Avoiding talking about success

July 2, 2010

I agreed to take part in an interview some weeks ago on success. The transcript is now available here. It needs proof reading and also some side bars to indicate humour (English friends please note). To make it clear this is an opinion piece and its political; its my opinion and my politics which are not those of Cognitive Edge by the way (remember the disclaimer at the bottom of this page).

I must admit I enjoyed the interview and was a little self-indulgent at times but I got some key ideas out. In particular something I believe in firmly, namely that all young people before the age of 25 (i.e. while their brains are still plastic and they are open to new ideas) should spend at least two six month periods doing real work in two alien cultures. One of these days someone in Government might listen, it would be cheap and effective and it might break the culturally entrained patterns of parochialism that pervade the UK and the US (to take just two examples).

To give you a flavor, in response to the question:

But don’t you think like this, we can respect individual value that’s why we can socially make a universal law.

My response:

I fundamentally disagree with it. I think the focus on treating individuals as individuals in isolation from social context has produced much of the ills in the world at the moment. And we need to focus on people in their interactions with family and community in society. Meaning exists in the connection between things, not the things themselves.

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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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