All living things seem driven at the most basic levels to self-repair. Multi-cellular organisms have a particular obsession with it – in fact, a cell’s inability to maintain its DNA undamaged is one of the primary triggers for what’s called apoptosis, or “programmed cell death”, when the mitochondria in a cell unleash a biochemical collapse. […]
I have a friend who is a designer. When he talks about a company’s product he has the habit of saying things like “look what he’s trying to do here, it’s very clever, he’s obviously thinking of …”. This is for a product that is certainly not the production of a single person. My friend […]
Skin carries – and reveals – the memory of the body’s interaction with the world, whether it is as an interface with the environment (the effects of being out in all kinds of weather, excessive suntanning, scars from injuries and burns) or as a manifestation of what the body has consumed over time (drug and […]
I have a few posts in mind which will attempt to use what we know of the human body as an analogy to help us make sense of the social body we call the organisation. Analogies, like metaphors, example stories and even taxonomies, can be useful sensemaking devices insofar as they reflect broadly similar situations […]
The fourth and last answer to the four horsemen of the apocalypse is the absolute rebuttal of magical thinking, and of instant answers. It acknowledges the primary message that Death carries, which is that failing organisations will take their own time to move to less injurious modes of being. Neither single and simple interventions, nor […]
Positive deviance is a concept that emerged in the field of development aid during the 1960s, and it found its initial expression among nutrition experts who wanted to find out why the children of some families were much healthier than others in a given village though they were subjected to the same poverty and the […]
In my last post I suggested that building capabilities in an organization and in individuals is a necessary step to enable the growth of authority. Building capabilities also underpins any meaningful response to the Horsemen of Famine and Death. Both horsemen preach despair – indeed the lethality of Famine is that it first removes the […]
In my final posts this week I want to cover four inter-connected areas of work that I think show some promise of hope against the apocalyptic horsemen. They offer a real-world counter to the bi-polar disorder we threaten to slide into when things get messy. And I’m going to try to say what kind of […]
The final horseman of the apocalypse is Death (though he is not the last of the apocalyptic signs). At first glance, he seems almost superfluous, with Pestilence, War and Famine preceding him. I think the reason why Death comes last is that he is sovereign and self-determined. When apocalypse strikes, it’s already too late to […]
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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