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Advanced Complexity & Cynefin: Masterclass with Dave Snowden – London, W2 2EA


We live in a world gone VUCA, and leaders face increasingly unprecedented levels of volatility and complexity. In this context, having the right tools and frameworks for leaders and decision-makers to make sense of, and act in complexity is increasingly important. Cynefin has been identified as a key sense-making tool for those working in constantly-evolving, dynamic environments, dealing daily with uncertainty and risk.

This 2-day Masterclass is a chance to spend some time with the creator of Cynefin, Dave Snowden, discussing strategy, leading in complexity, and the latest developments of the framework, and managing through ambiguity.


What will I learn?
The Cynefin framework has now been used around the world in contexts as diverse as the boardrooms of international fashion houses, software development teams and SWAT teams on the city streets. Decision-makers have applied it across all levels of organisation and in almost every industry.

Beyond the basic framework, Dave has been actively developing Cynefin – did you know that Cynefin has sub-domain models? And, that there are narrative-defined boundaries between domains? Recent developments include thinking about defining domains through constraints, and moving through domains by understanding energy, knowledge and resource flows in and organisation, and how “gradients” can be manipulated to manage these flows.

This class focuses specifically on Advanced Complexity & Cynefin, where Dave will cover core theory underlying complexity thinking, but shift the focus to the most current thinking in the field. The focus will be on managing complexity – applying enabling constraints to create self-organisation within the organisational ecology, and understanding energy gradients to shift between domains.

Course content
Over these 2-days, we will cover:

  • Advanced Complexity Thinking – and its implications for leadership & management
  • Cynefin – Cynefin sub-domains & Emergent Cynefin Domains
  • Managing and strategising in Complexity using Constraints
  • Energy gradients for Cynefin Dynamics
  • Apex Predator Theory – understanding life cycles of industry, as well as positioning strategy for handling disruption
  • Various practical methods and applications including Ritual Dissent & Heuristics mapping
  • Heuristics and self-organising teams

Who should attend?
Masterclasses are designed for Advanced learners and practitioners – and the session is delivered with some assumed pre-requisite learning. Practitioners should have attended either the 4-day Cynefin & Sense-making, or 3-day Complexity & Cynefin Foundations sessions before attending this Masterclass.
If you have attended a Masterclass before, this session will still present valuable take-aways and the latest developments on CE concepts and thinking.

Notes on the Masterclass
This session on Advanced Complexity will be delivered by Dave Snowden in a boardroom-lecture style, with lightly facilitated discussion segments and activities. Cognitive Edge Masterclasses are designed to stimulate a deeply discursive and engaging conversation, and attendees often find value if they come in pairs or a small team such that the discussions and knowledge synthesis continue beyond the class.
Dave Snowden was formerly a Director in the IBM Institute for Knowledge Management where he led programmes on complexity and narrative. He is a leading keynote speaker at major conferences around the world and is known for his extensive use of stories to communicate what would otherwise be difficult concepts. Dave Snowden has an MBA from Middlesex University and a BA in Philosophy from Lancaster University. He teaches on various university programmes throughout the world. He regularly consults at the board level with some of the world’s largest companies as well as to Government and NGOs.


Cognitive Edge reserves the right to cancel or re-schedule the offered session. In the event of cancelation or rescheduling, a full refund of course fees will be processed within 10 business days of cancellation or rescheduling notice. Cancellations by registrants are only permitted with a minimum of 3 weeks notice ahead of course delivery date with refunds provided less a 10% processing fee. Substitutions are permitted at any time as well as rescheduling attendance to an alternate session within a 12 month period.

Explanation of the ticket choices:

  1. If you are part of a group of FOUR (4) or more people, then please email training@cognitive-edge.com for a group discount.
  2. Premium Members get 15% discount on all training. Sign up for the Network here: Cognitive Edge network registration for a Basic membership. When you’ve done that you’ll be directed to the Network Dashboard page, click on the upgrade option to pay to become a Premium member and use the 15% discount code.
  3. Group discounts cannot be used cumulatively with Network Membership discounts.


October 12, 2017 – October 13, 2017


9:00 am – 5:00 pm



etc.venues Marble Arch, Garfield House, 86 Edgware Road