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Max Boisot
As a frequent consumer of its products, I have often pondered the Starbucks phenomenon. A ‘Tall’ tea at Starbucks cost one pound sterling and 45 pence. To get your tall tea, you may have to stand in line for anything between ten and fifteen minutes waiting to be served – often longer at airports. When […]
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Max Boisot
You have a public self and a private self. The public self is what you hold yourself out to be and are willing to take responsibility for; the private self, on the other hand, you may be able to do little about. Peel away the layers of the public self to get to the private […]
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Max Boisot
Pragmatist like Charles Peirce and William James to knowledge to be beliefs that had cash value – ie, that you would be willing to act upon. Last week, account-holders in Britain’s fifth largest mortgage lender, Northern Rock, brought to light a perverse way of looking at the Peirce-James definition of knowledge by acting on beliefs […]
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Max Boisot
According to an article in The Economist of September 15 (‘Business by numbers’) algorithms have become the instruction manuals for a host of routine consumer transactions. Amazon, for example, uses algorithms to help the company recommend further purchases ‘in the neighborhood’ of your new purchase. The logistics firm that will deliver the Amazon product to […]
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Max Boisot
Some years back, Ken Livingstone, the Mayor of London introduced congestion charging for road vehicles wanting to occupy Central London’s road network during working hours. This makes sense since the supply of Central London roads is inherently limited and the demand for central London roads keeps increasing. Economics 101 suggests that congestion charging merely reflects […]
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Max Boisot
In 1949 George Zipf, a Harvard linguistics professor, published Human Behaviour and the Principle of Least Effort: An Introduction to Human Ecology. What became known as Zipf’s law inversely relates the ‘size’ of an occurrence of an event to it’s ‘rank’. For example, he sought to determine the ‘size’ of the 3rd or 8th or […]
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Max Boisot
I have been helping to prepare a workshop that will be held at CERN just outside Geneva in mid November. CERN, you will recall, is where the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), a particle accelerator that is 27-kilometer in circumference, is being built in order to test for the existence of a tiny and elusive particle, […]
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Max Boisot
I often drop in at the Gran Sitges Hotel for a drink. The hotel is conveniently located at the foot of the hill on which my house is located. Three days ago, I went into the bar and asked for Diet Coke. I was told that there was none and was offered a Diet Pepsi […]
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Max Boisot
I often write papers with my friend Bill McKelvey, professor of strategic organizing at UCLA. It works like this. He flies into Barcelona and stays with my wife and me for a few days. He admires the view of the sea from my terrace and we go for frequent walks. The view from my terrace […]
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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.
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