Consulting, Education, and Transference

October 20, 2010

I had such an overwhelmingly positive experience working with a client yesterday. It is one of those experiences that brings to mind that we are involved in an ongoing shift of thinking about management practices that is truly eye-opening for many people. Perhaps it is a sort of grandiosity that I allow myself to think that management practice will change significantly over the next 50 years and that I am contributing to this.

Regardless, it is such a pleasure to see people recognize a large field of action and to see ways in which growth includes not only financial performance but human relationships that support this. It reminds me that as a consultant, I am not only in the business of advising, but education. It is an amazingly positive feeling to observe, as I have in so many cases, the learning that occurs when people begin to see other perspectives in an organizational system.

My colleague Yutaka Yamauchi writes about this process in a recent paper that describes this transference[1]. I also see the work that Phil LeNir is doing at CoachingOurselves and see this as a direct attempt to catalyse the local learning experiences of leadership in organisations. I see Cognitive Edge processes also incredibly valuable in facilitating this kind of transference and am interested in better understanding exactly what conditions support it.

[1] Yamauchi. Power of peripheral designers: how users learn to design. Proceedings of the 4th International Conference on Design Science Research in Information Systems and Technology (2009) pp. 13

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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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