dave snowden

dave snowden

intro’d to Dave via Maha‘s share here:

“Ppl r trying to engineer solutions rather than evolve solutions even tho problems are not mechanical but organic”

Original Tweet: https://twitter.com/Bali_Maha/status/677358440306577408

Dave’s talk from 2012

Combining Complexity Theory with Narrative Research

micro narratives.. overlayed on top of other data..

all about starting to break assumptions.. sci advances ..always.. mavericks… heretics… we don’t see things that we don’t expect to see… where we get unknown unknown

goal of mine last 20 yrs.. develop methods/tools that make people aware of things that they would otherwise find too easy to ignore… science behind that is key

adaptation – trait develops for a specific function

exaptation – generic trait gets used for something else unexpectedly by surprise

history of evolution mainly exaptive.. when something moves sideways…

creativity is s symptom of innovation… not a cause

apple brllliant at exaption: take things that were invented for something else and move them sideways into other areas.. medicine as well….

so how do we manage for exaption… not be able to survive stress … if we just try to adapt to what we know is going to happen.. we have to create pre conditions where exaption can happen naturally and quickly.. which means intro’ing inefficiency into the system..

when a measure becomes a target it ceases to be a measure.. 0 atrathern variation

10 min – outcome based – nobody can do anything unless they say in advance what success can be..

graeber min//max ness

if you focus on extrinsic… you destroy intrinsic

ways to measure success… w/o defining in advance what that success should be

a system is any network that has coherence.. an agency is anything that acts w/in system

14  min – stories are fractal.. home naran rather than homo sapien..

3 types of system: order (now outcomes); chaos (random – where you get wisdom of crow); complex/adaptive (co-evolve, patterns from co-evolution.. can’t be reversed)

17 min – don’t like the teen age ref..

for last 40-50 yrs we’ve been trying to create one approach.. but need diff management depending on which system you are in

20 min – rigid boundaries have a habit of becoming brittle


key phrase of entire talk: manage the emergence of beneficial coherence w/in attractors w/in boundaries… focus on managing what can be managed.. … we manage for emergence


ie: roundabouts

23 min – real problem: engineer rather than evolve solutions.. and we’re dealing with an organic system rather than a mechanical

the place of your multiple belongings..

cynefin framework

25 min – human beings don’t know what they know until they need to know it.. deeper expertise less likely they are to respond to consultants asking questions with real knowledge

only by multiple experiments.. can i understand.. evidence supports multiply hypothesis.. and there isn’t the right answer..

27 min – only upset.. those who wanted money to study for 3 yrs to come up w/solution.. we got it by engaging w/system.. found solutions that weren’t expected.. could only be discovered w/interaction w/it

most systems are complex.. and most of our means to solve is order

28 min – not causal but dispositional.. no foreseeable repeating relationships between cause and effect.. key

29 min – mapping counter terrorism… hallows in land..

holes in chips..

highly sensitive to small changes

hind sight doesn’t give you fore sight… in complex system

confusing simulation with prediction.. confusing causation with correlation

35 min – human complex system.. a new field of study.. because we have intentionality.. we do things that aren’t logical.. altruism ness

37 min – rather than send ethnographers… we distributed ethnography into citizens themselves… refugee camps… find person most respected.. captured that story.. over 80 000 stories.. real time fast feed back loops.. showed terrorism is going from uk to pakistan and not the other way around…  

sensemaker… not just telling stories..  need meaning.. and if you bound people from telling story about failure.. learning decreases.

not algorithmic interp of text.. it community needs to wake up to: no deep structures in language.. no grammaging.. (chomsky’s theory disproved 20 yrs ago) ..on analyzing meaning of text – human language can change in seconds.. who holds the power of interpretation…

43 min – indexing most important.. but only get it if you’re telling the story..

self-talk as data ness

citizen journalism

49 min – large mass human observation… stories secondary.. gives higher objectivity

52  min – micro feedback

53 min – think anew. act anew.

1:02 – on the power of numbers and stories combined.. you can persuade people with the combo

1:05 – if you can find stories of people like you.. you’re more likely to change..


