Thursday, 18 February 2010

Cynefin - Sensemaking and Enterprise 2.0

Yesterday while nursing my daughter, bad cold/little sleep, I had the time to catch up on some reading I'd been putting off. One of the papers 'Complex acts of knowing: Paradox and descriptive self-awareness' by Dave Snowden of Cognative Edge was a really gem. I've been struggling for a while with contextualising how 'knowledge' is created along with the tools, process and people involved in it's creation. The paper draws on anthropology and complex adaptive systems theory to illustrate how our behaviours under different conditions affect how we make decisions. Essentially the model consists of a 4 box with unstructured vs structured on the x-axis and low vs high abstraction on the y-axis. This gives us four boxes, starting in the bottom left and moving clockwise we have:

Chaos - here we need to impose order
Complex - here we look for patterns
Knowable - here we refine and analysis
Known - here we learn/teach

Here is a simple video explanation of the Cynefin framework:

This framework has been predominately used in the arena of Sensemaking but Jim McGee has highlighted the close relationship between this discipline and enterprise 2.0 tools "... I would suggest .... those promoting Enterprise 2.0 technologies to investigate the sensemaking planning techniques and practices and map points where the technologies enable, simplify, or improve the techniques." Ok that is what I'm going to do, I'll share my findings here.