June 4, 2013

We deal with some big issues for our clients and partners on a regular basis and as a small company we handle all the day to day issues of cash flow, strategy, staffing and the like.   These days with the growing acceptance of narrative techniques we are also having to deal with some downright dishonesty and breaking of license conditions as well.  Some of this is good, some bad, some a real pain, some a delight.  All part of the rich tapestry of life, although the lack of integrity and dissembling is difficult to take at times and I keep needing to remind myself of the one bad apple rule (it hasn't ruined the whole basket, but it will if you don't get rid of it quickly).

However its often the small issues which cause the most controversy.   The current one (and ideas appreciated here) is what we should give people who come on the four day programme.  A sell out in Melbourne this week by the way and we will be announcing the next set 9-12 months ahead later this week in the US, Europe and Australia.  In the past we have announced them one at a time, but it is taking people longer to get budgets these days so we are responding to requests for more dates to be announced further ahead.

So back to the question of the freebee.  For the first ever programme during IBM days I had glass dragons made which sat on slate plinths with the year and “Cynefin Practitioner” in English and Welsh inscribed therein.  These are collector items these days and if I was at home, not in Melbourne, I would add a picture at this point!   For the last few years we have handed out moleskin like notebooks with Cognitive Edge printed on the front which have been well received by some, not used by others.  I always think notebooks are a personal issue myself!  I like either a small Moleskin or a larger thinner sketching pad.  They also area  pain to post and carry around the world.  Something I can attest to with the box that I am carrying from Singapore to Melbourne by way of Hong Kong and Bangkok.

With stock running out we are thinking about what to hand out; lots of ideas, but no agreement so far.  Here are some of them:

  • Get Gaping Void to create a cartoon version of Cynefin and use it on mugs, T-Shirts, hats or similar
  • As above but create a high quality version on paper with the year printed so they are particular and easy to ship (people can buy their own frames)
  • Either of the above with a stylised Cynefin drawn by an artist if Hugh is too expensive!
  • Thinner, larger notebooks (more like sketch pads) branded with name or above
  • Hexagon facilitation kits (small ones personal use)
  • Not a pen, but maybe a iPad type pen/sketch tool
  • A fluffy bunny with the Farside birth mark (see opening picture) and a set of darts
  • Cynefin framework on Welsh Slate with year
  • A set of cards with the key models and quotations (or possibly a booklet with the year printed on the cover)
  • Hexagons for all the methods that can be used to create projects
  • Card cases with Cynefin on them
  • A three dimensional Cynefin (think star trek)
  • A toy which illustrates the magnet metaphor
  • A Cynefin equivalent of the snow flake from the South Pole encapsulated in perspex (the most romantic gift ever per Big Bang Theory)
  • A canvass role of coloured pens

Feedback and ideas welcome.  There also seems to be a key split between those people of sound mind and great insight who want something which is more an art work/memory piece and others, mainly of an engineering bent (sic,) who want something functional and have no appreciation of the aesthetic.   I think that is as about as neutral a way of presenting the dilemma as I can think of today.

Either way ideas and comments welcome, here or by email or twitter

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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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