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2009/02 - Cognitive Edge Network Blog

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February 2009

Drachten, horses & cognition

By Dave Snowden  ·  February 28, 2009  ·  Musings

A well written posting from Mark Gould that picks up the origin of the word manage in english (manège, french for the art of training and riding horses) moving on through a series if interesting quotes to traffic management with a great example to compliment the Magic roundabout in Swindon. This example is all about removing excessive control (centralised cognition) in the forms of traffic lights. Its also described here and you can see it in action here.

There is of course an ideological danger in these examples, starting to believe...


Five spices

By Dave Snowden  ·  February 27, 2009  ·  News

I will again be in Hong Kong (or possibly in transit to Singapore) for my birthday again this year. In previous years this has involved a visit to the 7s, but this year that weekend involves the EDF semi-finals so I am staying in the UK and flying out on Sunday. The reason for the visit is a KM conference where I am one of five speakers in what looks to be an interesting event. Details here for those interested. The other speakers are all old friends and there is enough that we have in common, as well as sufficient difference to make...



By Patrick Lambe  ·  February 25, 2009  · 

Skin carries – and reveals – the memory of the body’s interaction with the world, whether it is as an interface with the environment (the effects of being out in all kinds of weather, excessive suntanning, scars from injuries and burns) or as a manifestation of what the body has consumed over time (drug and alcohol abuse, diet, poisoning). We can look into a person’s face, and read aspects of their history, and this becomes easier and easier as they move into middle and advanced age.

The skin is not alone in this....


Happy Birthday Liberty

By Steve Freeman  ·  February 23, 2009  · 

Today is the 75th birthday of Liberty, what used to be the National Council for Civil Liberties in the UK. It's good to remind ourselves why they were founded (in 1934) since we now live an society where the authorities have unprecedented powers of and infrastructure for surveillance. It looks like we gave too much away in response to the terrorism crisis, at least according to the professionals like the International Commission of Jurists and a previous head of MI5.

We should remember how quickly a major recession triggered the...


The Body Corporate

By Patrick Lambe  ·  February 23, 2009  · 

I have a few posts in mind which will attempt to use what we know of the human body as an analogy to help us make sense of the social body we call the organisation.

Analogies, like metaphors, example stories and even taxonomies, can be useful sensemaking devices insofar as they reflect broadly similar situations and sets of relationships, and help us transition back and forth between the known and the unknown. They help to the extent that they provide ready-made patterns or frameworks or mental models that can help us visualize or...