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KM Europe: Dave Snowden

I was very happy to listen to Dave Snowden‘s keynote. I tried to follow some of his writings, but listening is much better way to grasp complex ideas. This speech provided a good initial framework to glue pieces together when I’m reading again.

Below are some of my notes. They are quite random and text-only: I’m too lazy to make something of my drawings. If you want some background there is enough articles by Dave Snowden on-line. The one I can link without much searching is The new dynamics of strategy: Sense-making in a complex and complicated world (.pdf).

KM is about:

  • Content management – managing what can be written
  • Narrative management – managing what can be spoken
  • Context management – managing the rest (what is the rest?)

Rules vs. heuristics. Rules tolerate no ambiguity, so they are difficult to apply then context changes. Heuristics are more flexible, but there is lack of consistency in applying.

Retrospective coherence – in advance it doesn’t make sense, but looking back it makes a good sense. The final pattern is clear only once it formed and can be explained

Why people are different from ants

  1. We never make decision based on rational grounds
  2. Human beings have multiple identities
  3. Free will

Random quotes

  • When people change between groups (re: size) they change identity.
  • People are very good in managing serendipity.
  • People know that databases are dangerous.
  • Human beings are brilliant in gaming explicit systems.
  • All innovation processes are work on incremental innovation. True innovation is achieved by seeing the world in a different way.

Categorisation and sense-making

  • Categorisation is about fitting ideas into an existing frame. Exploitation. (Good example here: asking people to allocate things into 2×2 matrix with 2/3 things designed to be not fitting –> people squeeze all of them into 2×2).
  • Sense making is about pattern recognition and discovering emerging frame from the data. Exploration.

Managing chaos (managing a party of 12 years old as an example)

  • gain different perspective
  • create, modify, remove boundaries
    • permeable
    • rigid
    • elastic
  • create, modify, remove attractors
    • single point attractor
    • multiple points
    • “strange” attractors

With my system dynamics roots I’m used to think about the world in terms of boundaries and attractors, so I’m definitely interested to learn more. Dave said that there are some kinds of training programs for students. Will find out.

Archived version of this entry is available at http://blog.mathemagenic.com/2003/11/15.html#a835; comments are here.

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