The power of language

July 27, 2009

Checking in for the flight to Perth this morning in Singapore there was a problem getting my loyalty card into the system. The check-in Clark for Singapore airlines had to go and get help which upset those behind me in the queue. When he came back I asked him if it had been difficult. His response was that it was complicated, then he quickly corrected himself and said No I mean complex. Now that was a shock, I have been working in Singapore for several years now to establish that key difference in language. Complicated systems can be engineered, there is a right answer, complex systems in contrast need an evolutionary approach.

Changing language is key to getting new ideas adopted, then that change permeates all levels of an organisation you know that change is happening.

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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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