Of small things

January 5, 2014

“It's a little Anxious,” he said to himself, “to be a Very Small Animal Entirely Surrounded by Water.

One of those delightful phrases from a childhood book that stays with you for all time.  My sister once quoted it exactly from her push chair outside the school gate when my Mother was waiting to pick me up. She must have been no more than three at the time, which by coincidence was the same age as that claimed by Piglet in the opening of the chapter: IT rained and it rained and it rained. Piglet told himself that never in all his life, and he was goodness knows how old–three, was it, or four?–never had he seen so much rain. Days and days and days.

It has been a bit like that the last few days.  The floods down in Lynmouth a few days ago and then yesterday the main street in Lockeridge (on which our house, the school and the pub are situated) was a a flowing stream after the various drains blocked.  Fortunately our street facing wall is Sarsen Stone so we have not been affected.  The road however was coated in gravel and debris when I set off for Oxford earlier today.  It's an hours drive but the evidence of weather damage was all around me, and entering Oxford the Isis was close to breaking its banks.

I was there for a meeting and conversation with a Kiwi contact of Peter's on complexity, governance the role of SenseMaker® and various other questions.   The whole theme of governance and complexity is central to me at the moment.  Expect some blog posts next week on realism and assemblage theory as I am reading DeLanda with a view to creating some of the foundations of a set of methods and processes on distributed social policy.   The meeting took place in Blackwell's bookshop which meant I failed to resist a few titles on the way out.   It is a great location for a meeting and the conversation was fascinating.   It resulted in diverting a RTW trip next month to add New Zealand into the trip to take some of it forward.  And I also have meetings in Wales and Nova Scotia before that.  

I remain convinced that it is small countries/provinces with distinct connected cultures that will be able to lead on applying complexity theory.  We have a good history of projects in Nova Scotia and I am looking forward to my week there, flying out tomorrow.

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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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