Of Tidal Pots & a sea passage

July 12, 2009

P7120002_2.JPG Saturday saw me fly to Seattle via New York by way of New York; better a longer routing with American Airlines than a direct flight with British (its your privilege to be allowed to fly with us) Airways. Arriving late at night I managed to stay awake at the wheel of the hire car long enough to make the hotel alive if exhausted, Old Harry’s Game Series 7 on the iPod helped enormously, its difficult to fall asleep when you are laughing. Sunday morning involved an early morning trip up Bellingham, to meet Marc Pierson and his three daughters for the ferry trip to Victoria. This somewhat complicated arrangement allowed me meet Marc’s daughters (a delight, the eldest is 12), spend several hours talking with Marc, and meet up for lunch with Sue Stephen who has recently retired from BC Forestry and is one of the longest standing members of the Cognitive Edge network. She has done pioneering work using SenseMaker™ on fragmented scenario planning and a range of HR subjects. We had a great conversation about government and its role and based on that I’m pretty sure Sue intends an active retirement!
The picture shows her holding the tidal pot that was her retirement gift from Cognitive Edge. Sue has roots in Wales (Llandegla) and the pot came from a Welsh artist who’s environmental themes match many of Sue’s interests, I also think its an evocative piece that shows its origins the artists love of estuaries. Its always dangerous buying art for others, but I was pretty sure she would like it. After lunch I rejoined Marc whose family had spent the period in the BC museum, and thence back to Bellingham. Marc is doing pioneering work in health care, as Sue was a pioneer in strategy. Both were among the very early adopters of the Cynefin framework, and live a short sea journey away from each other! A good and relaxing day over, I am now to bed; Monday sees meetings with Microsoft and the Gates Foundation together with an evening session (of which more tomorrow) with friends from Vancouver engaged in a pioneering community project on narrative just up the coast, and across the border in Vancouver.

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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.

Cognitive Edge Ltd. & Cognitive Edge Pte. trading as The Cynefin Company and The Cynefin Centre.


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