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How IBM Brings Ideas Forward From Its Teams

How IBM Brings Ideas Forward From Its Teams | Collaborationweb | Scoop.it
Two years ago, I was asked to lead the transformation of product design at IBM. My challenge isn’t simply to add designers. It’s to create agile, multidisciplinary teams that include designers, developers and product managers. 

Designing around the user experience, part of what’s known as “design thinking,” has become crucial to the success of business software. It’s not simply because people expect consumer-type experiences at work, but also because the information we receive and the speed with which we’re expected to deal with it have exploded in just a few years. Work tools must be redesigned for this new complexity.
David Hain's insight:

To collaborate effectively, focus on two things: getting everyone to contribute and letting everyone’s contribution be heard. ~ IBM

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John Michel's curator insight, December 8, 2014 8:53 AM

Getting the best work out of a team isn’t about silencing the loudest person. It’s about getting everyone involved to explore every angle, bring all ideas to the surface and collaborate on a path forward.

Robyn Haydon's curator insight, December 11, 2014 2:19 AM

Great advice from IBM for anyone brainstorming with their teams: "When you give voice to more people, the best ideas win, not (just) the loudest ones."

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How Humans and AI Are Working Together in 1,500 Companies

How Humans and AI Are Working Together in 1,500 Companies | Collaborationweb | Scoop.it

Many companies have used AI to automate processes, but those that deploy it mainly to displace employees will see only short-term productivity gains. In our research involving 1,500 companies, we found that firms achieve the most significant performance improvements when humans and machines work together. Through such collaborative intelligence, humans and AI actively enhance each other’s complementary strengths: the leadership, teamwork, creativity, and social skills of the former, and the speed, scalability, and quantitative capabilities of the latter. What comes naturally to people (making a joke, for example) can be tricky for machines, and what’s straightforward for machines (analyzing gigabytes of data) remains virtually impossible for humans. Business requires both kinds of capabilities.

David Hain's insight:

So it turns out that a collaborative mind set applies to success with artificial intelligence as well as our fellow humans. Seems like a pretty useful attitude to develop!

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How to make your team R.O.C.K. 

How to make your team R.O.C.K.  | Collaborationweb | Scoop.it
o learn about teamwork, management gurus tend to study collaboration in companies. Most don’t consider rock ‘n’ roll groups as an appropriate venue for studying teams. After all, what is a life in rock ‘n’ roll if not a quest to escape the 9 to 5?

As the CEO of Rock ‘n’ Roll Fantasy Camp (David) and part-time musician and Senior Partner at McKinsey & Company (Scott), we’ve observed that the best bands - the ones that last - achieve levels of teamwork and collaboration that business leaders would envy.

This makes sense. You must learn to work together if you’re going to spend life together on the road (imagine taking your team on a nine-month offsite!) and regularly “innovate” a new product every year or so for fickle customers with endless choice. Success at the end of the day, as Judas Priest’s lead singer Rob Halford put it, is “all about working together.”

We asked rockers who work with Rock ‘n’ Roll Fantasy Camp’s “Team Rock” corporate team-building program what they consider the most important lessons corporate leaders can learn from their experience. Here are their insights (shared in a framework intended to be as memorable as the chorus of your favorite rock anthem!):
David Hain's insight:

Rockin' collaboration! team leadership inspiration from a musical source...

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Re-Humanising Work and Organizations Through Projects 

Re-Humanising Work and Organizations Through Projects  | Collaborationweb | Scoop.it
The impact of globalization and technological advancements, with thousands of companies collapsing and millions of jobs vanishing in western economies, has caused an enormous loss of confidence in capitalism and western leaders. And according to Silicon Valley futurists, over the next 10 years, societies will experience more change than in the past two and a half centuries. More change, at a greater speed than ever!

Despite this daunting outlook, let me put forward one idea that can inspire us to remain positive and prompt us to action.

