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A Strategic Conversation: How to Engage Staff in Scanning and Scenario Building

“This paper presents an historical account and some lessons learned in applying a novel approach to horizon scanning and scenario building in a government organizational context in Canada. The methods applied have a direct connection to the first implementation of Singapore’s Risk Assessment and Horizon Scanning project. This paper, with its presented project, demonstrates an approach to engaging large and diverse employee groups in thinking strategically about the future. It also describes the use of tools and methodology that capture high volumes of fragmented data in order to rapidly scan for patterns of meaning. The indirect message is one of coming to terms with not only accepting the uncertainty of complex and highly dynamic and evolving situations, but also learning to think differently and to approach scanning in a way that challenges past practices and assumptions.

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Cognitive Edge Pte Ltd. (t/a The Cynefin Company) are making this material available as part of celebrating and narrating the development and influence of the Cynefin® framework and SenseMaker  in various contexts.

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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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