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October 2006

Communities of Practice

By Dave Snowden  ·  October 31, 2006  ·  Musings

I was an observer in a debate recently on the question of whether a community of practice had to be self-organising, or if it could be directed. My own view is that communities can evolve, but cannot be designed top down. Of course you can stimulate and direct evolution. However a CoP "Roll out" plan always gets me worried. The original work on this was done by Wenger and in the debate he was being criticised for basing his theory on the endpoint of a process that had taken years to evolve.

I think it is correct to say...


See you in San Jose?

By Dave Snowden  ·  October 30, 2006  ·  News

In an hour or so's time I will set off for Heathrow and a flight to California for KM World. Tomorrow, the 31st I am at a complexity cluster in San Francisco. Wednesday the 1st I have a keynote on leadership. Thursday the 2nd Nov Richard McDermott and I will lead a discussion on controveries in KM at 1015. On the same day at 1500 in an additional session I will be demonstrating the Sensemaker software . I already know a lot of old friends will be there and I look forward to seeing them again, as well as to meeting new people.



Selling new ideas to an organisation

By Dave Snowden  ·  October 30, 2006  ·  Reflections

There has been much debate in ActKM on the subject of ROI for KM projects and the use of an idealistic end state (or Utopia) to sell Executives on a KM programme. I have been engaged in that debate and reflecting on it I realised that I have spent the majority of my life discovering and selling new things to skeptical executives. To my mind at least nine principles that apply if you want to be an innovator:

  1. You need to understand at a deep level the new concept, idea or technology and you have to believe that it will work....


Seven approaches to complexity.

By Dave Snowden  ·  October 29, 2006  ·  Reflections

I have allowed myself to get sucked into a debate on the value of the SECI model. To my mind in the hands of consultants and IT vendors it has become the model that launched a thousand failed knowledge management initiatives. In responding to an as ever intelligent post from Richard Vines this morning I created a list of different approaches currently being taken on the use of complexity in social systems. I did this quickly so it is probably wrong, but share it below in the hope that others will improve and add to it.

  1. The...


Good fences make good neighbours

By Dave Snowden  ·  October 29, 2006  ·  Musings

“He is all pine and I am apple orchard.
My apple trees will never get across
And eat the cones under his pines, I tell him.
He only says, ‘Good fences make good neighbours’”

Robert Frost Mending Wall

I was reminded of one of my favourite Robert Frost Poems this evening when I read a report about freedom of speech on the web. Amnesty International have just started a campaign to stand up for freedom of expression on the the internet. All this in advance of the Internet Governance Forum meeting in Athens next week....