2013  – Lean, Agile & Scrum Conference – Making Sense of Complexity

role to be constructive irritant.. if you hear something w/familiar language you may associate it with something it isn’t… picking up language and applying to same thinking of last several years…

how to make sense of world… so we can act in it..  2 key concepts.. either extreme is bad..need both acting and thinking..

fine to use recipe book – if have all conditions in place.. if not.. you nee the chef… who would do it with hands w/o thinking… serving time is key for whole body of human knowledge..  also understands theory of taste… combo of theory and practice..  consciousness is a distributive function

6 min –

1\ exaptation (step change) – taking something designed for one purpose and using it for something else.. far more successful strategy for innovation than adaptation (slow change)…

so create exaptive moments.. ways in which software interacts w/human beings creating novel/unexpected uses…for existing capabilities..

architecture needs to be designed for flexibility

stop thinking about thinking about software as a manufacturing process. that’s linear.. it’s a service based provision.. evolutionary.. w/adaptive capacities…

9 min – taking a linear process and drawing it as a circle or doing it faster.. doesn’t make it non-linear. non-linearity requires parallelism and a completely different approach..

x-d glasses ness

2\ coherence – halfway house between we know it’s true.. and it’s anybody’s guess… (ie: spider web.. see pattern but no longer coherent)

what isn’t coherent… a whole new concept of proof..

if i have coherence i experiment.. i prototype… if not coherent.. neither

evolutionary theory is coherent (we know it’s not right), creation ism goes beyond any reasonable limits.. not coherent..

once pattern is formed.. can’t go backwards.. wherever you are is wherever you are.. doesn’t matter how rational/logical.. whatever you say will be filtered through last experience

12 min –

3\ complexity – usually presented as binary.. either order or chaos.. reality a 3rd.. complex daptive.. neither chaotic or ordered.. key thing.. you have to absorb it you can’t eliminate it .. complexity has to be accepted.. have to live w/the flow.. it’s about managing turbulence..

most human systems fit here.

system: any network with coherence…

meaning exists in the gaps between people not in the people themselves… – Alicia Juarrero


Alicia – one of best thinkers in this field…

13 min – politics shift between: atomism (society is assemblies of individual interests) and commutariansim (individ’s only have meaning because of membership in society) – from  a cog sci pov commutarianism is winning.. relationships between more important than things themselves…

trying to change every person too hard.. if change systems w/in work.. interaction inbetween.. much faster

or both.. no?

2 needs. as the day.

big new thing… managing networks.. gaps between …

2\ agent: agents in human systems are rarely individuals.. can tell naivety if start to talk about agents as people. reality agents in systems are groups of people, myths, common stories.. myths have higher agency than individuals..

17 min –  no diff between us.. the diff is the stories we grew up in.. stories are fractal.. you can’t escape the weaving pattern of the stories of the groups of which you are in..

18 min – we’re narrative based creatures and we like to conform..

we.. or what we’ve seen us being..?

3 systems:

1\ order: if anyone says anything about human being is complex.. they don’t understand subject… we can put process in place to impose order.. uniquely humans have learned how to create it.. but involves high levels of constraint.. if too high.. things go underground.. the more b an org got the denser the networks became.. because had to know someone in order to make anything happen… networks were survival mechanism…. in this system.. people are disguising failure.. tension builds up.. massive change..

2\ chaotic: open.. context of randomness… no constraints.. every agent independent.. huge value.. wisdom of crowds ness..

to create a system where no one interacts w/anyone else.. is very difficult..

to say – i can manage chaos – shows stupidity – or intelligence w/deception involved…..difficult..have to keep things separate.. but if you can.. it’s useful

the goes into markets… et al..


so maybe simpler if we get rid of irrelevant s..

3\ complex adaptive.. where constraints and agents are co evolving…  can’t go backwards.. always dealing w/current..

ontology…fundamental nature of things: order, nature, chaos

epistemology .. way we know things.. way we act..

revolutionary concept.. in all management to date..

? revolutionary if still talking in management..?

