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April 2011

When the facts won’t get you there

By Thomas Townsend  ·  April 25, 2011  · 

I thought I might finish these posts with sharing an offline exchange between myself and colleagues working on education policy. He had asked about "complexity as a framing tool" and would it have anything to offer as an approach to why some people go to higher education and others don't. I had just finished another conversation with a senior official who was leary of complexity being introduced into the policy discourse as experience had showen that it tended to imobilize the discussion and provoke a "let's study it more before we...

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Swans, locks and eccentrics

By Dave Snowden  ·  April 25, 2011  ·  Great places

DSC_2574.JPGA walk today from Aldermaston Wharf to Newbury along the Kennet and Avon Canal started with a wonderful example of Victorian Engineering and in its final stages passed through the bleak industrial landscape of the 70s and 80s. Aldermaston Lock is a delight with scalloped brick side walls. A sense of design and pride in what is a functional work which contrasts badly with the rubbish and neglect pictured below as the canal passes through Thatcham. I was in Copenhagen a few weeks ago at former factory now converted for the Copenhagen...

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Bhutan refugee camps

By Dave Snowden  ·  April 23, 2011  ·  News

Screen shot 2011-04-23 at 13.10.26.png Pleased to see daughter planning to do something other than go to festivals and socialize over the summer holiday period. Her current plan is to take part in a low cost documentary on Bhutan Refugee camps. She is undergraduate anthropologist listed on the referenced web site. I must admit I found myself a little torn yesterday on the phone between wanting her to go, and wanting her to stay safely at home. Either way I will pledge support although I may extract a requirement for her to do some beta field testing of SenseMaker's new...

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“first the word, then the thought,”

By Thomas Townsend  ·  April 20, 2011  · 

sonnens.jpg

Yesterday the Institute for Government released a series of reports on policy making in the UK. What is interesting about these reports is they reference a need for policy makers to “reconceive their role increasingly as one of creating the conditions for others to deal with policy problems using innovative and adaptive approaches”. They make it clear that part of the policy competencies should include “understand concepts from complexity science”.

Both public servants and consultants exposed to complexity science...

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My name is sisyphus

By Dave Snowden  ·  April 19, 2011  ·  Surreal

sisyphus_1008Copy.jpeg

Four hours to record a ten minute presentation, I know how sisyphus felt.
Cartoon courtesy of Gaping Void

I've neglected this blog over the last few weeks, partly due to travel (A Round the World ticket, followed by a side trip to the US) and partly due to the intensity of some of the work. Last week for example saw me in Atlanta looking at human interactions in irregular warfare for the US Navy. That was followed by two days in New York working with one of the founders of Starlight Runner and their editorial lead on...

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