Ron Donaldson is a knowledge ecologist and facilitator, experienced in applying Creative Problem Solving, Participatory Narrative Inquiry (PNI), Cognitive Edge and TRIZ methods.

Taking an ecological perspective enables you to focus on the communities, flow of knowledge and realisation of insights across a landscape (in this case, a narrative landscape).

The sharing of knowledge via relationships across an organisation is much more an ecology that needs to be nurtured, than a precisely defined machine that can be managed.

Ecology has at times been called the ‘subversive science’, since it subverts our egocentric insistence on separateness, and with it, our inclination to ride roughshod over the rest of the natural world.

A much more appropriate approach for the complexity of knowledge sharing and uncertainty of outcome in modern day organisations is proposed by Dave Snowden of Cognitive Edge and by Cynthia Kurtz (PNI) which is based around the use of narrative and natural sense-making.

By extending these principles, and focus, to your entire ecosystem you can generate strategic beneficial impact by way of an integrated approach to the management of Knowledge, Innovation, Change, Learning, Leadership and Decision making. Leading to Resilience, Agility, Adaptability, and of course Sustainability.

Insights derived from such a workshop need to be met with emotional engagement, so that people can find not just the reason but also the motivation to create change.

Book a Knowledge Ecology workshop now and you will:

  • create the starting conditions for new relationships and collaboration
  • explore the narrative landscape
  • remove constraints and disrupt linear thinking, to allow an anticipatory awareness of the present to emerge
  • reveal insights for decisions and actions in complex situations
  • seed, trigger and encourage creative thinking
  • amplify the positive and dampen the negative, by way of feedback
  • promote storytelling as a way to share knowledge and ideas
  • embed beneficial learning and new ideas to add greater value to your open innovation ecosystem



Accredited Cynefin practitioner since 2003. He has facilitated SenseMaker workshops for and with Dave Snowden for Children of the World, UK Govt Vets during Bird Flu and most recently The Welsh “Stories from the Valleys” project.


Ron has told his stories at conferences, in iron age houses and for Rotary Club after dinner speeches. He co-founded the PNI -Participatory Narrative Inquiry Institute with Cynthis Kurtz in 2014. He recently ran a successful series of storytelling training events for 150 Natural England staff involving ‘working with story’ and ‘storytelling as a means of communication’.


Ron has facilitated hundreds of workshops across Europe including an FP7 Aerospace contract, Pfizer, Oracle, Airbus. The format varies from conference sessions like the Natural Capital Conference in the British Library, full day workshops, sandpits, team events and project launches.


More than 21 years in Knowledge Management, Ron has designed and delivered a wide range of KM events and interventions including Lessons Learned for Friends of the Earth, Knowledge Audits of retirees and numerous KM safe-to-fail experiments at English Nature.


Graduate at Sunderland Polytechnic

1976 – 1979

2:1 Honours Combined Sciences Degree in Geology and Biology which included earliest teaching of Ecology in UK.

Systems Analyst, knowledge ecologist at English Nature

1987 – 2008

1987 – NCC
1981 – English Nature 2006 Natural England

A phase change from the certainties of systems and business analysis pre my meeting Dave Snowden in 1998, led to the current embracing of a cynefin – narrative approach since then.

Systems Analyst at HMRC

1980 – 1987

Accredited in SSADM/PRINCE. Developed Gaming Machine Licencing System for GMLC in Greenock.

knowledge ecologist at Ecology of Knowledge

2008 – Present

Sole trader running workshops for NHS, Charities, Corporations. Associate consultant of Argenta Nova, Knowledge Associates and Oxford Creativity (where he still teaches and facilitates TRIZ). Now running this business as a partnership with Yvonne Donaldson.