29 min – what we manage is the emergence of beneficial coherence with inner tractors w/in boundaries.. 

takes far less resources than ordered approaches .. producing more beneficial outcomes.. but not outcomes you can know in advance..

complexity theory is not a subset of systems thinking…. ie: define an ideal end state and engineer to it… ie: define ideal person.. agile community needs to work with whatever comes in…

complexity focuses on identifying present… focus on things you can change.. and where there can you monitor.. because if you can’t monitor you won’t change… so then on what you can monitor what would leave beneficial


32 min – roundabout – never jams… has boundaries but allows emergent behavior… driver can choose based on traffic flow… also slowdown and pay attention

creating systems where people slow down and pay attention is critical..

a nother way

we’d probably realize human being is not about problem solving.. we’d probably not even resonate with that thinking ie: decision making is unmooring us law

we need to stop designing applications and design architectures with objects in which applications emerge.. architecting to allow for emergence.. like roundabout

36 min – small things produce radically different effects.. you don’t get repeatability .. dispositional not causal…

hindsight doesn’t lead to foresight… ie: after it’s happened everyone can see what should have been done.. but we keep getting wrong… because system keeps changing..

lessons learning rather than lessons learned..

proximity is key.. one of the things you manage..

almost impossible for human being to lie backwards with consistency..

41 min- i can simulate but not predict..

converging to quickly on a solution.. dangerous

scaffolding provides support while being built.. but not needed for sustenance after built..

43 min – back of napkin ness. simplicity or not useful

so why hour long lectures..? and not changed yet..? serious. for (blank)’s sake

mechanism simple enough

44 min – big mistake.. saying  1 solution

chaos is a transitionary state.. if you’re in it you take action..

disorder is a state of not knowing which system you’re in

46 min – buy or search on web.. i’ll leave it to your conscious as what you choose.


then talking about papers winning awards.. and needing pedigree if you want people to buy in


47 min – loosen constraint for new ideas.. tighten to exploit

49 min – hold a meeting/open space mentality… open space is the enemy of innovation because it enforces consensus… need to increase conflict.. or don’t get diversity or proper testing… law of 2 feet enemy of innovation allows people to avoid confrontation where they need to do confrontation.

52 min – transparency enemy of innovation… because no one takes risks.. manager needs secrecy over spending or won’t take risks..


great ideas.. muffled by assumption of market ness..?

53 min – most project start at group think… as soon as enough are in.. you go… users don’t know what they want.. you don’t rep of users.. you want narrative of users while in it..

55 min – working multiple parallel experiments.. and micro narrative…

so.. a people experiment

56 min – method on deciding experiments:

if agreed it’s coherent get to experiment.. not required to agree it’s right…. need to know what will do if fail.. needs to be short term.. tangible..

obliquity – solve problems by solving related problems…

some need to be naive… bring in someone w/deep knowledge.. but naive about the problem.. to look at is sideways..

need contradiction… run 3-7 experiments..

so he’s telling all these forms .. you can download from his site.. not back of napkin.. no?

1:01 – real time feedback again..

self talk as data again

1:06 – never eliminate outliers…

realize dealing w/humans not machines… human brain not like a computer.. no singularity..

watch out for those putting new language on same old things…


find/follow Dave:

link twitter

Founder and Chief Scientific Officer, Cognitive Edge




Unlike many big data tools it puts humans at the front and humans at the back. Technology augmenting human intelligence.. These networks have the potential to replace traditional research tools, polling and focus groups. .. (on persuasion) It also enables action. “Instead of asking, “How do we create a culture of X?” we ask “How do we create more stories like this and fewer stories like that?”  Then as actions are initiated we see the impact in real time.

perhaps need a means to wake/detox people if want eudaimoniative surplus 

wikipedia small

David John Snowden (born 1 April 1954) is a Welsh academic, consultant and researcher in the field ofknowledge management. He is the founder and chief scientific officer of Cognitive Edge, a consulting company and research network focusing on complexity theory in sensemaking.

Snowden is an Honorary Professor in the School of Psychology at Bangor University and holds an MBA fromMiddlesex University, and a BA in Philosophy from Lancaster University. He started his working career with Data Sciences Ltd (formerly Thorn EMI software), acquired by IBM in 1996. He was the Director of IBM’s Institute for Knowledge Management, and the founder of the Cynefin Center for Organizational Complexity. Snowden developed the Cynefin framework, a practical application of complexity theory to management science.


systemic ness


from Jordan Greenhall [https://medium.com/deep-code/understanding-the-blue-church-e4781b2bd9b5]:

2\ Complex systems that include human beings are different. Unlike atmospheres and nitrogen cycles, people can forecast, strategize and adapt hyper-rapidly to our environment. Dave Snowden calls this anthro-complexity. We have to innovate an entirely new approach to governance that is adequate to the challenging set of problems posed by anthro-complexity. **We really don’t know how to do this.

link to what’s in a name:

