Outcomes

Introduction to Cynefin Framework

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What is the Cynefin Framework? (after Wikipedia)

  • The Cynefin framework is a conceptual framework used to aid decision-making.
  • Developed in 1999 by Dave Snowden when he worked for IBM Global Services, it has been described as a “sense-making device”.
  • Cynefin is a Welsh word for habitat.
  • Cynefin offers five decision-making contexts or “domains”

    1. Obvious (‘Simple’ until 2014)
    2. Complicated
    3. Complex
    4. Chaotic
    5. Disorder
  • These help managers identify situations and make sense of their own and other people’s behaviour.

  • The framework draws on research into systems theory, complexity theory, network theory and learning theories.

Obvious

Sense - Categorise - Respond

  • Rigid constraints
  • High risk of catastrophic failure (?)
  • Only effective where there is a consistently high degree of success
  • If the system is too rigid, people will find workarounds
  • Workarounds teach people to ignore rules

Complicated

Sense - Analyse - Respond

  • Experts may know the correct response
  • See - Attend - Act
  • Seeing the data may not lead to action
  • Good practice not best practice as variation is allowed
  • Discretion to change response, where experience assured

Complex

Exaptive* practice (a process in which a feature acquires a function that was not acquired through natural selection)

  • Scale complex system by decomposition and recombination
  • Rapidly repurpose things you are good at to solve problems
  • Build capability to adapt to unknown situations that may occur in the future
  • Test for coherence - what might be causing it?
  • Probe in parallel
  • Create safe to fail experiments that look at 2 competing hypotheses
  • Short experiments - 2-3 months

Success

  • Application of constraints produces repeatable results
  • Move to “good practice”
  • Test frequently to ensure still successful, if not move back
  • If successful for long periods, move to “best practice”
  • Complexity is about understanding disposition states. Disposition changes can cause massive changes in the system.

  • These help managers identify how they perceive situations and make sense of their own and other people’s behaviour.

  • The framework draws on research into systems theory, complexity theory, network theory and learning theories.

Chaos was not addressed in this session

Other

  • Complexity is about understanding disposition states. Disposition changes can cause massive changes in the system.
    • Observer - Orientate - Decide - Act
    • If you can move through the cycle quicker than an opponent you will win - e.g., London Taxi vs. Uber
    • Taxi will always beat the Uber, but it takes a number of years to get the experience rather than learning to read a map
  • Types of reasoning
    • Deductive - A then B
    • Inductive - All cases of A have B
    • Abductive - “logic of hunches”

Further Reading

Session organiser(s)

Dave Snowden Dave Snowden

Participants

George Glass George Glass , James Wharton James Wharton , Jemma Davis Jemma Davis , Sonya Moisset Sonya Moisset , Tash Norris Tash Norris

Attached materials: