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Climate Change
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In 2019, in response to a growing sense of paralysis caused by the enormity of the problem of climate change, we launched an open-source study looking at small actions that might make a difference and restore a sense of agency. From that small beginning, we are growing an entire program, looking at climate change and people’s responses to it at the human level.
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Climate change is not only an existential problem of our age; it is also an embodiment of the combination of the unique properties of human complex systems and naturalising sense-making, the two founding principles of The Cynefin Company. “Naturalising sense-making” means making sense of the world to act in it, within the boundaries of natural science, including boundaries such as the capacities of our planet and its critical thresholds.

The programme includes several thematic areas, such the collective response to climate change or dealing with the sense of loss. It is also open to expanding them and adding to them through collaboration with its members.



This programme is open to governmental, not for profit, academic institutions, and occasional commercial organisations who orient themselves towards the public good. Members do not have to be active specifically and narrowly in climate change – we welcome anyone with an environmental side to their work and at the interaction of environment and society. Students are also warmly welcome.

Reach out to us if you want to start a discussion!

Climate change is not only an existential problem of our age; it is also an embodiment of the combination of the unique properties of human complex systems and naturalising sense-making, the two founding principles of The Cynefin Company. “Naturalising sense-making” means making sense of the world to act in it, within the boundaries of natural science, including boundaries such as the capacities of our planet and its critical thresholds.

The programme includes several thematic areas, such the collective response to climate change or dealing with the sense of loss. It is also open to expanding them and adding to them through collaboration with its members.

CURRENT PROJECTS:

THE ACORN STUDY Read More

The COVID-19 MASSSENSE Read More

PARTICIPATION PROJECTS

These are the established projects which you can either join or replicate:

A citizen-based approach to climate change and sustainability

This project builds connections to the citizen engagement programme to start connecting environmental concerns with the practice of engagement in order to encourage alternative possibilities that go beyond individual attempts towards sustainability, and instead harness individual action to a common purpose and use it to inspire further action, interweaving the private and the political arenas. It can be used as a way to explore the different avenues of collective actions, manifestations of responsibility, triggering and propagation of change, or collective mapping of attitudes.

Climate Justice

This project looks at a concern with justice and responsibility around anthropogenic climate change. What shared starting points or adjacent possibles can we discover, and what direction should we set? Which understandings of justice do multiple diverse groups share? Could it be easier to start from defining the negative and identifying inadequate solutions that we can agree on? How can tension and confrontation be negotiated, if it is inevitable, and which outliers exist in the area of assuming a greater share of the responsibility for climate change?

Accepting Loss

This project looks at the process of mourning what we have already lost and will lose to climate change, but also at the losses that we are going to have to choose in order to combat it. How much are different kinds of people prepared to give up, for what reasons, and under which circumstances? How can we accept and ease the pain of losing loved practices that have become a part of our way of life, and as well as live with the cognitive dissonance of still practicing them, without resorting to defence mechanisms like denial?

Out of ourselves and into the world

Values that connect human beings with one another and promote the formation of community have been shown to be significant in participation in actions supporting and promoting sustainability. Where do our senses of responsibility and duty towards the world we inhabit, but also our sources of repose and restoration lie, when it comes to increased environmental stress and insecurity? This project links up with the networks of the Numinous program , looking at spirituality and the sense of something bigger than ourselves.

Like all our programmes, members of the citizens engagement programme have access to the following support:

  • A network of practitioners in their area of expertise and beyond
  • Pre-designed and literature-supported material for their SenseMaker® collectors
  • SenseMaker® user licenses, the number of which depends on the type of membership
  • Training in designing and understanding SenseMaker® projects
  • Access to webinars and additional resources
  • Support in developing new methods, themes and areas of research that are consistent with the aims and direction of the citizens engagement programme.
Pricing available on enquiry. 

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.
ABOUT US

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

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Social Links: The Cynefin Company
Social Links: The Cynefin Centre
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