A deeper exploration of background
The Cynefin Centre Climate Change Program

This document is both an introduction and a frame for our climate change program. It is an attempt to address the enormity of the problem of climate change and our responses to it, in action and inaction. In a sense, it is a continuation of the blog post Dave Snowden wrote to introduce the study (Snowden, 2019). There, he voiced his concerns about the risk of paralysis caused by horror stories of the potential impact of climate change and argued for the power of small actions to restore a sense of agency and inspire further action.

The Climate Change Program explores the response to climate change from the perspective of the unique complexity of human systems, without neglecting the entanglements with sustainability and biodiversity. Changes in temperature, sea levels, or weather patterns are measured through computational complexity.

Our pilot climate change study (let’s call in here our Acorn Study) was just a first step, and we are now driven by the desire to go much deeper- encourage that seed we planted to start growing. We want to see it turn into an oak, and we want to allow a whole ecosystem to grow around it. In what follows, we will:

  • Explore the part we see ourselves playing in the response to climate change,
  • Outline some possible research avenues, and some significant implications and potential future actions, which are both
    backed by our results so far as well as a (by no means exhaustive) literature review.

This program includes research streams that organisations or individuals can join, either by using ready-made and well-researched material and instruments or collaborating on new elements as new situations and themes begin to emerge. We also send out occasional open and public pulses using SenseMaker®. All program members are able to join and share in the results, building a collaborative space of data sharing and exchange.


Read also the following blog posts:


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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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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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