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On 28 February we had the honour, privilege and pleasure of having Dave Snowden with us. Dave was in town for a Rugby match, and we decided to try our luck and ask him to visit us and give a talk on Linear versus complexity: A new thinking paradigm for the development world and his Cynefin framework.

When Dave accepted to our invitation, I thought to my self, Oh My God, we'll have Dave Snowden, a leading knowledge management figure coming to IFAD.

In the development world, we do not get that often someone who embodies exceptional intellectual ability, creativity and originality. In other words, we do not have geniuses visiting us that often!

Dave managed to keep the audience in a complete state of awe for more than an hour and twenty minutes. I must admit I had never seen my colleagues so focused and listening so attentively to a talk.  Every single sentence Dave uttered was packed with at least five profound, new and revolutionary concepts. There was no way one could jot down all the concepts and internalize them before Dave moved on to his next sentence.

Dave inspired, challenged and left us speechless. At the end of his lecture, for the rest of the day and even today are heads are still spinning. Colleagues are replaying the lecture and taking their time to internalize Dave's new thinking paradigm.

Many of you in the virtual world followed us via webcast. For those who missed this unique event, Dave was kind enough to agree that we could post the recording. Make sure you watch it so that you can live our same experience.

I am also including some of the tweets from the superb IFAD social reporting team and other equally reat social reporters both in and outside the room! And make sure you check out Luca Servo's blogpost: The Cynefin framework.

Tweets from Dave Snowden lecutre at IFAD on linear versus complexity: a new thinking paradigm for the development world



Dear Dave, once again, thank you for making our Monday morning such a unique and rewarding experience. We look forward to welcoming you very soon in Rome and at IFAD!



Here is a random selection of Dave's soundbites
We manage the evolutionary potential of the present 
People will share knowledge if they see you need it. Nobody will codify knowledge in advance of that need 
Communities of practice lost their relevance 5 years ago!
I use Twitter more than Google these days. Human language gives content and context that a search engine cannot match
Failures imprint more than successes
Tacit knowledge is not always enough to make the right decisions
Taxonomy is like taxidermy
Photo gallery


1 Responses to Humans beings prefer messy coherence, says Dave Snowden. Make sure you watch Dave's lecture at IFAD

  1. Nancy White said:
  2. Thanks for sharing this Roxy! As we've discussed many times I knew y'all would appreciate Dave's thinking.

    I'd like to comment on one of the 'one liners' you reposted about CoPs being dead. I *think* Dave is referencing formalized, top down constructs that hoped to stimulate CoPs. Learning with and from each other over time (CoPs in their basic sense) isn't dead, and in fact Dave's own company, Cognitive-Edge, fosters such things by encouraging local meet ups of practitioners, on online space for quick conversations, comments on blogs, etc. So I'd like to suggest we not throw the proverbial baby out with the bath water. Learning with and from each other over time in the contexts of our individual and collective practices is still powerful. But we must pay heed to the costs of trying to control them! :-)