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How to manage uncertainty in increasingly complex environments?

The ability to manage and navigate complexity is a key strategic advantage. However, many organizations are trapped in past practices and structures. Breaking through such inertia requires praxis - theory informed practice.

The Cynefin framework, and its application in managing complexity is at the heart of this training program.

The Academy of Management awarded the Harvard Business Review article, Cynefin & Leadership, the "Best Practitioner Paper". Their citation reads:

"This paper introduces an important new perspective that has enormous future value, and does so in a clear way that shows it can be used. The article makes several significant contributions. First, and most importantly, it introduces complexity science to guide managers’ thoughts and actions. Second, it applies this perspective to advance a typology of contexts to help leaders to sort out the wide variety of situations in which they must lead decisions. Third, it advises leaders concerning what actions they should take in response"

Cognitive Edge has developed a modular training program that allows participants to understand the theory of complexity and how to put it to practice.

Crucial new knowledge for:

  • Project management
  • Change management
  • Innovation and development
  • Risk and crisis management
  • Shaping culture
  • Safety management
  • Knowledge management

Outline/Structure of the Workshop

Time Understanding Complexity The Cynefin Framework
10:00-11:30 AM Manageing risk and uncertainty Cynefin Framework vs categorisation models
12:00-01:30 PM Evidence-based decision making Balancing evidence against consensus
02:30-04:00 PM Attractors and boundaries in complex adaptive systems When it's chaotic, complicated or just plain simple
04:30-06:00 PM Uncertainty and the limitations of measurement Operational roll-out and use of Cynefin in different environments

Learning Outcome

  1. Understanding Complexity - how to make sense of and take action in complex and highly uncertain environments.
  2. The Cynefin Framework – learn to distinguish between obvious, complicated, complex, and chaotic challenges and how to lead appropriate situational transitions.

Target Audience

Project management, Change management, Innovation and development, Risk and crisis management, Shaping culture, Safety management and Knowledge management

schedule Submitted 8 years ago

  • 60 Mins

    In order to successful scale any method or practice, it has to have some basis in theory. This presentation will use insights from complex adaptive systems theory and the cognitive sciences to lay a foundation for that theory. Seeing software development as a problem of knowledge management, the theory will elaborate a understanding of applications as the emergent property of a co-evolutionary interactions between technology capability and unarticulated user requirements.

    Having established a basic theory a range of methods and tools will be elaborated. These include:

    - Narrative based approaches to requirements capture (not to be confused with Story telling or story boarding) which gather thousands of fragmented self-signified anecdotes relating to real and imagined needs within a user community and allow interpretation and integration into project planning.

    - Approaches to project planning and implementation that focus on the creation of self-organising teams of specialists and users to create novel approaches, supported by evidence to previously intractable problems. This is particularly relevant to the 5-10% of any major project which creates 95-90% of the grief.

    - The integration of tools such as blogs, wiki's etc into the development environment. Too often corporate environments over-constrain those tools into over rigid structures which destroy their utility.

  • Saket Bansal
    Saket Bansal
    schedule 8 years ago
    Sold Out!
    45 Mins

    Why organizations are adapting towards agile? Is it to get most out of their resources or is it about doing the right thing?


    Traditional mind set of achieving high productivity and using resources efficiently does not change easily, even when organization moves to agile they remain more and more worried about the team velocity. When I meet agile practicing companies or I attend event on agile I find that most of

    the focus is on delivering product backlog efficiently. We see lot of talks on how to make team more self-organizing so that they can do the things faster.  Even after moving to scrum or agile we keep ignoring the warning

    “There is nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which should not be
    done at all.”  —Peter F. Drucker

    When most of the organization starts with agile they takes it as an engineering process, and most of the team focuses too much on velocity, while to get maximum out of agile we need to look at Enterprise Agility, we need to look at an organization’s entire value stream—from idea to implementation, from concept to consumption.

    My talk would be focusing on need of organization agility and will introduce one of the monitoring tool “Life Cycle Profitability “which can help organizations in getting answers of questions like :

    • Should we delay the release by one month to fix the defects ?
    • Should we reduce the cycle time by adding one more team?
    • Should we delay the release to add functionality?
    • Should we delay the project by one month to get more innovative ?

    Life Cycle Profitability is based on principle “Take an economic view” introduced in book:The Principles of Product Development Flow , Donald G. Reinertsen . In my talk I will be showing how we can convert proxy variables like cycle time , velocity , technical debts  into Life Cycle Profit.

    I presented part of this concept in one of the conference and got good response, but I will create fresh presentation for this talk, since this time I will put more focus on expanding the model to calculate the Life Cycle Profit.