on planes is that you often see films that you would not otherwise seek out.  OK it can be bad; I ended up watching the Spice Girls Move on one Qantas flight as I had exhausted all other options on two trips to Singapore and one to Australia in the same month.  Ironically a few weeks later I ended up sitting next to Baby Spice in Club but didn't realise until the autograph hunters started to sneak up from economy.

Either way to get to the point!  Flying out to Los...

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Management corsets

February 15, 2015  ·  Polemic

One of the observations I have made over the years is that senior management and the coal face get complexity as a concept; mostly the problem is with middle management.   Now I am not allocating blame here, it reflects the nature of the roles, and of course I am making very general statements.   The real point is that people trying to direct the enterprise and people dealing with customers know about complexity on a day to day basis.  So when you give them the science it legitimises what they already know.  Those in middle...

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Another Drucker memory

February 14, 2015  ·  Reflections

My other vivid memory of Peter Drucker (and it still hurts) was when I naively criticised Taylorism and ended up on the receiving end of an I knew Frederick Taylor response during which I was reduced to a puddle of humiliation.   The great man decided I might be redeemable, something for which I am eternally grateful and the leadership seminar I mentioned yesterday was one response.   That meant I got a chance to teach complexity theory with Drucker (and I suspect that is a unique) and to talk about the relationship to other...

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A memory of Peter Drucker

February 13, 2015  ·  Reflections

I'm back in San Diego again for a series of meetings and if things work out I am going to spending a lot more time here.   It has fond memories for me of the early Delphi group knowledge management conferences held in the Hotel Del.  It was where I first met Peter Drucker and where, after one conference I got to join him and one other to deliver a leadership seminar.   Teaching with Peter Drucker was a privilege to say the least and the chance for conversation a blessing.   In one conversation we came to a conclusion to which I will...

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