The diagram shows the usual layout of the Cynefin domains – unordered on the left, ordered on the right.
I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about this whilst working on the SEMPER book – hence reviewing my notes from the original Cynefin course I did with Dave some years back.
Idea I’m working on is about where the action needs to happen in the real world. As I remember, Dave said that we need to bring everything from the unordered domains (complex, chaotic) into the ordered domains (known, knowable) in order to work on them. And he’s right, if our aim is to make sense of what’s going on – hence Cynefin as a ‘sense-making’ framework.
But I’d argue that he’s not right when we actually come to apply that sense-making to a real context in the real world. To do the latter, we have to move back again, from the ordered into the unordered, because at some point, and to some extent, the real world is inherently always either complex (if we have numbers of instances large enough to derive patterns) or chaotic (the single point of contact, or ‘market of one’).
More to the point, if we use Dave’s approach alone (i.e. unordered to ordered), we’ll be straight back in the same mess that we’ve always been with the positivist, ordered view of the world (regulation, analysis and so on) – it’s never been a high-survival tactic to try to force the messy complexities of the real world to fit in with some arbitrarily-chosen ‘rules’ or ‘laws’, and then complain when Reality Department won’t go along with our assumptions. :wrygrin: Instead, we need to respect and work with the fact that reality is complex and chaotic. Hence the need to move back from ordered to unordered at the point of action. Which ain’t going to be popular with the control-freaks and bean-counters, of course, but that’s their problem, really.
Dunno whether Dave’s shifted his thinking on this point in the past few years – he probably has, though I haven’t seen anything on it in published work – but it’s a suggestion to think about, anyway.