Seminar with Dave Snowden in Copenhagen

I attended the “Leading through change” seminar with Dave Snowden of Cognetive Edge yesterday. I tweeted all day and the highlights can be seen at

So did I learn anything? I certainly think it was useful to get “the unfiltered” version of Mr Snowdens thinking directly from the source. Also, it was good to get some confirmation of the basic principles upon which we base our work at Wemind.

For me, some of the most important points were the following:

  • Dissent and conflict are essential to weak signal detection, and it also stimulates creativity. This is an important thing to consider in open processes, in order avoid “The dumbness of the Crowds”. And in extension to this, the importance of creating a culture that allows for experimentation and mistakes
  • Rituals (and action in general) is the most efficient mean to change behaviour. Again, it has a lot of implications for how you work with clients
  • The purpose of strategy is not about finding universal solutions – neither is it about scenario planning. It is about defining purposeful initiatives based on collective intelligence – and having amplification measures in place to leverage the successful ones.

The latter have direct implications for project charters and contracts. Why pretend that we know an outcome that is utterly uncertain? Project owners should consider using amplification and recovery strategies to build in this uncertainty to their plans, rather than relying on over-optimistic business cases.

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