July 7, 2009

Today I have run a workshop with some great technicians in the field of orthopedic instruments. A management team comes together to discuss the strategic focus and direction of the company. No one is late. My first kickoff question is what they remembered from the previous workshop on the same subject some 3 months ago. The first answer sets the pattern of responses: they felt lost in the jungle of descriptions, wanted to finish something into concrete writing . Sense making was not even on my mind. Nevertheless we agreed to come to an inspiring mission, vision, purpose and accompanied by core values

My second question was to investigate their dreams. Using post its, in a few seconds they wrote down their thoughts. After writing down the answers on a flipchart some strange feeling came upon me: they really strived for perfect cooperation. No single reference was made to the client, nor significant stakeholder. I confronted them with a small picture ( they tell more than 1000 words)/

On the left side a small human creature , in the middle a small pyramid ( reflecting the key problems they were facing) and on the right side a big really big pyramid. Then I drew a straight line from the top of the creature, to the top of the pyramid. And suddenly the small obstacle was no obstacle anymore. People tend to stick to daily issues and never think of the long term desire. In less than 3 hours we completed a thought provoking and inspiring philosophy . Orthopedia is about creating opportunities to fully explore and exploit life as it is meant to be. Some even would like to call it a basic right. The right to to be able to move freely and to possess space. Never thought of that before. Start wondering yourself and you will be surprised of the opportunities you have. Even in creating mission and vision things.

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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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