Halting narratives

Halting narratives

I'm off to Colombia next week for the latest element of a great project to look at entrepreneurial attitudes across the country – this trip is to present some interim findings, develop some experimental interventions that we'll monitor in the next phase of the project. I notice that friends in the UK's first reaction to […]

How do we draw attention to an absence?

How do we draw attention to an absence?

Monday reflections on a fascinating previous week, including a great all-day session on Thursday with EU DIGIT, weaving together outputs from a SenseMaker® project, the Cynefin framework, safe-to-fail experiments and some methods from the Cognitive Edge trainings.  (It's always good to work with a good team lead by a leader who's willing to take calculated […]

Design of Understanding 2014

Design of Understanding 2014

Last Friday was the 2014 Design of Understanding day – a packed room at St Brides Library off Fleet Street, organised by the redoubtable Max Gadney of After the flood.  He and I had come across each other in a hotel bar in Kigali, Rwanda when we were both working the GirlHub Rwanda office – […]

Overstating the end-state, Obscuring the objective

Overstating the end-state, Obscuring the objective

I came across a glorious Churchill quote recently while reading Billy Bragg's The Progressive Patriot. It wasn't one I had heard before, but it sums up beautifully something that challenges many of the people I talk to – how to set direction and objectives for large numbers of people, many of whom have different perspectives […]

Cynefin course

Cynefin course

Two upcoming courses that I'd highly recommend – and not just because I'm helping teach them these days.  I've recommended the Cognitive Edge courses for years, but this year has seen a major refresh of the content and approach to the material.  It's a real combination of solid theory, exercises and practical examples – all […]

The content/meaning distortion

The content/meaning distortion

Posting from the lounge in Cologne/Bonn airport after a meeting with a potential client around supporting a leadership/collaboration approach addressing and using some key issues around nationality and function. (At some point it will no doubt be worth a separate blog. But now's not that point.) I don't recall ever having been to Bonn before, […]

Understanding narratives – the reality of counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency

Understanding narratives – the reality of counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency

The Prime Minister, towards the end of his initial comments, said: “In sum, we must frustrate the terrorists with our security, we must beat them militarily, we must address the poisonous narrative they feed on, we must close down the ungoverned space in which they thrive, and we must deal with the grievances that they use to garner support. … Pre-defined categories and questions can be too directive – gaining us at best answers that fit within our previous suspicions, at worst allowing the people we’re hearing the opportunity to give us the stories they think we want to hear. (cf The Hoaxing of Margaret Mead) The poisonous narrative is a tempting but dangerous notion.

Early bird prices on Cognitive Edge course – save €600 on both Advanced and Foundations courses

Early bird prices on Cognitive Edge course – save €600 on both Advanced and Foundations courses

I’m teaching on behalf of Cognitive Edge this week in Boston – the Practitioners Foundation course that I was recommending to all and sundry years before CE asked me to start teaching it myself. It’s still a great course: “exceeded my expectations, re-kindled a lot of ideas and opened me up to possibilities … stimulating on so many levels” One of the difficulties is defining who will benefit from the course – truth is everyone will, as its underpinning is around techniques to address complex situations, ” wicked ” problems and uncertainty in organisations.

Evaluating impact through stories

Evaluating impact through stories

How alternative storytelling can help impact evaluation It’s a great, plain English description of the method (something I rarely manage to produce, slipping into jargon too often). … Instead of looking for ways to “prove” x or y has happened, it offers a means to create a continual feedback loop where information is flowing in to help adjust delivery of programmes as time goes on.