London courses – 16-19 June 2014

London courses – 16-19 June 2014

I’m teaching in with Michael Cheveldave in Toronto today, while Dave and Sonja do the same in South Africa. (It’s been a while since we needed simultaneous sessions on different continents.) The London workshops are coming up between 16th and 19th June. Check out the Cognitive Edge website for details and to snap up some […]

Last chance for Toronto courses

Last chance for Toronto courses

This time next week I'll be heading for Toronto, where Michael Cheveldave will be starting the first Toronto course.  Details are here – Toronto – 4 courses in May 2014 Last chance to book – there are still a handful of places available for each day.  (Although fewer for the narrative day, so be quick) […]

Getting more good results – while avoiding the “Best Practice” trap

Getting more good results – while avoiding the “Best Practice” trap

Next week in New York, I’m with Cognitive Edge and UNDP exploring how to scale up projects without falling into the “duplicate and enlarge” trap. Development experts and scientists from ecology, neuroscience and complexity are coming together to look at what new approaches we can fashion that work more practically and effectively than current approaches to scaling up.

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 […]

The Three … Musketeers?  Little Pigs?  Stooges?  Together in London

The Three … Musketeers? Little Pigs? Stooges? Together in London

Further to yesterday's post about the upcoming courses with Cognitive Edge, diaries have worked out such that Washington DC (Details here) will be a two-handed affair with myself and Dave Snowden teaching, while London (Details here)will be a unique one – three different presenters: Dave, Michael Cheveldave and myself passing the baton at different points […]

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 […]

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.

The motion of Heavenly Bodies

The motion of Heavenly Bodies

Busy writing proposals today – a series of workshops on leadership, collaboration and culture; an exploration of national attitudes in Africa; and a debate on the role of narrative in defence and military operations. … A perfect piece for distinguishing between the Complicated world, where prediction and analysis apply, and the Complex world, which relies instead on understanding where the emergent patterns of a system might lead next.

The weight of cattle – an extruded parable…

The weight of cattle – an extruded parable…

Whenever I’m lucky enough to teach (DC next week for anyone who’s interested and Amsterdam in early February), one of the key points we cover on the Cognitive Edge Practitioner Foundations at the moment derives from James Suriowecki’s “The Wisdom of Crowds”. It’s how when using large groups of experts the average answer is better than any single answer, iff: a) every respondent is knowledgeable about the subject; and b) answers are given independently, without seeing others’ answers.