Horizontal knowledge sharing

August 28, 2009

One of the things which is different about meeting organisations in South Africa is that you are never far from issues of social responsibility and the legacy of Apartheid. Senior executives in organisations that, in the UK or US would want to talk only about business issues, have firm opinions and commitments to issues around education, empowerment and social equality. I spent most of yesterday with my colleagues from The Narrative Lab and some senior executives talking about ways in which we could increase the completion rate of pupils through the various stages of education. It was a creative session, and one of the better ideas was to allow people to talk to people horizontally.

It’s one of my big themes at the moment. You find a brilliant idea, such as Grameen Bank in one country. The various agencies then pick that idea up and attempt to transfer it to another. Sometimes it works sometimes it doesn’t. What you really want is for people in another country with similar issues, to pick up the idea and transform it into their own context. With software like SenseMaker™ we can now see ways to achieving that. Allowing horizontal, fragmented transfer of ideas between people with real needs. The next stage on from that is the bring those people together, problem-solver to problem-solver without the mediation of people from a different world. We are working on that too and its more exciting than many another project, in the main because it would make a different to a world that is in desperate need of new ways to innovate. Distributing cognition and decision making, rather than mediating it through third parties is of critical importance for the future. Hopefully we can make a difference

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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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