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Multi-ontology sense making; a new simplicity in decision making

“The purpose of this article is to introduce a new simplicity into acts of decision making and intervention design in organisations.

Ontology is derived from the Greek word for being and it is the branch of metaphysics which concerns itself with the nature of things. In this article it is used to identity different types of system, each of which requires a different approach to both diagnosis and intervention.

The basic principles that underlie this paper are very easy to understand and are illustrated by an example of a children’s party. Multi-ontology sense making is about understanding when to use the outlined methods of management; the structured and ordered approach for planned outcomes and the un-ordered, emergent approach focused on starting conditions expressed as barriers, attractors and identities.

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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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