Dave Snowden – Navigating Complexity in Social Systems

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Dave Snowden – Navigating Complexity in Social Systems

This week we (Commonwealth Bank Australia) have had the rare pleasure of having MBT friend and speaker Dave Snowden present to the senior leaders within the bank.

Dave spent Monday morning with technology general managers, the afternoon with the banks Executive Committee (All C Level members) and on Tuesday I spent 3 hours in the company of a number of Executive General Managers listening to Dave speak on the topic of Navigating Complexity in Social Systems. Using his usual humor and wit Dave tackled this complex subject with one aim, to help the senior executives of the bank, to challenge what they know and how they think.

A number of topics discussed are below, these topics were aimed at helping the bank work through transformation in the “way we work” and a personal favorite quote of Dave’s from the day….. “People talking about software development in an agile world are making more money than the software development companies themselves”, which I must agree with, every second marketing email in my mailbox is about how agile is the new norm, especially from companies that can’t demonstrate their credentials on this subject.

Dave Spoke about :
Virtual Reality
Recession Cycles
Management Science
Correlation & Causation

To challenge peoples way of thinking Dave explained the Cobra, Butterfly & Hawthorn effects, if you haven’t heard of any of these…. Google them, as I hadn’t heard of them but I will bear them in mind for future change activities.

Systems thinking was also a very hot topic, particular for an audience coming from a financial institution. The topic of Apex Predator which had everyone sketching Dave’s diagram for ease… here’s a link to his blog article.

The topic of systems continued and lightly touched on some of the content used during the MBT Community presentation, Ordered Systems, Secratic Techniques, Chaotic Systems and Complex Adaptive Systems.

And prior to opening up questioning for nearly an hour, Dave discussed using people as sensors within organisations rather than using traditional surveys, as we live in an era of survey overload.

A few pictures from the day can be seen below, but should you have any interest on this topic please feel free to email me at [email protected]

1 Comment

  1. Jens says:

    Great post Lee!

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