Updates to Cynefin
(Don’t worry: this is little more than a Public Service Announcement for those enterprise-architecture folks who are interested in the Cynefin framework.)
From knowledge-management guru David Gurteen, I hear via Twitter that David Snowden is currently updating some of his views on Cynefin:
- RT @DavidGurteen: RT @snowded: Continuing my rethinking of #cynefin in preparation for #calm alpha, more to follow http://bit.ly/SYyXAP
Snowden’s blogposts to date on this include:
- A work in progress (January 2012) – “For over a year now I have been playing with differ[ent] ways of representing the complex domain in Cynefin”
- Disabling disorder (July 2012) – “Back in January I started to share some of my thinking about the next evolutionary phase of Cynefin … today I want to start sharing thoughts on the most neglected of all Cynefin domains namely disorder.”
- Rethinking the complex domain of Cynefin (July 2012) – “the idea is that there is a optimal position that balances diversity of response with diversity of stimulus”
If you’re working with Cynefin, this is obviously going to be important to you: you’ll need to know about this.
I won’t make any comment on any of Snowden’s posts – it’s his framework, not mine, and as I’ve said elsewhere, I just don’t find it useful in enterprise-architecture these days: I prefer to use other sensemaking/decision-making frameworks such as VPEC-T and SCAN instead.
For what it’s worth, though – and yes, it may well be worth nothing – my understanding of the Disorder domain in Cynefin was that it was conceptually and/or functionally similar to the Buddhist concept of sunyata. That term is often loosely translated as ‘emptiness‘ or ‘the void’, though note that:
Emptiness (sunyata) must not be confused with nothingness. Emptiness is not non-existence and it is not non-reality.
Parallel to this ‘not non-reality’ would be the Taoist notion of ‘no-thing’:
Something mysteriously formed,
Born before heaven and earth,
In the silence and the void,
Standing alone and unchanging,
Ever present and in motion.
Or, to again use the Taoist term, the contrast between the Disorder domain and the ‘ten thousand things’ we see in or through the other Cynefin domains is that:
The ten thousand things are born of being.
Being is born of not-being.
(Quotes from Gia Fu Feng / Jane English translation, chs. 25 and 40.)
In other words, not an empty vacuum, but a space of ‘not-being’, a realm of infinite possibility that in part becomes shaped by our own process of sensemaking. Kind of like Schrodinger’s Cat, but applied to everything in the sensemaking space, perhaps? 🙂
Anyway, just a comment: hope it’s useful, is all.