I now talk about the 3Is of human complex systems: intelligence, identity and intention. Part of that is to make the point that human systems are different, and that *symbolic language is a critical aspect off that difference which links back into the narrative and other work that is so much a part of what we do.

or is it limiting us.. are we ready to let go of that linear ness..? i think yes

So what to call it? Well over the years I have used two names: social complexity and more recently cognitive complexity. ..Social complexity now has more specific meaning in academic circles and I don’t want to be confined by that. Cognitive complexity has the human aspect in it, but again it is a little limiting. I’ve also used naturalising sense-making and still do. ..More recently I have been thinking about anthro-complexity (or anthrocomplexity) as being the most accurate label, and possibly the least confining.

But for the overall field or approach there needs to be a name, and the name itself will impart meaning.

thinking more.. let go to idio jargon


garden of eden – the transition – complex dynamics – july 2017


jordan – from dave snowden 10 yrs ago (1\ simple  2\ complicated  3\ complex  4\ chaos)

..simple enough for kid to get  

indeed.. simple enough ness.. a nother way book2 convos as the day graphic

becoming experts and managing complicated systems.. that no single person could.. frames what we do.. what we are good at doing
complicated vs complex.. complicated: although phase space very large it doesn’t change.. in complex system.. things do change.. all the stuff we really care about are complex..
and a big part of the game we’ve been playing last 15000 yrs.. has been trying to use complicated stuff to manage complex stuff.. impossible..
in a complex system.. things that are causation.. are almost impossible to figure out.. can’t make prediction with precision
one of big problems.. when you have a complicated system.. trying to manage the complex system.. as the complex system changes.. the complicated system has to become more complicated..
ie: district with 500 policies.. and too much ness.. et al
till it becomes so complicated you can’t manage it.. till it does something dave snowden calls: takes a journey thru chaos..
everyday.. as the day..
and chaos is the 4th kind of system.. and we don’t like chaos.. but how it works.. have to break down and go thru chaos to come back into authentic complexity
perhaps authentic complexity is (seeming) chaos.. perhaps not believing/embracing this.. is why we keep spinning our wheels.. (ie: why we haven’t yet gotten to equity).. we can’t let go enough to become ongoingly antifragile..
perhaps our job right now is twofold:
1\ figure out how to position ourselves so that we can in fact endure the chaos.. possibly even be antifragile to the chaos and use the chaos to build something very positive..
indeed.. mech to facil the chaos of 7 bn curious/awake people.. to build/model/be/become.. eudaimoniative surplus
2\ do what we can now to envision what a future looks like that embraces complexity authentically..
try this: a nother way
daniel: more complicated blueprints are not going to get us there.. our motivational tool kit has to change.. as long as homeless ness is ok.. and killing is ok.. is it fair to call that civilization yet.. maybe not aspired to it yet..  maybe birth of civilization is what is on the other side if we navigate towards that..
graeber model law


via Tim fb share

Complexity, citizen engagement in a Post-Social Media time | David Snowden | TEDxUniversityofNicosia- feb 2017



we’ve compounded order w outcome based assessment.. if look at history of last 40-50 years.. everything has to have a target.. a defined outcomes..  and it has to be a number.. the reality is.. all of the scientific evidence.. says that when human beings are pursuing explicit targets it destroys intrinsic motivation..t..

langer outcome law

there is no evidence to contradict that.. and where do we most need intrinsic motivation.. in health and in education and where do we impose the worst targets.. in health and education.. so we need to start to think differently about this.. and we need to move away from this primitive dichotomy in which we contrast one highly structured system w an absolutely chaotic system into something more sophisticated..

2 min – there is actually a third type of system which exists in nature.. its a complex adaptive system.. a system defined not by its structure but by its connectivity

in a complex system everything is connected w everything else.. but many of the connections cannot be known.. ie: the internet; humanity; ..  understanding these and understanding how we manage them is critical.. and it’s not about control.. it’s about understanding the connections about changing the linkages

3 min – if we assume a system is chaotic (children acting w/o constraints behavior is random.. at party).. drugs/alcohol.. personal discovery.. house burn down

4 min – order systems approach.. taught in all business/management schools..  critically important to agree learning targets for the party in advance of the party itself.. project plan for party where can measure progress.. adult start party w lecture.. if at any point.. children not happy.. hire happiness training consultant who will train them to be very very happy

