Saturday, May 10, 2014

A new chapter.

Sitting in Denmark, with a new vertical axis wind turbine of 70kw halfway built, helps perspective on several levels.

O=∑Rt Perspectives on sustainable resilient business

By seeing a business or organisation as the sum of its relationships to the power of the trust in the relationships, we unlock the door on a new perspective that helps visualisation, interaction and thinking around the new paradigm.

A sustainable resilient organisation needs to reach a new dimension of being and thinking - complexity and change are a constant, so the capacity to enable the collective brain or intelligence to function and to create a space where emergence is perceived, is one of the elements of the new paradigm.

The resonant wavelengths can be found in the four dimension model that emerges from this perspective. These are the keys to emergent energy which fuels growth, and if we consider the whole as an organism then we begin to see how organic are thinking and interventions need to be.

The first reflection is that an organism has distinct cycles of growth, maturity and death, all of which happen in Business. Isn't the challenge to celebrate and navigate these organic cycles?

Navigation is one of the systemic intervention types, a new skill for most, for use in complex contexts. Identifying and following the energy topographies.

 more later

Tuesday, March 19, 2013


i'm a turn around guy, been doing it for years; i work through story for four reasons.
A) They are sticky, a good story teller takes you with them and makes you part of the story; they are remembered long after numbers or theory have faded, and we've been telling stories for longer than we can remember, as a way of learning/teaching.
B) The story of a companies identity is the key, people attach themselves to this and it becomes a shared story. If its broke, as in my work, nothing will happen until its fixed. Remember a system is the sum of its relationships to the power of the trust in those relationships, story is the explicit form of relationships, and the relationship with identity is fundamental to any complex humans systems DNA or culture if you prefer.
c)If you recognise various systemic contexts (see you will see that in complex space, story can be used both as a diagnostic - narrative analysis - and as an intervention tool in various forms; indeed it is one of the tolls suited to the emergent methods required under complex conditions.
d) By definition then story is a non linear form which is impossible to quantify, however if you use one of the large story capture systems, Sense maker for example, it allows you to quantify the degree of relevance and occurrence of the archetypes of a system, and in real time story analysis this can give good non linear feed back to track both diagnosis and interventions.
Finally story tracking enables you to find out what is going on without asking questions, see the observer paradox in quantum mechanics, because if a system is in a predominantly complex state, small things like questions, can have bigger unintended consequences and be unintentional interventions in themselves, with all the consequences.

So you see you need to come at story through a new perspective, and ask people to tell you stories about how they use story, because your linear analytical approach (i.e. looking for the answer) may end up with you listening to your own voice, and not whats really going on.
Your size and sector analysis is irrelevant as story is part of human identity everywhere, and the use of it will be driven by those companies that have found it useful in complex conditions, which is difficult to establish through your single answer questions.

If this doesn't help, then your brain has already filtered it out - so no harm is done.
Yours with a story to tell
Julian Still

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Systemics ... the Final Frontier

Systemics... the Final Frontier. These are the voyages of the systemic practitioner J.R.Still. His continuing mission to explore & help strange new systems. To seek out new tools and understanding, to boldly go where no one has gone before.

Captain's log, stardate 0902.2012.1900. A talk to the people of the FOAM Galaxy, they seem to speak complexity and systems thinking, more research is required in their grasp of emergence, relationship mapping and constellations. The Cynefin story continues.....

Friday, November 04, 2011

Mail to mannaz on their requirements for Global Leadership requirements

Dear Mannaz,
i have been in the fringes of your organisation for nearly five years, waiting for evolution to turn the next corner.
I am mostly rejected by Mannaz peole as being to unconventional, difficult and challenging.
If now is the time to embrace some leading edge thinking and new tools emerging in the world of global leadership then i would be happy to talk.
I aplaud and support your list or requirements in Global leadership facilitation. In itself it is a challenge for the entrained thinkers and linearly trained managers that populate the majority of businessnes around the world.
The leading edge of the next generation of these requirements throws down an even bigger challenge.
Ways of thinking will soon be seen as a requirement; Many words have been said on systems thinking, but that's only the beginning. Systemic thinking brings together systems,complexity and learning.
Next up will be an understanding of cognitive processes, at its heart cognitive filters, and the systemic nature of the relationship between Intellect, emotion, the physical body and the spritual dimension.
Finally the next generation of tools requires a new set of skills; collective - distributed thinking and decision making, self organising systems, collective emergence and organic and systemic maturity amongst the more important.
I understand the notion of patience,resonance and attractors so hopefully i will still be available to talk, when you are ready.

Wednesday, May 04, 2011


This is a blog on the systemic perspective of the Belgium political crisis, and a re-awakening of this blog.
I'll translate it if anyone is interested?


