Toothache, Faceache and adaptation

February 6, 2010


Having spent a couple of hours in the dentist’s chair this morning, I feel like Faceache (from Buster, one of the great British comics of the 1970s). Uncomfortable enough to have necessitated a quick nap and turning down a chat with Steve in town this afternoon before he flies.

If I can figure out how to add an image, I’ll include that here too.

Earlier in the week we were planning for an upcoming client project revolving around Anecdote Circles and SenseMaker. Some healthy divergence cropped up in how different people perceive and have used the technique.

It’s useful for me to see that divergence – I have a tendency to bow to “expert knowledge” or authority figures in areas where I think I’ve got less expertise. Yet the Cognitive Edge techniques are open-source and explicitly welcome adaptation, etc in use. (Few of us actually contribute written examples of amendments – in my case often fear of breaking some invisible sacrosanct rule!)

I’ll tend to pick up the recipes on the website and stick to them as closely as I can. When we first ran anecdote circles with a client, Ron Donaldson offered advice and slides on the practicalities. (Some of it I even listened to…)

Only after I’ve put them into practice a few times will I start to add or change elements. It’s part of the recipe and chef issue for me. And hence really useful to see Ron, Steve, myself and Michael discussing different takes on Anecdote Circles (Meg, David and Ruth wisely stayed out of the debate as four perspectives were enough!)

The end result will be useful, slightly different from previous activities, but well grounded and tailored to the client. Leaving the recipes behind in favour of experimentation with flavours and ingredients to suit the tastebuds.

And having over-extended that metaphor, I’m off for a family Friday evening – probably sitting round the TV in cardboard specs for “Coraline”. (Slightly disturbingly, when a text arrived on my mobile half an hour ago, they decided to guess who it was – and the first three guesses out of the bag were “Dave”, “Ron” and “is it Cognitive Edge?” I think I need to expand my circle of friends…)

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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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