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Cynefin and sense-making

Mon - Thu
June 8 - 11, 2015
9:00AM - 5:00 PM

etc.venues Paddington
57 North Wharf Road,
London, W2 1LA
United Kingdom

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the theory and practice of managing complexity for resilience


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The context

Never has there been a greater need to manage more things with fewer resources. To create organisations that are resilient under conditions of uncertainty requires new ways of thinking and acting. Those who stay within the safety of the old paradigm sooner or later fail.

Why complexity?
Why Cynefin?

Complexity theory, which emerged from the natural sciences over the last few decades, provides a scientific framework to understand an organisation's interactions as a complex ecology in which the emergence of beneficial patterns is managed rather than engineered as a solution.
Cynefin is one of the leading frameworks in complexity theory, winning awards from the Academy of Management as well as a feature on the cover of the Harvard Business Review in November 2007.

What will I learn?

Aside from a range of practical methods that are supported by documentation and examples, you will gain insight into a range of scientific disciplines and their applications. Basic heuristics – rules of thumb – to help you cope with the unanticipated are a key element of the programme, as are teaching stories, extended discussions and exercises.

Why do people come on the training?

There isn’t a single pattern. Frequently teams come from a single organisation with specific issues. Others run small consultancy groups and want new tools and techniques. Others are just curious and want to expand their understanding of a radical new way of thinking and acting.

What options are there if I am interested?

The programme can be taken as separate days - each is distinct and assumes no prior knowledge. In addition, the first half day can be used to provide a broad overview of complexity. For those who do not attend day one, an additional half hour session takes place on days two and three.

If you would like to talk about the programme just email us and someone will be in touch.

What sort of people benefit from the training?

The programme is designed to work at all levels; the only real pre-qualification is an enquiring mind! Previous courses have included small consultancy groups and C-level executives from Fortune 500 companies. For some examples of those who have participated, click through.

Why Cognitive Edge?

Cognitive Edge have been providing and developing training this area for the better part of a decade. We have a strong publications record as well as clear leadership in method development and software tools for managing complexity.

What have other people said?


I loved every single minute of the Cynefin training. The subject is more than interesting, important for me.

Event Facilitator

Dave Snowden, Founder and Chief Scientific Officer
Dave is a popular and passionate keynote speaker on complexity, knowledge management, and decision-support, and is well known for his pragmatic cynicism and iconoclastic style. He is an international authority on the application of complexity theory to organisations, strategy, and decision support and has written articles and scholarly works on leadership, knowledge management, strategic thinking, strategic planning, conflict resolution, weak signal detection and organisational development.
Dave is the originator of the Cynefin framework, and continues to apply and evolve its use as a practical application of complexity theory to management science. He holds an MBA from Middlesex University, and a BA in Philosophy from Lancaster University.

Tony Quinlan, Cognitive Edge Partner
Tony is a business partner and trainer with Cognitive Edge.  Following a career in communications, he has been working with narrative techniques for over a decade for a wide variety of corporate, government and NGO clients.  He has led SenseMaker® projects looking at culture in Pakistan, Mexico and in the UK; salesforce improvement across Europe and has applied many Cognitive Edge techniques in a wide variety of organisations, big and small. Tony’s entertaining training style, effective communications, and wealth of experience has been delighting Cognitive Edge training attendees for over 3 years.
Tony holds a BSc from Durham University and has completed graduate courses at Strathclyde Graduate Business School, Glasgow, UK.  Today he is a keynote speaker, expert facilitator and international consultant. But he’s also been a radio presenter, actor, software programmer, TV tuner, radar designer and lift attendant. Needless to say, he’s got stories about all of them.

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