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Goodworks: Making Sense of Life in a Public Hospital

January 10, 2008

I just got a copy of this case study in from a recent project run by Cognitive Edge practitioners in the Phillipines. It is worth reading in full, but the following quote was a highlight for me.

Although traditional teambuilding might have relieved the momentary relationship tensions, we did not feel that it would help the group in identifying underlying and emergent issues at the appropriate level of depth. Our experience applying the techniques from complexity science was gratifying and shifted the atmosphere in the group to one of realistic hope.

All that came from attendance on an accreditation course which is good news for us; it shows our training model is working in that people feel confident using a novel set of techniques early (with some mentoring). I was also putting some testimonials together for the brochure for the next Australian accreditation course (Canberra 11-13 March 2008) and also in South Africa (Pretoria 3-5 March 2008). When we asked for these I expected the normal we had a great time on the course type comments. However what we got were quotes from independent consultants, academics and in house people on the impact of the course on their day to day practice. Now that was nice, so in shameless promotion of the upcoming courses in Washington DC (22-24 January) and Cardiff, Wales (18-20 February) I repeat them below. Hot off the press by the way: the Cardiff course will incorporate a public session with Ralph Stacy, one of the pioneers of complexity theory in management and strategy.

I use a number of the Cognitive Edge tools and concepts with students studying adult and workplace learning at UTS. The tools and concepts challenge many current ‘taken for granted’ assumptions about constituent elements of ‘best practice’ in such areas as ‘training’ and ‘management development’. In doing so they enable – in ways provided by no other current frameworks – development of effective adult education programs for use in contexts prone to continual change and uncertainty

Elyssebeth Leigh, Faculty of Education University of Technology, Sydney

I was very happy to bring along members of my knowledge management team to the course so that we could learn together about the application of modern complexity approaches in organizations and tailor them to the particular needs of our own unique organization.

Bonnie Cheuk Knowledge Manager, The British Council

The course gave me a good sense of how to apply Cognitive Edge into a real change project. I found the evening discussions particularly useful because we talked through the applications of Cognitive Edge on a current workplace situation and we are currently undertaking a significant project using the methods.

Sheila Esther Wee , Assistant Director Ministry of Education, Singapore.

Hands-on use of the Cognitive Edge tools, coupled with support and engagement with the practitioners network really made the Cognitive Edge accreditation valuable to my practice

Alistair Gibbons, Athena Solutions New Zealand

The Cognitive Edge material has proven extraordinarily useful in working with a range of complex large client groups. The model offers excellent innovative thinking opportunities , it opens doors to new ways to explore business and organisation. the tools are flexible enough to enable most senior managers and executives to recognise innovative problem solving capacity they have never previously explored. The narrative methods open doors that traditional story telling has envisaged but been unable to deliver.

Phill Boas, Centre for Executive Education Melbourne Business School

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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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