The Cynefin Framework

Cynefin, pronounced kuh-nev-in, is a Welsh word that signifies the multiple, intertwined factors in our environment and our experience that influence us (how we think, interpret and act) in ways we can never fully understand.

The Cynefin Framework

The Cynefin Framework was developed to help leaders understand their challenges and to make decisions in context. By distinguishing different domains (the subsystems in which we operate), it recognises that our actions need to match the reality we find ourselves in through a process of sense-making. This helps leaders cultivate an awareness of what is really complex and what is not and respond accordingly so that no energy is wasted in overthinking the routine but they also never try to make the complex fit into standard solutions.

The Cynefin Framework is and has been used in almost every conceivable sector: whether strategy, police work, international development, public policy, military, counterterrorism, safety, energy, healthcare, sales or education it has had something to offer. In this video, Dave Snowden introduces the Cynefin framework with a brief explanation of its origin and evolution and a detailed discussion of its architecture and function.

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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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