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Distance and connectedness

May 19, 2009

I live in one of the more isolated cities in the world. Perth in Western Australia is a city of 1.5 million people, sited on the edge of the Indian Ocean, about 3,000 kilometres from our nearest neighbours Adelaide and Jakarta. Twenty years ago Australians often talked about the ‘tyranny of distance’ and we felt a sense of separation from the rest of the world. Nowadays, that sense of isolation has almost completely vanished. In a physical sense, air travel is cheap and readily available, and many Australians travel often to international destinations. Of greatest impact, of course, has been the internet and the general explosion in communication which it enabled.

The possibilities for networking have been an exceptionally fruitful part of the information age revolution. Cognitive Edge has been one entity which has been particularly adept at creating and sustaining physical and virtual networks – or is it that CE create the conditions in networks can flourish and sustain themselves? In my involvement with CE over the last 5 years, I have been able to meet other practitioners at conferences, on accreditation courses and keep informal contact going by email. When I am travelling myself, I visit people at their workplaces to talk of what they have done and get further inspiration to work with new concepts and techniques.

So, as I sit here in my beautiful, isolated city, I often feel that I have the best of both worlds – the peace and calmness that comes from being in a quiet place, combined with the opportunity to be part of vibrant, cutting-edge thought and practice. This opportunity to be guest blogger will add another dimension to my connectedness and I hope you will enjoy the next two weeks as much as I.

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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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