KMaus09: Final session Cory & companions

August 6, 2009

I’m not blogging the session Ross and I did on Governance, but I will pick up some of the themes over the next month, especially questions of moral compass and technology based augmentation of human intelligence. Cory Banks is now responsible for the final session of the day, wearing a white safety helmet and a yellow vest, many sound effects and now four others arrive with helmets and yellow jackets, threats of an exercise here. Not sure if the audience reaction is rehearsed her, or if Cory is being highly adaptive! Now the Cynefin model is on the screen (feeling nervous here but so far its OK, in fact a nice job.) Moving on to some strucuture

Thinking Foundations

  • Clients: Do it with them, not to them
  • Reuse, recycle, renew
  • Think about your thinking
  • Identify problem first
  • Get past the first pattern match (dogs and mutant rats, too hard to explain)
  • Diversity of thought (collaboration)
  • Realise where you are (complexity)
  • Assumptions can kill (Weak Signals)
  • Reflect and share experience

Points out that he didn’t once mention knowledge management, but thats what all the above is about, its a way to get people to take things seriously. He now moves on to the 6D model, show below.

6D model.pngThe model has two divergent, convergent stages and I’ve shown convergent as reversed (you can work it out), and having established the model the tables are set to work through a problem.

Cory has a complicated table with multiple methods and tools in it. Looks interesting but I can’t replicate in the available time. However as he takes people through the stages he introduces different methods. He is now calling time with blasts on a Queensland Cow horn, illustrating each method with a story which is good, but god do I hate that horn. Good session to end with here, people are energised. Introducing new techniques with some good simple slides. Fair amount of folksy wisdom here and no bad thing at that.

Using multiple methods from different sources, all useful, all interesting and lots of interactivity (but beer calls). Cory is finishing off the session by talking about how they developed the method. D6 was aimed at giving people the tools and confidence to solve problems for clients in Cory’s organisation. Objective to find the real problem early, introducing different ways of thinking, improve the possibilities of solutions (like the use of possible there).

Overall the aim is to improve client perception or his organisation, deliver client outcomes more effectively, improve confidence in solving wicked problems and improve marketability of problem solving capability. Sounds like its worked, part of that I think is that it is a composite of different things and its simple. Nice to see the Cynefin model up front and used in a pragmatic way. It wouldn’t be Cory without a mind map and it comes up! Not so sure about the Brain Power, well the idea is OK its the name really. The vertical dimension is simple-complicated-complex with the horizontal dimension as time. Shows the pattern of thinking (with a big difference, reversal in fact, between graduate and experienced staff) over time and allows selection of methods. List of models used, including Cognitive Edge material and a whole screen full of hexies!

The promoted the method in novel ways, including chocolate (which is cheating). They expected 50 people, but had 300 people do the introduction course via eLearning training in the first week. Progressive training: introduction, L plates, P plates, O Levels. Over time they will also train people on other courses, such as ours on sense-making as well as deBono etc.

Interesting that this is an engineering company. Thinking about it most of the innovation in KM has come from engineering, narrative rich problem solving cultures. I still remember another Australian Engineering company, Lend Lease, which impressed me a decade ago.

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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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