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Thursday, October 13, 2005

Dave snowden on complexity in IT development(Cynefin)

The technology question: Demand, Supply or Co-evolution
Only 1 message in topic - view as tree

This post summarises for me Daves approach and thinking on this topic, the whole idea of enabling conditions can be taken much further.

From: [] On Behalf Of
Dave Snowden
Sent: Wednesday, 12 October 2005 9:01 PM
Subject: [act-km] The technology question: Demand, Supply or Co-evolution

Maybe it would be helpful to think about enabling conditions rather than
drivers and about a different view of the traditional concepts of supply and
demand. My own work on strategy (and on the development of related software
tools) is increasingly making a distinction in scenario planning between
causal events and enabling events. The normal de facto position is to
create a string of events on the assumption that early events caused the
following event, in practice it is often the case that a certain event made
many other events possible, but the one that happened is then assumed to be
"caused". It's a western concept, this desire to see a reason for things,
most eastern philosophies have the concept of a non-causal system in which
some things just "are" which ironically

If we look at the development of KM in the mid and late nineties then I
think it is true to say that one of the enabling events was the growth of
collaborative technologies. Lotus Notes took the early lead in this and was
(and is) to my mind one of the outstanding collaborative tools.
Unfortunately whoever became responsible for its strategy focused on
competing with Microsoft as an e-mail package, rather than making the case
for "many to many" rather than "one to one" communication. As a result
Notes development and sales/marketing strategy suffered accordingly and of
recent years its decline is becoming self evident. E-mail is now the
antithesis of a productivity tool. The internet itself as active business
tool is to all intents and purposes less than ten years old and anyone with
any knowledge of history will know that you cannot assume that things will
carry on "as is": scalability is not infinitely extendible, things change
and can often change very quickly.

That leads me to the main point. Technology creates the possibilities for
things that we have not thought of before. The earliest ever commercial
computer was used to store the telephone directory of an American city (IBM
1954 and IBM announced a world market for 6 computers), we then moved over
the next 40 years into a DEMAND led use of technology in which existing
manual systems were computerized. The methods of system design and project
management grew out of this period of known need and we have been suffering
from that history in recent times in that such approaches slow down
development when the need is not fully known. In the eighties we started to
move into the SUPPLY period, in which technology capability led market need.
In this period it is fair to say that technology was a "driver" of KM
programmes. The dot com bust was one of the more significant indicators
(but not the only one) of the end of this period.

We are now in a CO-EVOLUTIONARY period in which business needs and
technology capability are interacting in ways that we do not fully
understand, but new applications are emerging from that evolutionary
interaction. One of the consequences of this which is little understood is
that we need to stop designing "applications" in which users say what they
want and technologists build to order, or for that matter buying standard
packages (ERP) and changing human systems to conform. We need to really
pick up something that was surfacing back in the 80's namely object
orientation. Here you design objects that receive and distribute services
and can be controlled by workflow (yes I know this is a crude statement but
it is the essence); the application then emerges from the interaction of
people and business needs with those objects.

It's a very different design strategy, and its one of the reasons why many
of us are interested in complexity science as it gives a theoretical base to
understand what is going on. One of the problems is that IT design
processes are still locked in the demand and/or supply periods. Since
leaving IBM a part of my work has been to create a new software company,
building tools based on my and colleagues ideas. It is object orientated,
but I have to stay constantly alert to developers who want me to provide
"use cases" so that they can build applications, not objects. The idea that
you start to provide general purpose software objects evolve in use is alien
to a generation trained on the inadequacies of the early days of computing.
Its also given rise to this terrible dichotomy in KM between "technology"
and "culture" when in practice the two are intertwined. In a recent book
chapter in the context of narrative Gary and I called these two extremes the
Techno-fabulists and the Art-Luddites. Those familiar with my more strident
views on the conference stage will recognize the techno-fetishists and new
age fluffy bunnies in a more academic disguise.

sense making + narrative + networks
The Cynefin Centre
David Snowden
51 Lockeridge
United Kingdom
mobile: +44 7795 437293

Saturday, July 02, 2005


Carolyn Dare convinced me that relationships formed on line (without ever meeting ech other) can be as strong and full of trust as face to face relationships.

On thursday night at the second openbc belgium event (great food from soul food for thought) the air under the Cinquantenaire arch had a buzz to it, the theme was art in business and various artists performed, displayed or mimed their art; brilliant; it must be part of what is missing from the out of balance financial wealth creating world.

Even more amazing was Milena Djekova, a famous (one of the top 5 best known) Bulgarian...
Her violin playing electrified the audience, and her energy cascaded through the room - wonderful to feel.

I'm torn between meeting new 'contacts' and catching up on existing ones, curiosity and familiarity competing. In the end i just went with the flow and spent some time with Milena and some new and older friends.

At one point i heard my self say that Milena could try 'feeling good about her body (she has pneumonia) and then her body might feel good about her', it seemed to open a 'in' channel - momentarily.

Thanks to everybody for the energy input; great.