Practice without sound theory will not scale

Dave Snowden, “Practice without sound theory will not scale“. Simple.

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Moral Warfare:: a fight that the “pure of purpose” can win


OODA (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I gather that “The Art of War” by Sun Tzu has, once again, become a popular read. If you have read it, this may come as no great surprise as it is fair to say that, despite some “iffy” translations prior to 1910, it has stood the test of time.

But, since beheading people to establish one’s authority is frowned-upon in these politically correct times(!?), I would recommend seeking out a latter-day “master strategist” by the name of John Boyd. You may have heard talk of AGILE BUSINESS [the embedded link is for anyone in insurance] and wondered “what the hell does that mean” or dismissed it as yet another creation of fee-hungry management or IT consultants!

But hold your horses…stick around and you might learn something that could serve you and your business VERY well indeed.

Dave Snowden:: anticipatory awareness – seizing opportunity avoiding threats

At Ontonix we talk about “crisis anticipation” but, I suppose, anticipatory awareness has a certain ring to it AND reflects the potential to identify both THREATS and OPPORTUNITIES…developing an informational advantage into a competitive advantage!

Moving from “fail-safe” systems to multiple sub-systems that are safe-to-fail

However, the most important thing is to recognise organisations for the, dynamic, COMPLEX SYSTEMS they have become. Attempts to manage performance and risk with tools and techniques that may have facilitated construction of “complicated machines” are dangerously inadequate…hence the increased need for an early warning mechanism.

Video: “Practice without sound theory will not scale”– invaluable lessons for model transformation

The following introduction doesn’t do justice to Dave Snowden’s presentation but there are some things that I felt I needed to say.

Having been an insurance broker for circa 30 years you acquire a broad “knowledge” of a wide range of industries and sectors. You also come to appreciate that there are common practices in one industry that can provide, if not the solution, then an outline of a solution in another. But, unless there is the means to communicate between industries and across sectors valuable lessons can be lost: information is transformed (and transformational) with effective communication…it should go without saying that this is also true of communications WITHIN an organisation.

In former roles, the process of learning about the business for which you were required to arrange appropriate cover, I came across variations of problems that I had seen in unrelated industries. When I did, I shared as much information as I could in the hope that this would help the client and assist me in gaining the trust and patronage of the prospective client. Sometimes this approach had the desired effect and everyone won as a result. I used to refer to it as “David’s handy hints”. I came to think of this a bit like a bee pollenating plants and, in some respects, this is a good analogy.

Having watched this fantastic presentation by Dave Snowden, I am delighted to have discovered a new term for and understanding of what it was I was doing: EXAPTATION

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