Today I was privileged to be invited as to present along with four others at an Innovation Diffusion workshop for UCL in connection with the NHS. The format involved each if us presenting for ten minutes each along with some interrogation from panel members in the morning. In the afternoon the wider audience synthesised the the material and came up a list of characteristics that the health system needs to allow innovative ideas and practice to diffuse through the service as a whole.
I promised that I would summarise my ten minutes here and provide some links to supporting material. I’ll do my best to do that so this post is of general interest not just an aide memoir to those who were there. One of the themes, namely the criticality of weak signal detection is well illustrated by one of Hugh’s Gaping Void gems shown. There are some wonderful ideas out there, but how to make them visible?
I referenced Cognitive Edge’s background in weak signal detection (that grain of sand) in counter terrorism, the philosophy of cognitive complexity, taking a natural science approach to social systems and our development of SenseMaker® (described by one Home Office anthropologist as the first example of a system for distributed ethnography). I mentioned our work with the US Army, the developments we have just completed to create a battlefield KM demonstrator that has applications outside of a military environment. I also talked about our recent project for Global Giving in Kenya and some of the conclusions that came from that.
I then gave a basic overview of complexity theory, defining it in terms of constraints and agent behaviour using the children’s party story to illustrate the point. Decided to have a go at sick stigma, BPR with bible belt cultism added on for good measure, high priests of the cult wear different coloured belts etc. Never understood why anyone combines it with Lean which has a different philosophy.
Two minutes in, eight to go …..
That complete I went on to make some observations on the field:
Four minutes in, six to go; good audience response so I’ll risk a bit more content than I planned
What should we do? What principles should we adopt
Now moving to action and another set of five (I do like symmetry in rhetoric)
Concluding I emphases the need for messy coherence, relaxing constraints to allow new patterns to emerge. We handle uncertainty with sound theory, tested through multiple safe-fail experiments. Praxis as they say makes perfect.
Oh, and if I am honest 12 minutes …..
Links to related material
Sometime ago I gave a general presentation to senior leaders in NHS London. That covers a lot of the material. The slides for both the keynote and the workshop can be found here. The podcast for the keynote is here, and for the workshop here. Now it was not really a workshop! I was asked to do one and wrote an agenda assuming a couple of hours not 40 minutes! So I chose to cover the material at a high level and provide backup here. So links and materials relating to both poadcast and workshop are as follows:
Link: Detailed discussion of SenseMaker® (the micro-narrative software which is not open source. That presentation includes Cynefin and the S-curve material. There are also case studies here and here. The latter links to two Huffington Post Articles that I referenced in the keynote.
Link: Videos that elaborate on the analysis side of SenseMaker® (these are real cases)
Link: Various videos of the Children’s Party story, an overview of Cynefin and two presentations on innovation.
Link: The US Navy version of the Children’s Party story told as a Socratic dialogue
Link: Social network stimulation – creating an innovation network (not discussed in the event but its linked)
All methods are open source and there is other material to explore on the site
Link: The Harvard Business Review article on complexity theory is here
Link: A more academic article with older language with Kurtz, one of the most referenced
Link: Multi-ontology sensemaking (a half way house between the above two
Link: Original Cynefin model paper in the context of Knowledge Management
Link: Academic article on abductive or narrative research
Link: Summary of Complex Adaptive systems from one of the leading authors in the field
You can also find third party articles here, and more by me here and other podcasts here.
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It is with great regret that I report today the passing of Gerry Rafferty. Gerry ...