Language in the CE context

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When I first joined Cognitive Edge, I had the opportunity to attend one of the last Dave Snowden-run Accreditation courses (which have since been restructured). As many people have noted, listening to Dave speak (and Dave-speak) is a thrilling process of intellectual expansion and discovery; this is possibly accompanied by occasional flashes of self-doubt regarding one’s own intellectual ability and capacity. I noticed how the terminology and methods needed time, and possibly a refresher course or two, to gain some mental traction.

Which brings me to the subject of today’s post – the use of language in Cognitive Edge. Having been immersed in this environment for some time, the terminology has become familiar, and more importantly, useful assistants in my sensemaking for our clients. However, many of our clients and consultants typically do not use such terms (sensemaking, fragments, narrative approach and so on…) on a daily basis and we have received feedback about how confusing some of this “jargon” can be. Eliminating the use of this terminology is not an option, since this language is used because it captures specifically what we mean (or don’t mean).

A solution we’ve found to be effective is to include, in introductory presentations and reports, a brief overview of frequently used terms. Any other suggestions on making our terminology more accessible would be welcome.

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