6 min – complex systems approach.. much simpler.. draw line in sand.. look children squarely in the eye and say.. cross that and you die.. on the need for flexible boundaries


7 min – stop trying to treat an ecological problem as if a mechanical problem..

so.. finding new ways to deal with this.. because have to understand what’s going on.. you can only understand a complex system by *understanding the small particular parts of day to day interaction

or perhaps by *listening to.. ie: 2 convos .. as the day

for humans.. those are the anecdotal data of the school gate.. the street story.. the beer after work.. they’re not the grand narratives of workshops.. it’s the day to day anecdotes of people’s existence..

well.. that would be data of us not being us.. of us.. still intoxicated ..we have to go deeper.. and see what we’re really like..  as free people..  ie: via self-talk as data

and we need to understand them thru the voice of the people that tell them.. not thru an ai machine interpreting the text or an expert making them fit their cultural expectations.. people’s own voice has to be subject to their one interpretation

idio-jargon.. mech to facil the chaos of listening to all the voices..everyday

8 min – in order to do that we have to engage people.. and people have had enough of surveys.. enough of focus groups..  we used to trust experts and now we’re trying demagogs for a change.. the reality is we actually hand over a lot of cognitive processes to structures.. it’s not based on ourselves as individuals.. t.. so in order to do that we have to engage people..

yes.. via the above.. ie: the anecdotal data of the school gate.. the street story.. the beer after work


begs.. self-talk as data coming from truly free people..

9 min – ie: s wales .. girls rugby club as agent of change in some of rural communities.. we give them tools to capture their experiences..t.. and the experiences that people try to recruit..

hlb via 2 convos

in schools.. give tools to children to go into communities and gather stories on those communities.. they become ethnographers.. rather than rely on outside experts..

we have the means for 7 bn people to tell their own story .. ie: daily curiosity.. and to facil that..  because.. as nice as it sounds.. (and granted it’s way better than what we’re doing now).. having children in school is still outside experts

the goal is to allow people to become ethnographers to their own condition.. quantitative rather than qualitative.. over last 30-40 yrs seen many attempts at digital story telling .. but nobody thinks about how to scale it..t.. and nobody allows people to tell what their story really means.. because that’s done by the people who gather it..

let’s scale that up a ginorm\small notch ..  2 convos via self-talk as data.. as the day..

10 min – in order to get there we have to empower people.. and power comes from the power to interpret your narrative.. not from the power to actually hand your narrative over to *somebody else..

*even sweet.. young.. local girls..

in order to do that we have to find a way to scale.. several key elements:

1\ need to work w abstraction.. art comes before language in human evolution.. the ability to abstract allows for scientific invention.. in fact.. the overemphasis on stem education around the world.. will destroy scientific creativity.. w/o art there is no invention.. if move up level of abstraction.. avoid gaming

2\ need to increase cognitive load.. because we need to use the popular language to have people thinking slow not thinking fast..t.. we need reflection.. not the immediate response you get on questionnaires

how about really slow..deep.. daily reflection.. by allowing/facil ing.. perhaps idio-jargon.. as popular language

12 min – quant backed up by qual

if you focus on information.. you radically reduce human knowledge.. it’s far more than what we can write down..t

beyond words law

then of course.. have to find a way to enact what comes out of that.. find a way to make real change.. a whole new theory of change..

a nother way

14 min – two sets of data.. on left.. people are giving up and doing what they need to to survive.. on right.. people have to break rules to treat patients empathetically..

how do we change that..? a traditional change mech.. and this is the engineering culture.. would define a desire future state and try and close the gap.. that’s bad complexity science.. in complexity what matters is we describe the present and we make small changes in the present to nudge the system in the right direction

but i don’t mean the conventional approach of behavioral econ.. nudge econ.. that’s more yanking than nudging.. it decides where it wants people to be and tries to tug them toward it..

what we want to work at is where people are and see when it’s ready to change..

or not change .. right..? or.. notice that it’s always changing.. listen to and facil that

in this case what i look for in complexity is called an adjacent possible.. a cluster of stories/narratives.. near to where i am but going in the right direction..

mech to listen to and facil daily curiosities.. by connecting local/adjacent possibles.. tech as it could be

15 min – this is called a vector measure.. i don’t measure outcomes .. i measure vectors.. direction and speed of travel for intensity of effort..

