Volatility Uncertainty Complexity Ambiguity 	
  
Level	
  3,	
  IBM	
  Tower	
  
60	
  City	
  Rd,	
  Southbank	
  VIC	
  ...
SIMPLE	
  CHAOTIC	
  
COMPLICATED	
  COMPLEX	
  
THE	
  FOUR	
  CYNEFIN	
  DOMAINS	
  
Entry	
  in	
  the	
  company	
  SOP	
  Manual	
  
This	
  key	
  can	
  be	
  found	
  
hanging	
  on	
  the	
  back	
  o...
COMPLICATED	
  
“I’ve	
  lost	
  the	
  key	
  for	
  this	
  lock.	
  
It	
  was	
  the	
  only	
  key	
  we	
  had,	
  
...
“Can	
  someone	
  please	
  open	
  all	
  these	
  locks.	
  	
  The	
  
right	
  keys	
  are	
  somewhere	
  in	
  thes...
Volatility Uncertainty Complexity Ambiguity 	
  
Level	
  3,	
  IBM	
  Tower	
  
60	
  City	
  Rd,	
  Southbank	
  VIC	
  ...
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Cynefin complexity

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Cynefin complexity

  1. 1. Volatility Uncertainty Complexity Ambiguity   Level  3,  IBM  Tower   60  City  Rd,  Southbank  VIC  3006   www.vucaconcepts.com.au   The  accompanying  slides  show  the  four  domains  of  the   Cynefin  framework.    They  also  borrow  from  the  ‘Lock  &   Key’  metaphor  introduced  recently  by  Dr  Ali  Anani  on   the  LinkedIn  ‘Complexity  in  Organisa7ons’  group.         As  noted  by  Ali,  many  people  find  it  difficult  to   understand  the  implicaLons  flowing  from  these  four     problem  arenas.         I  offer  for  consideraLon  this  extension  of  the  metaphor.  
  2. 2. SIMPLE  CHAOTIC   COMPLICATED  COMPLEX   THE  FOUR  CYNEFIN  DOMAINS  
  3. 3. Entry  in  the  company  SOP  Manual   This  key  can  be  found   hanging  on  the  back  of   the  canteen  door…   It  opens  the  red  &   black  lock  to  the   pantry…   SIMPLE   I  suggest  that  the  Simple  and  Chao,c  domains,   as  presented  below,  speak  for  themselves.   CHAOTIC   “The  building  is   on  fire.  All  these   doors  are  locked   and  we  have  no   keys.”  
  4. 4. COMPLICATED   “I’ve  lost  the  key  for  this  lock.   It  was  the  only  key  we  had,   and  the  lock  is  a  technically   very  complicated  mechanism.     What  are  we  going  to  do?”   Regarding  the   Complicated,  my   explanaLon  is  as  follows:   “While  none  of  us  present   may  know  how  to  deal   with  the  situa7on  at  hand,   a  professional  locksmith   will  get  it  open.    Let’s  call   one!”  
  5. 5. “Can  someone  please  open  all  these  locks.    The   right  keys  are  somewhere  in  these  four  bunches!”   COMPLEX   On  the  face  of  it  this  looks  like  a   very  messy  situaLon,  which  it  is  –   certainly  if  we  mulLplied  the   number  of  locks  and  key  bunches  by   an  order,  say,  of  10.   But,  applying  good  Complexity   Management  prac7ce,  we  ask  the   ques7on:  “Are  there  any  paIerns   discernible  here”?       On  further  probing,  we  discover  the  following:   1.     There  are  three  different  lock  colours.   2.     Some  of  the  locks  are  hanging  upside  down  (for  whatever  reason).   3.     On  examining  the  four  bunches  of  keys  we  discover  that  each  individual  key  is  numbered.   4.     On  further  inves7ga7on  we  discover  that  all  the  locks  with  numbers  beginning  with  the   digit  1  open  all  the  yellow  locks;  those  beginning  with  3  open  all  the  purple  ones;  those   beginning  with  9  open  the  red-­‐black  locks;  those  beginning  with  the  two  digit-­‐sequence  3-­‐2   open  all  upside  down  locks,  irrespec7ve  of  colour!   My  explanaVon:   Discovering  these  paXerns  will  help  us  progressively  tame   the  ‘wickedness’  of  the  complex  problem!  
  6. 6. Volatility Uncertainty Complexity Ambiguity   Level  3,  IBM  Tower   60  City  Rd,  Southbank  VIC  3006   www.vucaconcepts.com.au   HOPE  THESE  THOUGHTS  HELP  YOU  IN   UNRAVELLING  THE  COMPLEXITY  OF     ‘COMPLEXITY’.   Robert robert.flynn@vucaconcepts.com.au  

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