Creativity and Complexity – the link (Part 2)

Let's jump in boots-'n-all into Part 2...well actually, this post has little room for an "orange boots" orientation.  It will concentrate on the non-chaotic realms as laid out by Snowden.

In these realms action is still wholly appropriate; but more in the style of de Bono’s “navy formal shoes” and/or “grey trainers”.  For fans of (or newbies to) de Bono’s 1992 book Six Action Shoes you can get a neat introduction here.

Here is another take on Cynefin by Rob England (which I am glad to see Dave Snowden gave his “+1” to this):

From Rob England’s Google+ site

The neat aspect of this “staircase-view” of Cynefin is how it indicates that “loss of control” is the shortest way (aka falling off a cliff) to chaos AND that by climbing the staircase it is also feasible to try to tame “wicked problems” (usually after-the-fact as ex post facto rationalisations, I imagine).  The “control” jump to restore chaotic to complex is akin to Giuseppe Garibaldi unifying the whole of Italy in the mid 1800’s methinks [“imposing structure”].

English: Rovigo (Italy): monument of Garibaldi...
Monument of Garibaldi by Ettore Ferrari Italiano:  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This is the realm of heroic figures like Garibaldi, Lincoln and South Africa’s own four legendary Nobel Peace prize winners…

For the world of mortals like most of us, I would now like to refocus on the climb from complex to complicated to simple.  This is where the Osborn-Parnes CPS (creative problem solving) “process” and Cynefin have their alluring link (shown in the graphic I created below):

Partial Cynefin (left) alongside CPS (right)
Partial Cynefin (left) alongside CPS (right)

What I try to suggest with this parallelism is that for Simple problems it is appropriate to jump straight to implementing “best-practices” as realisable and realistic solutions.  Please do remember Albert’s advice…”Make things as simple as possible!”

For Complicated challenges one should go more “upstream”.  Consult all the experts you can, brainstorm with your team, hold multiple focus groups and then, converge on the most suitable answer…

But for Complex situations do NOT take shortcuts.  Travel even further “upstream” – deliberately and thoughtFULLy – before you even think of packaging your answers.  The problem needs to deeply and widely explored.  It is also prudent to reserve your judgments for as lonnnnggggggggg as possible.

After all, you may even have to change your mind!  Do not try to (control and) co-ordinate these outcomes!

Realm specific responses

That works in the Simple realm (only).  “Complex” is where the mythical world of collaboration exists (hopefully not unicorn-like).  This is the territory where trust is the coin-of-the-realm.

Trust, openness, creativity…I think I am starting to see an emergent pattern…

But that’s for another set of posts.


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