Rethinking the complex domain of Cynefin

July 27, 2012

Yesterday I took up again the exploration of Cynefin that I started back in January.  In that post (please read before continuing along with yesterday's post on disorder) I took the complex domain and looked at movements within that, drawing to a degree on the Ashby Law concept of balance.

I'll pick up on Ashby again tomorrow, but for the moment the idea is that there is a optimal position that balances diversity of response with diversity of stimulus.  I've used the same idea here but with a balance between coherence (the degree to which a course of action or decision makes sense given the available facts) and convergence (the degree to which those who influence what happens agree)

It was useful, I presented it a few times, discussed it frequently, thought about it more.   

In the end I was not happy and for several reasons:

  • It didn't really augment Cynefin, it might even be seen as replacing it with something less complete
  • The vertical dimension really did not work as a label although I am still in two minds about that
  • The subdomains nearing chaos were incoherent (sic)

So I wasn't happy but I wasn't sure where to go.  Then at the Amsterdam Advanced Course, in front of a bright and questioning audience things started to clear in my mind.   For starters the vertical label changed to consensus.   I drew some dynamics on the model and it started to make sense.  I realised that I needed to sort out disorder first.  As I posted yesterday that involved realising that disorder had two aspects, namely the inauthentic (you really shouldn't be here) and the transitionary (this is cool, we are getting somewhere).

So now it became easier to deal with.  The 45º line now becomes double headed (its OK to go both ways to a degree) and the bottom corner of low coherence and zero consensus in effect is a transition into, or a starting position within the old disorder now called the inauthentic.  At the top end, the high coherence and high consensus allows a transition to be made into order, but that may or may not be a good thing to do.

The green zone remains as a zone of legitimate activity and the sub-domains now become clearer, and generally end up as dynamics.  More on that tomorrow.

The Advanced course is running in Australia & New Zealand shortly by the way, then Canada and London.  Book now as those may represent the last opportunity to have me teach it as next year it will be handed over)

Recent Posts

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.


< Prev

Disabling disorder

Back in January I started to share some of my thinking about the next evolutionary ...

More posts

Next >

When first we practise to deceive!

Just to be clear up front, the title of this post is intended to be ...

More posts

linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram