Episode 044 Making Sense Of Human Systems, An Interview With Professor Dave Snowden

In this episode, Angie interviews Founder and Chief Scientific Officer of Cognitive EdgeDave Snowden. Professor Snowden describes his work with complexity and how it applies to decision-making. He also introduces us to “anthro-complexity”, which is a term he has coined to represent a whole new approach to human systems based on natural science. Professor Snowden says “human systems are fundamentally organic entities”, so they should be studied as entirely different forms of complex systems.

Show Notes

Quotes from this episode:

“Human systems are complex ecologies rather than complicated machines, for the last 3 or 4 decades we have been using a mechanical metaphor for what is fundamentally an organic entity.” - Dave Snowden

“Complex Adaptive Systems don’t have causality; they have dispositionality. You can say that the system is disposed to behave in this way but you can’t predict that it will. Most human systems work in that fashion.” - Dave Snowden

“There are huge additional levels of complexity when you deal with human systems, so what we are doing is to combine complex adaptive systems theory with cognitive neuroscience, psychology, and philosophy to create a new theory of what systems are about.”  - Dave Snowden

“Art comes before human language in evolution, so humans constantly work at a high level of abstraction and in evolutionary terms this has massive advantage.” - Dave Snowden

“Ritual aligns identity with roles so that forms of behavior are possible.” - Dave Snowden

“If you create boundaries human beings when they cross a boundary know they can behave differently.” - Dave Snowden

“We need real-time feedback systems, which are descriptive not evaluative.” - Dave Snowden

“SenseMaker allows human metadata to be created using high abstraction principles.” - Dave Snowden

“Measure in the present by safe to fail parallel experimentation you don’t manage to future states. Manage in the present.” - Dave Snowden  


Resources from this episode:

A Leader's Framework for Decision-Making

Multi-Ontology Sense Making


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