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Cynefin Framework slides (From Organizations in Development Course, mainly drawn and adapted from David Snowden)

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1 Cynefin Framework slides (From Organizations in Development Course, mainly drawn and adapted from David Snowden)

2 Cynefin Framework - Background Cynefin Framework (pronounced kunivin) was developed by David Snowden, a Welsh academic who used to work with IBM, to illustrate the evolutionary nature of complex systems, including their inherent uncertainty. The term is Welsh, and though often translated as habitat or place conveys more fully, the sense that we all have multiple pasts of which we can only be partly aware: cultural, religious, geographical, tribal and so on. The name reminds that all human interactions are strongly influenced and frequently determined by our experiences, both personal and collective, the latter often told through other media, like stories or music, and the framework explores the relationship between man (and woman), experience and context. It has been applied to propose new approaches to communication, decision-making, policy making and knowledge management in complex social environments. Wikipedia on Cynefin,

3 COMPLEX Emergent Practices COMPLICATED Good Practices CHAOTIC Novel Practices SIMPLE Best Practices The Four Context Domains of the Cynefin Framework

4 Chambers: Complex, Emergent Realities The Domains are Un-ordered : Ordered Unpredictable : Predictable (in principle) often as experienced : sought, created and by poor peopleperceived by professionals Neo-Newtonian professionalism belongs in the simple and complicated domains. The complex and chaotic domains demand a post- Newtonian professionalism. (Adapted from Robert Chambers, 2010, IDS Working Paper 344)

5 COMPLEX: the domain of many possibilities Cause and effect are only coherent in retrospect and do not repeat Pattern management Perspective filters Complex adaptive systems Probe | Sense | Respond KNOWABLE: the domain of the probable Cause and effect separated over time and space Analytical/reductionist Scenarios planning Systems thinking Sense | Analyse | Respond CHAOS: the domain of the inconceivable No cause and effect relationships perceivable Stability-focused intervention Enactment tools Crisis management Act | Sense | Respond KNOWN: the domain of the actual Cause and effect relationships repeatable, perceivable and predictable Legitimate best practice Standard operating procedures Process re-engineering Sense | Categorise | Respond Context and Intervention Types

6 Implications for Organizational Forms

7 Cynefin Dynamics: KM Implications

8 Order and Unorder The assumption of order Relaxing this assumption is the basis of the Cynefin framework, which proposes instead two types of order, each with distinctions inside, and a recognition that uncertainty may exist in distinguishing these types (the domain of disorder). The assumption of order holds for ordered space, the known and knowable, so we need new assumptions for the domains of un-order and disorder. In complex space, we can safely assume that patterns will form, unpredictable in their details but usually recognizable in their basic forms, and that with practice we can learn to detect these forming patterns, stabilize or disrupt them depending on their desirability, and seed desirable patterns by creating attraction points. In chaotic space, we can assume that all connections have been broken, that possibility reigns, that old patterns have been disrupted, and that the outcome is not predictable. In the space of disorder, we know something very valuablethat we do not know.


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