There is one model of productive collaboration, a method of work to generate value, that has remained constant over centuries, irrespective of organizational fashions. This universal method of working and organizing work is the project. Project-based work has been the engine that turned ideas into reality and generated the major accomplishments in our civilisation.

Behavioral and social sciences confirm that there are few ways of working and collaborating more motivating and inspiring than being part of a project with an ambitious goal, a higher purpose, and a clear fixed deadline.

But the project is not only the most human-centric and value-creating vehicle for human effort; even more important, it is also resilient to robots, artificial intelligence and many of the technological “advances” that seem to aim at eradicating the right to work.

Yet, very few individuals have been trained to define and manage projects successfully.
David Hain's insight:

Projects are significant collaboration tools and offer a skill set that could define a new way of working on todays wicked issues, suggests Antonio Neto-Rodriguez.

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Four Ingredients for Organisational Transformation 

When it comes to facing the unavoidable transformation of our companies, we are learning a great deal from networked organisations. This article summarises the four factors that should be considered in any initiative that aims at changing the culture of any company, be it directly or as a by-product.
David Hain's insight:

If you're into network collaboration, check out Ouishare for ideas, analysis and challenge to  traditional thinking!

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Polarities and paradox – Benefit Mindset 

“Everyone in a complex system has a slightly different interpretation. The more interpretations we gather, the easier it becomes to gain a sense of the whole.” — Margaret Wheatley
We live in a complex world facing an increasing range of global challenges. The more we can see and value the wholeness of our experiences, and appreciate the wholeness of the experiences of others, the more creative and comprehensive we can be in responding to our challenges.
David Hain's insight:

Essential mind set for today's leaders - less Trump, more Margaret Wheatley...

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Decision-making: avoiding turf wars 

Decision-making: avoiding turf wars  | Collaborationweb | Scoop.it
Cross-cutting decisions differ from delegated choices by an individual or team and from less frequent big-bet decisions such as an acquisition that impacts an organization broadly. Treating them the same is a big mistake since decisions that cut across the organization are made by different groups as part of a collaborative process.

Thus, the process is more important than the final decision-maker. Examples of cross-cutting decisions include pricing, sales and operations planning, and new product development. Organizations often struggle making them because of their inherent complexity with many steps, small decisions and people involved. The trick: Break the big decision down and design an effective process for making it.
David Hain's insight:

Tips on how to make collaborative decision making more effective and lasting.

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How to Create a Shared Vision That Works | Jesse Lyn Stoner

How to Create a Shared Vision That Works | Jesse Lyn Stoner | Collaborationweb | Scoop.it
This is a “how to” post – for leaders and team members who want to create a shared vision. Over the years I have written blog posts that provide an explanation of each of these steps. Here I connect the dots by linking those posts with the steps they support.
This is my roadmap for the process of creating a shared vision that not only inspires, but also provides clarity on direction and ongoing guidelines for decision-making.
David Hain's insight:

Great roadmap from @JesseLynnStoner on making collaborations work - packed with helpful references to resources!

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Why Teams Should Argue

Why Teams Should Argue | Collaborationweb | Scoop.it

Over the past three years, my colleagues and I have been supporting an extraordinarily diverse team of top Mexican leaders who are working together on a project called Méxicos Posibles (Possible Mexicos) to develop solutions to their country’s daunting problems of illegality, insecurity, and inequity. The team is made up of politicians from all parties, government officials, corporate CEOs, trade unionists, clergy, journalists, academics, and activists. In spite of, and also because of, their profound differences, these leaders have developed a powerful set of ideas and initiatives and have become a hopeful model — a living example — of a better Mexico.

Carlos Cruz has been a thoughtful and influential member of this team since its inception. He is the president of Cauce Ciudadano (Citizens’ Way), a grassroots organization that deals with youth violence by building peace. Last year, at a meeting to welcome new members of Méxicos Posibles, he offered this advice: “In this group, we mustn’t be afraid to fight and argue.” He continued, “I don’t come here to find friends — I have those in my neighborhood — but rather to find allies.”

