Reflections on a week in Australia.

March 14, 2008

It’s always a pleasure to witness the moment that someone decides to come over to leave the darkside of the force. More of that later, first some reflections on a week in Australia which has ranged from workshops, thought an accreditation course to an interview for the What I’m Reading section of Boss Magazine.

It is also a part of a rather frantic five weeks of travel which started in Copenhagen, moved onto Pretoria and now Australia. Next week is Washington, Atlanta and New York followed by Hong Kong (with a nice bonus at the end) and hopefully a massive celebration in the middle, although one could do with more loyal supporters.

The week has been a long one in Sydney and Canberra. Monday was an all day workshop (and I was still hungover to some degree), then three days solid teaching including an evening session plus a presentation to ActKM. The course was full and Canberra was hot! We had a lot of government and defense people and it went very well. Its always nice to present to Australians, they are not afraid to provoke and they don’t mind you fighting back! We spent some time on getting techniques such as Six Sigma properly bounded, further developed thinking on crews and saw a great set of exercises with lots of energy looking at issues relating to water supply. ActKM and the the New South Wales Knowledge Management forum provided an opportunity to meet old friends physically as well as the more normal virtual interactions. The KM community here, unlike most of the rest of the world is vibrant and that makes for an educated audience.

Back to the Boss interview. To start with this provided some entertainment for the inhabitants of Sydney as photographs had to be taken on the corner of Pitt Street with lights and all. I hadn’t been expecting that so was dressed very casually for the flight with the Prince of Wales feathers prominently displayed and hair badly in need of a Barber’s attention. The format was an interesting one, and I found it useful in that it allowed me to situate my story in the story of others. I choose a set of books in advance and that was used by Catherine Fox as a entry into an extended conversation. I will post the article when it comes out, but for the moment here is the list of books I provided.

Stephen Donaldson : Fatal Revenant (Volume 8 in what will be 9 in all)
Rachel Cusk : Arlington Park
Paul Cilliers (ed) Thinking Complexity Vol 1 of Complexity & Philosophy series
John Niles: Homo Narrans
Walter Freeman: How Brains Make up their Minds

So back to the Dark Side: On the final day of the course, Viv finally reached the end of her tether with XP’s need to be booted and rebooted on a near constant basis. She leaves for a project in Singapore tomorrow and will return, transformed with a Macbook Pro. Another one bites the dust ….

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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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