Postcards from the Edge

Experiment04 Postcards from the Edge

Biggest Anecdote Circle.

anecdoteThis was my naive approach to Anecdote Circles where I believed then that it was more important to get convergence by everyone than to allow everyone the space to engage and make sense together. This was the Cumbria Team in Kendal, when I worked at English Nature and ran a series of 26 separate anecdote circles to explore ‘Customer Service’ by encouraging them to share their anecdotal experiences, capture ‘what they got’ from each story,  then to make sense of the patterns that emerged. 28 participants.

Biggest Cynefin Framework

cynefin bigThis was my facilitation of the wrap up learning at KMUK 2011 in London. A huge cynefin framework used to capture the participants lessons to make sense of whether they were Simple: Complicated : Complex or (at least 2) Chaotic.

Biggest Future Backwards

backwardsMore an outcome of my workshop than a direct output. After I had facilitated the lessons learned review of the recent Bee Campaign for Friends of the Earth they have printed and created this timeline of their achievements in the new social space of their new HQ in London.

The Benefits of Lessons Learned


I had one of my regular skype calls with Ron Young and the Knowledge Associates Team on Monday to review and share what we know about ‘Lessons Learned’. We shared our experiences and discussed what would we might advise others.

It dawned on me afterwards that the whole reason for carrying out safe to fail experiments when your situation is uncertain (in the cynefin Complex domain) is not just to find out what works, but to probe the situation, cause an action or reaction of some sort and gain knowledge in the form of the feedback you receive. Hence you have ‘learned a lesson’.

Where you are gaining knowledge in the specific business area that you have chosen to focus your work in, this effectively becomes knowledge that you can apply to your Strategic advantage as your competitors may not have such knowledge.

I love Ron’s story that Ernst & Young had told him, during a collaborative project, that they would often turn down work if it did not involve them gaining new knowledge. So:

“will I gain new knowledge (learn new lessons) from this project?”

should be a key question when assessing a new project, if learning, resilience and sustainability is important to you.

With unbelievable timing and serendipity, I was clearing out my office and came across a couple of my ‘experiments’. I have very rarely used explicit feedback sheets at the end of workshops. At one workshop a few years ago, for a huge international client, I was asked to facilitate a ‘Lessons Learned’ workshop after a big project bid. At the end of the workshop, I handed out, what I called at the time ‘Workshop Satisfaction Sheets’ and as an experiment, to get the client to self-realise the importance of such a workshop, I added a box that asked:

“How much money could the organisation save if all the lessons discussed today were heeded?”

I will let you self-realise the benefits of running such a workshop from the following selection of returns… [click on the image to enlarge]

lessons in a million


#TRIZ Trends at a beer festival

Experiment02 TRIZ Trends at a Beer FestivalClick on the flyer above to read more clearly.

The proceedings of the day will be summarised as a Slide Show and published on Slideshare as soon after the event as possible.

Seasoned KM and Innovation professionals may want to combine this event with the preceding ecology of knowledge masterclass plus  beer festival the day before on Tuesday 19th August.

Anyone staying on after 17:30 to watch bands and eat more german sausages will not be the responsibility of Ecology of Knowledge.


So where is the evidence?


Whenever I see a company that describes itself working with Innovation, I always ask myself:


so where is the evidence for your innovative ideas?

Whenever I meet an individual who espouses the benefits of communities, trust and relationships, I always ask myself:


so where is the evidence for you socialising?

Whenever I see the cynefin framework being discussed, I always ask myself:


so where is the evidence of multiple safe to fail experiments especially the oblique and the naïve?

So I have set myself a challenge as from 1st July 2014 to answer all three questions and provide the evidence in this blog.


The new Laboratory Tab above will contain all experiments while the individual blog posts will provide a flavour and a narrative.


Please note that all the ‘experiments’ that follow are all intended as real offerings, usual contact details if you are interested…


story collider

Story Collider – Phase Transitions

It all began when I saw a request on Twitter by Brian Wecht for storytellers in London. I am in one of those strange periods of my life where I search out new experiences and challenges so I replied offering my services.

Thats how I discovered  Story Collider, a storytelling project, both onstage and online, in which scientists and people affected by science recount short, often funny, sometimes disturbing experiences, mostly in front of audiences, cabaret-style.

With a growing reputation across the world I found this article in the New York Times in which Ben Lillie (the other founder with Brian) explains:

How does science affect who we are as people? How does it play a role in our lives? Brian and I met up at a storytelling event and got to talking about new ways to address those questions when we had a mutual “duh” moment. How do you get people to talk about the role of science in their lives? Ask them to tell the story. And do it on a stage in front of a hundred people. What can go wrong?

How indeed! So I have joined the group of six who will be sharing our stories at the  The Book Club, Shoreditch, London, UK, June 25th, 2014.

Show starts at 7:30 pm (doors open at 7).

Book a ticket here. See who is appearing here.

facilitating homo narrans towards an emergent Sustainocene future


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