Cruz puts his finger on a typical weakness in efforts to collaborate with diverse others. We think that in order to make progress in such contexts, we need to ignore, avoid, or smother conflicts: to be polite and to paper over our differences. We are afraid that if we open up this Pandora’s box, we will get hurt and collaboration will be impossible.

But papering over the differences in our perspectives, interests, and needs does not make them disappear. It means they will fester and erupt later with greater violence.

David Hain's insight:

Interesting short case study on the role of argument in collaboration - concludes it is essential!

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Mattering and Belonging –

Mattering and Belonging – | Collaborationweb | Scoop.it
The need to belong is a fundamental pillar of mattering. In a landmark paper, psychologists Roy Baumeister and Mark Leary called the need to belong and the desire for interpersonal attachments a “fundamental human motivation.”
David Hain's insight:

We are hard wired to belong - but if no common purpose is  identified, we may belong to other groups that may not be favourable to collaboration!

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Unprecedented level of joint working is transforming lives of older people | Public Leaders Network | The Guardian

Unprecedented level of joint working is transforming lives of older people | Public Leaders Network | The Guardian | Collaborationweb | Scoop.it
Key to the first-year success of the alliance has been the strong commitment at the most senior levels of all the partner organisations, bottom-up co-design of the programmes and neutrality of the coordinating team, says Soni. “I report to the chair of the GP collaborative [a grouping of family doctors] but I am a council employee and I am on secondment to the [NHS] clinical commissioning group.”
David Hain's insight:

Whole systems working in early action, producing excellent results. Transformation is possible if done the right way!

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How to Set Productive Collaboration into Action

How to Set Productive Collaboration into Action | Collaborationweb | Scoop.it
Productive collaboration isn’t about exchanging cubicle farms or offices for an open-plan setting. Nor is it about adding another layer of tasks or meetings. It’s about pooling resources, forming alliances, and achieving common objectives together. It should fit naturally into employees’ workflow and streamline the process of getting projects to the finish line. If you’re striving to create a more collaborative workplace, follow these 11 guidelines.
David Hain's insight:

Useful check list for a 'collaboration audit' that might throw up some really meaningful indicators.

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The new networked norm

The new networked norm | Collaborationweb | Scoop.it
Social and connected leadership can build on each other. One major change as we enter the network era is that positional power (based on institutions and hierarchies) may no longer be required to have influence in a network society. This may change how we think about leadership. This new connected leadership is the combination of social and networked influence. It does not require positional power. This type of leadership is something we all can use. We can use our reputation, as seekers and sense-makers, to share knowledge that has a reputation for veracity.
David Hain's insight:

These hyperconnected days, what you know, how you know it and how you broker it are increasingly more important in power terms than your title or place in the hierarchy. Insightful piece form Harold Jarche on how to make the best of our personal knowledge management.

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How to make shared leadership work: The 4 conditions needed – new research

How to make shared leadership work: The 4 conditions needed – new research | Collaborationweb | Scoop.it
Shared leadership is increasingly being used in more and more sectors. Broadly speaking, shared leadership is where the team is jointly responsible for a task and no one person is responsible for the successes or failures of the team. In other words, it is where leadership is broadly distributed, such that people within a team and organisation lead each other.

Research into shared leadership has now shown that there are four components that help with the formation of shared leadership:
David Hain's insight:

In a world that increasingly requires whole systems leadership - by definition, shared - we should practise these principles. Easy to state, but hard to do. Invest in them at the outset before less healthy norms kick in, or use them as a diagnostic.

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The Productivity Gap: Why Organisations Need To Rethink Hierarchy

The Productivity Gap: Why Organisations Need To Rethink Hierarchy | Collaborationweb | Scoop.it
Smaller teams are a natural way for humans to work. Real day-to-day work occurs in networks – people spend twice as much time with people near their desk than those just 50m away. Some of the most successful engineering companies of our times, including Spotify and Facebook, are built around small teams focused on problems that are important to the customer. These teams are cross functional and organised around what the customer values. They have colleagues from all disciplines that they need within them so that they are empowered to act not wait for another department to sign something off. This structure is more nimble and able to pivot – like a flotilla of smaller ships rather than huge tanker.
David Hain's insight:

A persuasive case for organising in networks.

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Evolving Knowledge

Evolving Knowledge | Collaborationweb | Scoop.it
Today, much of our knowledge, and sense making, takes place within our communities. Multiple, overlapping, often conflicted, social structures. Historically, we would access knowledge directly, but on the right hand side of the illustration, i’ve tried to capture something of the dynamic of how we access it today. Clearly we interact directly, but there are also layers of social filtering, social amplification, and social validation (and be clear that i am not saying that all of these things are good!). To large extent, the knowledge that we access it both influenced by our community, and constricted by it, but also processed and filtered.

Good leaders, Social Leaders, have a responsibility to understand just how: to be able to build out a broader, more balanced, dynamic community, and to understand how bias and influence flows through it. Put simply, the more interconnected and diverse, our community, the more balanced and diverse our access to knowledge, and ability to find true meaning.
David Hain's insight:

The history and future of knowledge. For those interested in the social age, you could hardly do better than read Julian Stodd's dynamic musings!

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Dennis Swender's curator insight, June 15, 1:34 PM
Aligned with James Banks' "knowledge construction" dimension of multicultural education
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How to Collaborate When You Don’t Have Consensus

How to Collaborate When You Don’t Have Consensus | Collaborationweb | Scoop.it
The conventional model of collaboration in business is to go to a lot of meetings to try to get agreement on five things:

What is our common purpose?
What is the problem?
What is the solution to the problem?
What is the plan to execute the solution?
Who needs to do what to execute the plan?


Answering these questions typically involves a delicate dance of managerial authority and employee adaptation. A boss may have a solution in mind, but could face potential downsides by enforcing it unilaterally. Those who disagree may drag their feet in implementing the plan or otherwise sabotage the team’s efforts. So instead, teams collaborate: A boss leads everyone to see the problem the same way (probably the way the boss does), and then to agree on a way forward.

But what if the people in the room are working at cross-purposes? What if they can’t even agree on what the problem is, much less how to solve it? What if there is low trust among them, and no one who can control the situation? What if the only thing people can agree on is that the situation is unacceptable and must be changed?

David Hain's insight:

Collaborating with the 'enemy' - useful short read taken from a book on the subject.

 

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Dennis Swender's curator insight, May 14, 1:43 PM
Applicable for the earlier  "Agree-Disagree" exercise?
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How To Be a Systems Thinker 

How To Be a Systems Thinker  | Collaborationweb | Scoop.it
Until fairly recently, artificial intelligence didn’t learn. To create a machine that learns to think more efficiently was a big challenge. In the same sense, one of the things that I wonder about is how we'll be able to teach a machine to know what it doesn’t know that it might need to know in order to address a particular issue productively and insightfully. This is a huge problem for human beings. It takes a while for us to learn to solve problems, and then it takes even longer for us to realize what we don’t know that we would need to know to solve a particular problem. 
David Hain's insight:

Fascinating conversation on the importance of seeing the world through systems - and why it has never been more important.

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A Discussion With Margaret Heffernan on Company Culture, Collaboration and Competition

A Discussion With Margaret Heffernan on Company Culture, Collaboration and Competition | Collaborationweb | Scoop.it

In this conversation, we discuss many of the concepts she shares in her books, namely:

How to tap into the collective knowledge of your organization so problems are solved quickly, efficiently, and cooperatively.
The strange experiment Margaret ran to build “social capital” in one of her early businesses that transformed the way her employees treated and interacted with each other
How to build a culture that doesn’t create in-fighting and unhealthy competition within your organization, and how many companies today are missing the mark
One simple thing you can do as a leader to increase the buy-in, productivity and overall satisfaction of your team members (and it takes less than 30 seconds to do.)
The dangers of binary thinking and how Margaret catches herself from oversimplifying a situation.
Why arguing may be one of the purest forms of collaboration — and how to do it correctly.
How to identify the environment and context where you do your best work and how to best replicate it.
How “willful blindness” has caused catastrophic disasters in business, professional and personal relationships, and what we can do to avoid being another statistic
The wonderful advice Margaret gave to her kids when it came to choosing a career path
And much more.

If you interact with other human beings in any capacity, you need to hear what Margaret has to say.

David Hain's insight:

A conversational primer on collaboration - well worth listening to.

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Random Acts Of Leadership™ | Collusion vs Collaboration

Random Acts Of Leadership™ | Collusion vs Collaboration | Collaborationweb | Scoop.it
A group of talented individuals does not necessarily translate into a high performing team.  That’s why sometimes the underdog seemingly comes out of nowhere to win.  In fact, high performing teams know that to succeed they must depend on each other as much, if not more, than their individual talents.

Perhaps even more importantly, they act as if their success is dependent on the success of others.  They also believe that they can truly count on each other to do what is best for their team, to be treated with respect and fully supported no matter what.


The answer to this one question – can we count on each other when it really counts – can reveal whether your team is colluding for mediocrity or collaborating for greatness.
David Hain's insight:

Some ways to tell genuine collaboration form the various 'plastic' types.

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The Key to Any Collaboration Is…

The Key to Any Collaboration Is… | Collaborationweb | Scoop.it
I know of a global organization where people are hired for their technical expertise, not their interpersonal skills. When a key team started to have a lot of friction and constantly missed deadlines, they brought in a leadership coach for the leader of that team. The coach found that the leader was only focused on his own perspective of what was going wrong with the team. He had no sense of what people on the team thought or felt.

He never tried to learn how they saw things, let alone get to know them. What this leader lacked was skill at teamwork, a competency of emotional intelligence. 
David Hain's insight:

All of us are smarter than any of us! Goleman on collaboration.

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The continuum - where are you now?

The continuum - where are you now? | Collaborationweb | Scoop.it
In The Neo-Generalist, Kenneth Mikkelsen and I explore how those with a preference for polymathic generalism nevertheless find themselves in constant and restless motion, responding and adapting to context. We illustrate our argument with stories drawn from interviewees, historical figures, business, activism, science, sport, the military, art and popular culture.
David Hain's insight:

How we define ourselves and the contribution we make changes with time and context. A helpful framework for self-analysis and meaning making from one of the authors of 'The Neo-Generalist'.

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Ian Berry's curator insight, February 12, 9:49 PM
I love the continuum diagram and reckon its probably more than venn
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Dr. Russell Ackoff, Design is the Answer —

Dr. Russell Ackoff, Design is the Answer — | Collaborationweb | Scoop.it
“We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them”
— Albert Einstein
Like Einstein, Ackoff thrived on creative thinking and would constantly shift boundaries to reframe problems, including the problem of problems and problem solving. How very meta of him.

He explained his thinking so beautifully, when he said, “a problem is to reality what an atom is to a table. People experience tables not atoms”. We experience the whole, and reality is a whole mess of problems interacting simultaneously. “Reality is a system of problems”.

So, if problems are just interacting concepts which create reality, the real question we should be asking ourselves is not how can we solve this problem? But, how can we change our reality?
David Hain's insight:

The late, great Russell Ackoff on systems thinking applied to problem solving.

