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Cynefin & Theory of Constraints: recordings from masterclass exploration
2019July

This full-day recording offers four lecture sessions delivered by Steve Holt and Dave Snowden at a Cynefin® and Theory of Constraints Exploratory in July 2019 in Chicago. Anyone with interest in exploring the synergies and interplay between the Theory of Constraints and the Cynefin® framework with an anthro-complexity perspective will get significant value in these recorded lectures.

Noting the many examples and connecting the cross-references between Steve’s and Dave’s lectures, viewers will have an opportunity to consider applications and methods to improve processes, performance and ultimately results across a range of operating environments. The Cynefin lecture sessions in particular will offer those interested in innovation, weak-signal detection, and organisational change novel options for tackling challenging issues and creating lasting operational improvement impacts in their organisations. Complimenting these opportunities with the TOC methods and instruction offered by Steve Holt delivers the intended benefit of this lecture series.

Session 1: Overview of Theory of Constraints (1) Steve Holt (Duration – 1:47 hr) In session 1, Steve Holt does a level-set on a range of foundational concepts to TOC. After providing some background on his journey of study and application of quality improvement efforts, TOC, and Cynefin, Steve proceeds to cover the following: Influence of Eli Goldrat Four Pillars of TOC Inherent Simplicity Constraints / bottlenecks Drum Buffer Rope (DBR) Session 2: Overview of Theory of Constraints (2). Steve Holt (Duration – 1:29 hr)

Session 2 Steve continues covering key concepts in TOC and helps participants understand their application with real-world examples and thought exercises. Session 2 covers the following: CCPM (single and multi-project) Distribution Goal tree Current Reality Tree Future Reality Tree Conflict Clouds Change Matrix

Session 3: Cynefin, Anthro-complexity & Constraints. Dave Snowden (1:41 hr) In Session 3 Dave introduces Cynefin and the parallels and differences to TOC. This session covers: the premises of anthro-complexity and how natural sciences form a constraint on social systems; three types of approaches to complexity: (i) computational, (ii) metaphorical, and (iii) anthro-complexity; the dangers of alignment and the importance of coherent heterogeneity; Gaussian v Pareto distributions and assessment of risk; Apex predator theory; argument against universalism and the need for context in which change is possible; and, Cynefin framework – liminal version complexity methods are context-specific NOT complex-free disruption, paradigms, explained by s-curves

Session 4: Liminal Cynefin, Anthro-complexity, & Constraints. Dave Snowden (1:32 hr) In session 4 Dave concludes the Cynefin deep-dive on Cynefin touching on certain TOC connections highlighting key differences. the applicability of Cynefin when a disruptive shift in the market is underway triggering anticipatory awareness using human abductive methods; the importance of building attention processes into a human system so when they are triggered people behave differently; requisite ambiguity; the value of conveying intent with metaphor, counterfactuals, and alternative histories; typology of constraints; working with constraints to change the system (map, relax, enforce, or change) dispositionality and system readiness for change Liminal Cynefin and dynamics between domains (including liminal domains) Trios and Triple-8 Session 4: Anticipatory awareness vs planning and forecasting, requisite ambiguity, typology of constraints (and more).

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Terms of Use

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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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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