July 28, 2007

As an adjective, irascible is defined as irritable, quick-tempered, short-tempered, hot-tempered, testy, touchy, tetchy, edgy, crabby, petulant, waspish, dyspeptic, snappish; cross, surly, crusty, grouchy, grumpy, cranky, cantankerous, curmudgeonly, ill-natured, peevish, querulous, fractious; informal prickly, snippy. It’s how I feel at the moment, but I would not define it as a normal state. Karyn’s erratic learning journey, (an interesting and delightfully named blog) used the word (positively I think) when she said: my view of Dave Snowden is that he is irascible. Occasionally controversial, which is what we like, after all. Curmudgeon I would happily accept (in the referenced definition only); irascible I might normally have balked at, but today (or rather very early this morning in Perth) it is a completely accurate description of how I feel, thanks yet again to the absurdity of airline processes.

So why I am in Perth, when I should be asleep somewhere over the Southern Ocean? Well the plane from Sydney was an hour and a half late, the connecting flight to Jo’burg could not be held for 30 minutes to allow 19 passengers to make it. Airlines are incredible, they would have no compunction in holding the flight in suspended animation for 900 years awaiting lemon-soaked paper napkins if it suited them (If you don’t get that reference then I am not going to help you by linking, its a book everyone should have read by now). They offer a flight tomorrow, which means I would miss my flight to London, which means I would miss my flight to Washington. And that crazy schedule is all because I could not get a round the world ticket. It was all set up with one wait list, on QF64 Jo’burg to Sydney, a flight on which I had a confirmed seat, but Qantas could not substitute one for the other. Net result two additional 13 hour flights, lost revenue for Qantas and BA and a larger carbon footprint than I care to think about.

So I am now in a hotel, its 0120 local time and I will have to spend several hours on the phone trying to sort things out. The simple solution of sending me back to London from Perth via Singapore creates mayhem between airlines (albeit they are in the same One World so called Alliance). Maybe sanity will prevail tomorrow morning, we shall see. Either way, I settle down in an OK (but no more) hotel room to link to the internet, but the hotel have disabled that (Qantas are paying for a bed and gruel but nothing else). So I have to go downstairs to hand over my credit card and finally make a connection at the normal rip off rates in Australian hotels. Then my google alert on Snowden leads me to Karyn Romeis and the most appropriate word to describe my current state of mind.

Incidentally is it wonderfully humbling to have a google alert on your surname, you get to find some very interesting people to whom you hope you might be related, and some others where you pray that no genetic link exists.

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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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