2014 Education + Sydney ALERT

January 21, 2014

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 content was not changed/renewed/re-thought.  Now both are legitimate regrets, but the first can only be that; we all have to learn when to allow something to move on.  The second however was more serious and when I got back involved early last year we took the opportunity for a revamp and the inclusion of a lot of new material.  We also ran a compromise in which I taught some, but not all and progressively less.

So for 2014 I will be present for some days on all the London courses which will be residential at the old Civil Service Training College near Heathrow.  In other Geographies I will be there for at least one a year, so New York, Copenhagen, South Africa and Australia are all planned.   Michael wrote a long post on locations and times recently and that gives you all the links to the booking forms, although you can go to the education page on the web site.  We designed the course over four days with a much clearer division of content.   The idea, which has been achieved, is to allow each day to stand on its own, or form part of a coherent programme.  In practice the majority of delegates have booked for three or four days at one sitting.  We are still moving towards an experienced based accreditation programme, but I can't commit to that until we have the spare cash to invest in staff and a website revamp and at the moment priority is to SenseMaker® development.   A lot of people don't realise this, but Cognitive Edge is entirely self-funded.  I nearly a decade of existence we have built a software and education business on the back of revenue without VC investment.  That may change as we seek to expand faster but it has allowed us a lot of freedom which I am reluctant to surrender.

It took a bit longer than planned to get the programme together this year, and then another opportunities arose in Sydney and Wellington that need my presence so we organised the first programme in Sydney for the 10th-13th of February which is soon!  Normally we like to give more notice.   For those in Australian and New Zealand it means that this is the LAST opportunity in 2014 to attend the programme with me teaching the bulk, aided by Zhen from our Singapore office.  It is also the first time back to Sydney for some time, the bulk of programmes the last two years have been in Melbourne.

As I said the four days are stand alone and there is a brochure, but to give you an idea of how it works:

  1. The opening day is suitable for anyone, including senior management (who can just turn up for the first half day).  It covers the basics of complexity theory from a human systems perspective and includes things like safe-to-fail intervention design, resilience and what you can actually manage if the situation is complex.  There is a very basic introduction to Cynefin and time is spent on an updated table from the HBR article on Leadership.  There is a basic overview of SenseMaker® from a management perspective in the first half day.
  2. Day two is the Cynefin day, starting with the framework itself and then working through each domain before situating Cynefin in the wider field of complexity studies and systems.   The domain models with their nine sub-domains are one of the big innovations of the last year (clip in opening picture) and are proving very useful in everything from strategic planning to pre-scrum processes within Agile methods for those from an IT background.
  3. Moving into the third day we start to focus on organisational design, cultural change and knowledge management (although I prefer to call that Decision Support).  This includes a revamped approach to decision mapping within organisations along with building and creating social networks.  For those interested in organisational design for resilience, including novel techniques such as the use of crews, this is the day.
  4. Finally  we focus on narrative, both our most popular techniques such as archetype construction (now extended to situational archetypes for a range of purposes in safety, software design and conflict resolution) and new approaches to providing direct in uncertainty namely the use of parables and heuristics.   In the afternoon we focus on SenseMaker® both from theory of why but also a more pragmatic lets talk about projects.   

We mix teaching with discussion and exercises but make no mistake (especially when I teach it) this is a content rich programme.  There are discounts if you have been before and want an update as well as for bulk bookings.   If you want to know more feel free to get in touch.


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About the Cynefin Company

The Cynefin Company (formerly known as Cognitive Edge) was founded in 2005 by Dave Snowden. We believe in praxis and focus on building methods, tools and capability that apply the wisdom from Complex Adaptive Systems theory and other scientific disciplines in social systems. We are the world leader in developing management approaches (in society, government and industry) that empower organisations to absorb uncertainty, detect weak signals to enable sense-making in complex systems, act on the rich data, create resilience and, ultimately, thrive in a complex world.

Cognitive Edge Ltd. & Cognitive Edge Pte. trading as The Cynefin Company and The Cynefin Centre.


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