New seminar programme

June 7, 2010

I’m looking forward to my impending four week tour of New Zealand, Australia and Singapore. A mixture of meetings, project work, a couple of rugby matches and a series of one day seminars all make for a rich mix. As part of the preparation I have been working on the agenda for the seminars and have made some significant changes to focus on complexity based strategy. Part of the problem in the past has been the need to spend an hour or so level setting as some participants are new to the ideas, others have heard the odd keynote or attended a three day accreditation course. That reduces the time available for new material and results either in the compression of that material or reducing the content. Now we have more supporting material so I have had a chance to review and amend the material. Part of this review is to make sure that there is no overlap with the accreditation courses. New thinking and methods will also be introduced through the seminar series. My first draft is below – all and any comments welcome.

I’m probably going to add an open session on SenseMaker® at the end of each masterclass as well – details will be sent to the network when available later this week

In order to deal with the time issue, all registered delegates will be sent a copy of the HBR article and links to some key blogs and uTube videos to read before the seminar itself. I plan to keep this simple, but it will allow the level set at the start to be ten minutes not an hour. So my new draft programme is as follows, each section represents a 1.5 hour session and I am working on 60:40 split between lecture and conversation/exercises (this is an intensive after all). At the moment this has no marketing speak added by the way, its a working outline and I will remove the specialist language/jargon after I have worked on it some more.

Key aspects of complexity theory applied to human systems.

Basic principles of complexity management (finely grained objects, distributed cognition, disintermediation) and the use of safe-fail. Placing complexity thinking in context, understanding the evolution of management theory and practice over the last few decades. The difference between complex and complicated and its importance.

New organisational models, an ecological approach

Managing and stimulating the formation within and across the boundaries of the firm. Sustaining connectivity, working across silos using a naturalistic model. Beyond the matrix organisation, how to use crews, identify key roles and deploy. Beyond organisational values and missions statements, how to manage and direct naturally occurring values. The role of ethics in governance. Mass employee & citizen engagement in problem solving, the strategic use and understanding of social computing.

Risk and decision making under conditions of uncertainty

Resilient strategy: shifting from preventing failure (robustness) to early detection and rapid recovery from tolerated (and tolerable) failure. Using such conditions to achieve radical change. Markets as ecologies, dominant predator positioning. From scenario planning to the use of micro-scenarios, real time scenario creation. The See-Attend-Act model of sense-making

Applying complexity theory to your organisation

A step by step flow chart (with options) covering the process of adopting complexity theory as a strategic framework within the organisation. Making sure you don’t throw out the baby with the bathwater, the legitimate application of process management and other established techniques. Sustainability as an organising philosophy of action. Working from where you are, managing the evolutionary possibilities of the present. Crisis management and crisis exploitation. Constraint management. Designing an enterprise architecture in which technology augments and extends human intelligence rather than driving the enterprise or reducing human capacity for innovation.

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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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