Mistakes I’ve made a few

On the Cognitive Edge SenseMaker training this week, Steve Bealing showed us a project containing several flaws in both design and application. In hindsight I think this was a brilliant way for us to learn what to do and what to avoid. Negative stories are much more memorable and I can clearly remember each error that was made whereas for details and features I will need to refer to my notes.  In a tribute to this I would like to share three of my negative learning points using Cognitive Edge techniques:

1. Ambiguity – After several successful Anecdote Circles I began to get cocky and yet at one event about three years ago developing a Service Culture I had a massive failure.

All of the hexagons representing the groups perspectives began to contain very literal material ie ‘she told us about a building society’ and ‘the garage mechanic was very rude”. I suddenly realised that I had asked them to write down “what they heard” not my usual (and very ambiguous) “what they get” from that anecdote. One simple word changed and my hope for morals, meanings and messages was scuppered.

2. Why Bother – about 18 months ago I was asked to facilitate an internal ‘archetype revealing workshop’ to identify the different user types to help plan the tranistion over to our IS/IT service Provider. I invited a wide range of different staff and we had six members of the IS/IT provider. I can tell, in hindsight, from the photographs of the event that the Service Providers were never really engaged in the Future backwards session and subsequent patterning and clustering of characters, characteristics and finally archetypes. As we finished with six, what I thought extremely seful archetypes the Service Providers were quick to start their denouncement of the process and the outcome. “Tells us nothing new”, “could have predicted that from the start”, ” waste of time really” they chipped in. Hard to believe they were from the same organisation that helped develop these methods in the first place. I remember telling Dave and he said that when anyone says this to him he challenges them next time, that if they can predict the outcome then they don’t have to pay.

3. Location Location Location – At least seven times now I have found myself in a totally inappropriate room for a Cognitive Edge workshop. Seven separate breakout rooms at every corner of the hotel (I got lost twice running back and forth monitoring progress). No suitable walls for post-its or any paper. One room with a huge board room table in the centre etc etc. It was partly for this reason that I developed my card based hexxies so that they can be placed, shuffled and patterned on any table or floor space. So my advice is – as you prepare make sure you check out or stipulate your room requirements clearly.

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