The prepared mind

March 22, 2011

One of the key points I have been making in the new seminar (and a few keynotes) over the last week is that resilience requires not just a prepared mind, but also a prepared organisation. That means building network connectivity and cross silo deployment capability before it is needed not during the event. Creating mass employee engagement requires familiarization with the process before it is needed in a crisis. Knowledge management systems have to be fragmented and experiential as anything more structured cannot handle the levels of uncertainty inherent in the future. To take a topical subject, when you are in disaster recovery what you need is the pragmatic narratives of people who have lived through similar (or even different) situations before, not some distilled best practice.

The problem is we build on the assumption that we should not fail, not the assumption that we are bound to fail, but with early detection and fast recovery/exploitation we can turn the situation to our advantage. That means organisational structures that are agile before the crisis, not bureaucratic. It means network connections built and sustained in advance, the ability to delegate power when needed without complex process. I could go on (and will over the next few days).

It’s also really good to be teaching this in a series of seminars on three continents with diverse backgrounds of participants. There are still a couple of places on the Frankfurt seminar next week and Amsterdam the week after for those interested.

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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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