shortening lag between intension and action

what can i do w/in the compass of my power to create more stories like this and fewer stories like that

a story about people grokking about what matters

16 min – we need to start doing small things in the present rather than massive things in future.. because that just leads to perpetual disappointment

rev of everyday life

that is called fractum engagement..  (fractal.. sustainable).. where new key concepts of citizen engagement worldwide.. starting to pair people… trans generational..

fractal thinking et al

18 min – multiple mass fractal engagement to achieve genuine sustainable change in society.. based on scientific approach not an engineering approach.. based on managing a complex ecosystem rather than trying to maintain a machine..

ie: hlb via 2 convos that io dance.. as the day..[aka: not part\ial.. for (blank)’s sake…]..  a nother way


via jon fb share:

From the Cynefin Centre headed by Dave Snowden

<< A new open-source database on climate change from the Cynefin Centre

From the We are now launching a major Cynefin Centre programme to capture people’s experiences and stories of what we can all do at a local level to have some impact on climate change.

It’s probably easier to summarise this in bullet points:

– Critically this is an open-source database – anyone can contribute and we will be creating online dashboards to allow anyone to access the data and use it.
– We will be asking members of the Cynefin Centre network to volunteer to help train campaigning groups and organisations to go deeper into the data and making those names available in a month or so’s time
– It is in English, but if anyone wants to volunteer to translate into other languages we are happy to engage – just get in touch
– It is all about capturing actions that make a difference – part of the design is then to find out what other people are doing, this is designed to be an asset for everyone who wants to make a difference and we will be developing more reports and access methods – if any of my Agile friends out there want to volunteer their services again get in touch, we will probably organise some hackathons later in the year when the volumes are high enough
– This is the first of a series of initiatives on climate change and we want to work with other organisations and bodies
– There are no charges to enter data or to access it through the dashboards
– Those licensed to use SenseMaker® analyst will be authorised to download the data to that tool
iPad Explorer (in the app store but not android I’m afraid) will also be available to view the data.

As this builds we will start to create conclusions and questions summaries for use with MassSense to use the power of many in the generation of scenarios and possible solutions and actions that can be taken. >>


Probably the big theme of my presentation is the danger of paralysing people with the growing horror stories around climate change and its likely consequences.

or people to care about something, and critically to feel they have agency, that they can do something about the problem; then they need to be able to do something within their own compass of control, within their own perception of timeliness which makes a difference.  With agency comes power and through small actions the overall attitudes and willingness to permit the sacrifices that are being rightly called for by scientists and agencies.

totally agree.. but maybe .. with our capabilities today.. this is even not what it/we could be.. ie: imagining going even deeper into small/local ness.. ie: listening to every voice .. every day.. first.. before even considering any ‘sacrifices via scientists/agencies’.. i’m thinking our trusting our (7b) innate nesses could help/cure/whatever us.. faster than anything else..

So given that experience, we are now launching a major Cynefin Centre programme to capture people’s experiences and stories of what we can all do at a local level to have some impact ..t..on climate change.  It’s probably easier to summarise this in bullet points (what jon shared above):

deeper impact: tech as it could be (listening to every voice everyday).. ie: 2 convers as infra

1\ Critically this is an open-source database – anyone can contribute and we will be creating online dashboards to allow anyone to access the data and use it..t

but see.. anyone.. can’t contribute/access/use.. ie: you can’t hear everyone right now.. and for systems solutions/organizing/organisms.. it has to be everyone.. (that’s what tech as it could be.. ie: 2 convers as infra would facil)

(again – i also believe that if it truly was anyone/everyone.. we wouldn’t be look at the same data – ie: now it’s like we’re looking at data from whales in sea world)

2\ We will be asking members of the Cynefin Centre network to volunteer to help train campaigning groups and organisations to go deeper into the data and making those names available in a month or so’s time

i’m pretty sure that if we think we need training.. we’re doing it wrong

4\ .. part of the design is then to find out what other people are doing, ..

doesn’t matter what they’re doing if it’s not their fittingness.. and again.. can’t find everyone if not listening to every voice.. ie: find your people ness

dave shared it on twitter here:

@snowded: A major initiative to capture people’s stories and ideas on practical things we can do (the small things) to make an impact on climate change cognitive-edge.com/blog/from-litt… Please retweet and share on other networks


