Belfast Network

February 25, 2008

Greetings from Belfast. My relationship with Cognitive Edge goes back a while. I used to work in family therapy practice a long time ago mainly using systems approaches. I then moved into organisational development specialising in leadership, strategy and change. As my thinking and work developed systems thinking did not provide me with the conceptual frameworks to plan useful interventions for complex space.

I work a lot in settings where there is multi agency acitivity such as children’s services, public health and well being, regeneration, youth justice and culture change. I was inspired by Meg Wheatley’s book Leadership and the New Science in 1997 which introduced me to complexity thinking. I then stalked Dave Snowden for a while until five years ago on the 3 March 2003 I went to London to the Gurteen Knowledge Cafe which he addressed. I invited Dave to come over the Ireland to work with me on the Institute for PUblic Health in Ireland Leadership progamme. He introduced participants to a number of the Cynefin methods including ABIDE, Archetype development and intractable problem solving. Some people loved it others were not so sure. It taught me that not everyone is looking or ready for this knowledge and approach. It is better to have them seek it out or for it to be used it discerningly with enlightened client systems. I did the Accreditation programme in 2005 in London and have benefitted since from ongoing support and mentoring from Dave and Steve. Recently I invited Dave over to Belfast in February 2008 and he ran a highly successful masterlcass in Belfast for about 45 public sector and third sector leaders. Good news: THEY REALLY GOT IT. We are planning an accreditation programme here in May and hope to have a number of teams of participants from different organisations and sectors who will have projects in which to apply the methods. If we get the starting conditions right we may have a harvest of demonstration projects in 2009.

During his stay Dave also enjoyed a rugby display by Ulster at Ravenhill over a Welsh team.

Stand up.

Anne McMurray

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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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