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The Myth of The Learning Organisation

The Myth of The Learning Organisation | Collaborationweb | Scoop.it
If you really want a Learning Organisation you must build the capacity to change the internal dialogue. It is dialogue that has created who we are and only a change in our dialogue will change that. To change the dialogue means much more than changing the topic of conversation, you’ll rarely manage that over any period of time. (Networks will decide on their topic of conversation based on their sense of identity.) Instead the route is to change the relationships within and between networks, across silos and across the organisational boundary. This is not the crude and crass ‘cut and paste’ of organisational restructures. This is a qualitative change in how people are in relationship with each other, how they decide what matters, how they respond to new information and new people.

When you are prepared to embark on this you rapidly uncover deep learning. Kurt Lewin said that you never really understand a system until you try to change it. As you begin to try and change things, you provoke a reaction from people’s sense of organisational identity that tells you where the real work lies. Your first attempts at change are never successful in anything more than pointing you at where you really need to do your work. Too often at that point we step away feeling our job is done. This is never short work and nor is it for the faint of heart. (That is why large advisory companies and strategy consultancies never follow such processes, the real work takes place over time, within the organisation, not amongst an army of paid hired-hands.) But it is the route to lasting and sustainable change that can create an identity capable of adapting in symbiosis with a changing environment. If you want a sustainable organisation then qualitative change in the internal dialogue is the way to grow it.

David Hain's insight:

Really good piece on why learning organisation work rarely grew sustainable roots, and what to do to make it really lasting and meaningful. H/T Celine Schillinger.

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Ian Berry's curator insight, February 2, 4:25 PM
Love the premise of changing the internal dialogue and this "To change the dialogue means much more than changing the topic of conversation, you’ll rarely manage that over any period of time. (Networks will decide on their topic of conversation based on their sense of identity.) Instead the route is to change the relationships within and between networks, across silos and across the organisational boundary. This is not the crude and crass ‘cut and paste’ of organisational restructures. This is a qualitative change in how people are in relationship with each other, how they decide what matters, how they respond to new information and new people."
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perpetual beta 2017

perpetual beta 2017 | Collaborationweb | Scoop.it
“More and more, the unit of comprehension is going to be group comprehension, where you simply have to rely on a team of others because you can’t understand it all yourself. There was a time, oh, I would say as recently as, certainly as the 18th century, when really smart people could aspire to having a fairly good understanding of just about everything … Well that’s the fragility, the hyper-fragility of civilisation right there. We could all be bounced back into the 19th century.” —Daniel Dennett
David Hain's insight:

Why collaborative skills, and a clear map of when to  apply them, are already hugely important; and will only become more so. Excellent landscape summary from Harold Jarche. 

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Deal with the system as a whole please - Cognitive Edge

Deal with the system as a whole please - Cognitive Edge | Collaborationweb | Scoop.it

Reductionism in human thinking goes back to the early atomism of the Greeks and in a real sense we have never really shaken it off!  The idea is that you solve a problem by breaking it down into smaller parts, solving the small problems then putting it all back together again.  Workshop techniques do the same sort of thing; breaking things up, sending people to separate rooms then aggregating the results from multiple sets of butcher paper.

Aggregation is the corollary of reductionism and it is the common approach to both scaling and integration.  Putting things together in wider constructs based on defined interfaces or formal links.   All of this harks back to my earlier concerns in this series about categorisation, putting things into boxes and then fitting them together like a jigsaw.  Often the jigsaw pieces are simply forced together in the manner of a five year old who has not yet acquired the spacial awareness to do anything more subtle.   

Now the real problem with all of this is that aggregation and reduction is fine if you have a highly constrained system.  However if we shift to a complex one then the properties of the system as a whole is not the sum of the parts but are unique to the system as a whole.   So if we want to scale capabilities we can’t just add them together.   I’ve already written on scaling in a series of posts (final one here) so I won’t repeat that.   However there are some key stages we need to go through if we are integrating different or even similar things:

David Hain's insight:

The world isn't as simple as we would like to make it. Wise words on the dangers of reductionism and aggregation from the author of the Cynefin framework.

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Curated by David Hain
People and Change consultant, 25 years experience in Organisation Development. Executive coach. Very experienced facilitator and team developer.