Rachel Happe (@rhappe) tweeted at 2:33 PM – 7 Nov 2019 :
“In complex environments goals are dangerous because they blind you from possibilities” @snowded #KMWorld (http://twitter.com/rhappe/status/1192555593648812034?s=17)

langer outcome law


ᗪᗩᐯᕮ SᑎOᗯᗪᕮᑎ (@snowded) tweeted at 5:42 AM – 9 Nov 2019 :
@toughLoveforx @innov8tor3 @chadtgreen @ADDITTogether @WatershedMarsha @NoraBateson Self organisation can happen at any level; enabling constraints facilitate that and in general constraints should not be seen as inhibitors (http://twitter.com/snowded/status/1193146780067749888?s=17)

@snowded: Never been happy with ‘edge of chaos’ arguments in human complex systems :-) Ditto ideas of self-organisation in human systems need enabling constraints

@snowded: That is more unrealised potential than chaos and to scale you need more

? isn’t unrealized potential chaotic? i would think unrealized potential.. when listened to.. would scale beyond our idea of scale.. (he’s referring to and ie from @toughloveforx that has to do with earning money.. so i think the ie has nothing to do w human systems of self org in the first place)


via jon fb share from 2014 agile conference

snowden graphic.png


ᗪᗩᐯᕮ SᑎOᗯᗪᕮᑎ (@snowded) tweeted at 0:15 AM on Mon, Dec 09, 2019:
My family have been overwealmed by the social media response to news of my illness. Sat I had two small holes drilled in my head the dried blood was flushed out and holes replugged. I’d suffered 30% compression in the left hemisphere.  Discharge today fully restored! Will blog

oh my.. brain on fire .. et al


Simone Cicero (@meedabyte) tweeted at 4:19 PM on Tue, Jun 02, 2020:
“you don’t communicate to people, you engage them in helping you understand the problem”

A great chat with @sonjabl, @cyetain, @matthewpskelton, @snowded, @manupaisableand @NigelThurlowabout org design, scaffolding, team topologies, the demonisation of hierarchy and identity. Video: us02web.zoom.us/rec/share/2_BH Password: 6i.u$is!


59 min zoom recording

10 min – dave intro

13 min – jabe bloom: on asking if what you’re making is to be permanent or temp..  not all design interventions are good as permanent.. if over invest in invention.. then have to figure out how to remove it.. easier to create something than to remove it in an org

18 min – from complexity pov.. how much can we structure and what’s nature of structure.. how can we allow entanglement to be designed and not accidental.. and what’s the points of coherence around which we entangle.. next gen of org design.. unique solutions to emerge and adapt.. but based on a coherent whole

19 min – 1\ you coord in the center you don’t make decisions.. if you make decisions won’t have cognitive time to do the coordination and link.. and also the dangers of hypocrisy of you getting it wrong go up.. t

also.. the energy suck of focusing on finite set of choices


curiosity over decision making

listening to 8b daily curiosities  in order to 1\ undo our hierarchical listening  and 2\ augment our interconnectedness

2\ the other thing is you communicate by engagement.. to communicate to people.. you engage them in helping you understand the problem

you put enough structure in place so the thing can migrate toward a coherent pattern.. t

structure: 2 convers as infra

coherent pattern: in undisturbed ecosystems ..the average individual, species, or population, left to its own devices, behaves in ways that serve and stabilize the whole..’ –Dana Meadows

20 min – don’t put so much structure in place that you’re second guessing the solution

21 min – so for me scaffolding is key..  can it be designed or does it have to emerge

scaffolding allows you to provide a context free structure in a context specific world

24 min – interviewer (nigel thurlow) – wanting that translated into business

38 min – ie: on eating together on scaffolding for org  (free breakfast/lunch).. people need a hierarchy.. need to know where they sit.. just not the only structure.. can write a lot of scaffolding in social spaces.. ie: campfire.. lots of people overdesign

need to know where they sit?

we do need to undo our hierarchical listening

ie: 2 convers as infra

40 min – fundamental error in complexity is to start where you want to end.. condemns self to a cyclical cycle..

