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Dave Snowden
When I started this series I said I was going to follow the metaphor of creating a painting with a twist at the end. Well its Christmas Eve and once I’ve completed this post I’m shutting down to start cooking for Christmas and start thinking about the ethics series after a G&T and a few […]
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Dave Snowden
In any art work the final adjustments mean that we are nearing completion, in cultural change I want to argue, it is the sign that the process is only just starting. An initiative is designed to start a journey rather than complete a goal. In an ideal world managing culture would be a constantly evolving […]
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Dave Snowden
The big issues are now behind us in this series and the final three posts (with the promised twist on the 7th) are all about fine tuning the work. I’ve used two images here to make contrasting points. The banner picture both shows the different impact of colour over black and white and serves in […]
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Dave Snowden
Chiaroscuro is an art term, Italian in origin which refers to light and dark. It originated in an artistic technique that used ink and white paint but the technique touches genius in the work of Caravaggio with whom to be honest I have an obsession, to my mind easily the greatest of painters in the […]
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Dave Snowden
While having specific goals is not possible in a complex system, and any cultural change is complex, it doesn’t mean that we can’t have a sense of direction and/or purpose. When a painter starts on their canvass they have a sense of what they are going to create. There are obvious questions such as is […]
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Dave Snowden
I’m using the metaphor of a painting to provide structure to this series and all paintings have to start somewhere. One of the reasons for this is the sense of doing something with intent. I’m not attempting an anthropological treatise here, my focus is on the ubiquitous attempts to engineer culture change in organisations a […]
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Dave Snowden
The Oxford English Dictionary defines culture as “The arts and other manifestations of human intellectual achievement regarded collectively” and “The ideas, customs, and social behaviour of a particular people or society”. The origin is in the Latin colere meaning tend or cultivate and in the early 16th Century the meaning developed from an agricultural context […]
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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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