SCAN and cultureSCAN

A quick ‘Just so you know’, really, to pre-empt some possible future confusion.

I gather from Dave Gray that Dave Snowden is launching a new product, designed to work in conjunction with Cognitive Edge‘s existing ‘SenseMaker’ toolset:

Although the original name of the product appears to have been ‘Culture Scan’, as Dave Gray indicates, the product will apparently now be released under the name ‘cultureSCAN‘.

This is somewhat unfortunate, as that naming may mislead some people into thinking that the ‘cultureSCAN’ product is based on my own work – sometimes together with others such as Cynthia Kurtz and Kai Schlüter – over the past few years or so, on the SCAN framework for sensemaking and decision-making.

(This confusion may be further exacerbated by the upcoming related Cognitive Edge product ‘decisionSCAN’, which, as a name, collides even more directly with my previous work on SCAN for decision-making.)

‘Scan’ is a common enough term, of course, and Dave Snowden is of course free to name his products in whatever way he might choose. (Within the constraints of the law, that is, though that shouldn’t apply in this case.) But just to clarify:

— on relative dates of creation:

  • the SCAN framework was first described here in November 2011, and has been under continual development ever since, as described on this blog
  • Snowden has undoubtedly been aware of SCAN since its inception, as evidenced by comments on this blog, Twitter and elsewhere
  • Snowden’s cultureSCAN appears to have been first described only a few months ago (February 2015), as a then-unnamed potential product
  • today is the first time that I have heard of the cultureSCAN product, via Dave Gray’s tweet and thence the Cognitive Edge blog, which I very rarely read

— on intellectual-property:

  • the SCAN framework pre-dates and does not use any known part of the cultureSCAN product(s)
  • Snowden has not licensed any of my existing work on the SCAN framework for re-use in the cultureSCAN product(s)
  • to my knowledge, the cultureSCAN materials are not based on and do not use any of my existing work on the SCAN framework

— on responsibilities for the naming-clash itself:

  • I must presume that the naming-clash between SCAN and cultureSCAN, although unfortunate, is unintentional on Snowden’s part
  • given my now well-established prior-art on the usage of the SCAN term in sensemaking and decision-making, I must also presume that Snowden accepts full responsibility for any unintended-consequences of the potential name-clash, in any contexts where our respective work might overlap

Just hope that clarifies everything sufficiently for everyone, anyway.

2 Comments on “SCAN and cultureSCAN

  1. Hi Tom,

    I also think that this is a coincidence and not on purpose given the fact that HorizonScanning has been a long practice in Singapore based project. But its good to have some exchange on Brands and Names. FYI we tend to name our projects and services [Xyz]Connect. So HumanConnect is about employee engagement/motivation, CareConnect (kids) is about patient-centric care, CitizenConnect is in the domain of citizen participation, SafetyConnect is about safety culture, ProductConnect is about Agile Product development and introduction, StudentConnect is about Learning effectiveness, etc, etc.

    Hope this helps to avoid clashes in the future.

    • Thanks, Harold.

      Yes, as I said in the post, the ‘Scan’ term is common enough anyway, exactly as per the examples you list.

      And I do presume that the potential naming-clash, though unfortunate, was unintentional on Snowden’s part.

      All I want to make sure of here is that I don’t accidentally confuse Snowden’s clients, and vice versa re Snowden’s work and my clients, with frameworks that, from the respective naming, might at first seem related but actually aren’t.

      In other words, just a ‘Public Service Announcement’ to help everyone’s clients – nothing more than that.

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