43 min – always a hierarchy.. just different depending on context.. if complete self org everything has to be transparent

53 min – we’re *not sophisticated enough to understand behavior.. topology of behavioral characteristics.. cynics are the ones who care et al.. the ones you want to listen to are the ones who don’t agree with you

or we’re *too blind.. ie: aren’t we all just whales in sea world.. aka: not us


“To achieve “flow” there has to be a loss of reflective self-consciousness, we need to learn how to forget ourselves. Therapeutic based approaches are all about actively bringing things into consciousness and remembering ourselves. The two are phenomenologically incompatible”
Original Tweet: https://twitter.com/snowded/status/1314484750657245184

ie: cure ios city


dave snowden on boundaryless convers

Just spent our morning talking with @snowded about how we can reshape our posture to organising in such a dramatic nexus as the one we’re living now through the pandemic, climate change, and systemic disruptions.
Subscribe: https://t.co/ekPLR4A3Zh
Key reflections (thread)
Original Tweet: https://twitter.com/meedabyte/status/1320717953864765441

@meedabyte: First, when it comes to organizing at today, we don’t just need an “epistemic” reframing but an “ontological one” (restrain defining what that success looks like in advance)

ie: cure ios city

redefining success ness.. maybe even refrain from defining success

revolution: instigating utopia everyday.. anew

@meedabyte: Second, software and organizations need to start from the small and grow upwards, from the team, the job to be done, the individual context and not from the big picture

even smaller.. from the itch-in-8b-souls every day

imagine if we just focused on listening to the itch in 8b souls.. first thing.. everyday.. and used that data to connect/coord us.. we might just get to a more antifragile, healthy, thriving world.. the ecosystem we keep longing for..

what the world needs most is the energy of 8b alive people

@meedabyte: Third: despite coherence being one of the most important challenges of organising we need to learn how to live with incoherence as incoherence will be a defining characteristic of the decades to come, as top-down control systems depart and the emergent, local, indigenous emerges

if we get to a deeper coherence (org/infra around essence of human being) – incoherence is natural (meaning.. no need to learn how to live with it if we’re still not yet scrambled) .. the entropic swimming ness of anti fragility..


intro’d via this tweet from dave:

If anyone out there is working within both Warm Data and Cynefin/SenseMaker fields and is interested in their ‘entanglement’ would you get in touch with either @NoraBateson or myself before Monday – thanks

Original Tweet: https://twitter.com/snowded/status/1324310317149622274

cynefin framework and warm data


Q: “how do you create resilience in society?” 
A: “You distribute decision-making and centralize coordination”
Original Tweet: https://twitter.com/meedabyte/status/1339581170065891337

13 min – resilient system.. continuity of id over time


24 min – how do you create resilience in society?.. one of key rules is you distribute decision-making and centralize coordination

rather.. focus on curiosity over decision making.. in order to deepen coordination

you don’t distribute dm just by saying we’ll trust people.. you create processes which naturally generate trust

naturally generate trust?  i don’t think trust works that way

so the army do this .. they have what they call crews.. has cognitive capacity more than sum of parts.. but will behave in a consistent way.. so can delegate to a crew.. and not worry about it.. have to be validated

oh.. yeah.. the army.. validation ness.. et al

26 min – on capturing fragmented learning in journals thru out the day.. reflecting on innovation possibility.. if engaged in task related to problem.. have a sense of purpose.. if just a recipient of communication.. suffering massive socialization.. so engaging people so feel they are part of solution is way to increase resilience in system

i think that’s a way to (try to) dig ourselves out of sea world.. but i don’t think that’s natural.. thinking our life is about solutions.. and getting people engaged in the solutions.. not natural.. 

decision making..  as in which project .. affinity group.. problem/solution to join today.. this week/month/year.. is unmooring us.. opposite of legit engaging us

27 min – next focus on post pandemic futures.. with un.. main contribution by crisis.. we no know money isn’t a rationing device ie: now growing money forests all over world.. why i don’t buy things like blockchain..  rather.. gifting cultures.. not an exchange.. but a membership fee.. it’s not barter.. says.. we all do something then part of community.. if don’t do anything than not part of community

like the realization of money.. but who’s deciding what ‘not doing anything‘ is.. there’s got to be a better way

what we need is a mindset of nationality: human et al

32 min – on kids today growing up in ‘safe’/protected environs.. from germs/virus/dangers.. how do we build (back) resilience for threat

safety addiction et al

34 min – my thing now is.. how dow we create resilience/diversity in system

by letting go of control.. in order to undo our hierarchical listening ie: 2 convers as infra

q&a started after that.. i didn’t listen to that