• The Strategic Complexity Framework – for Dummies

    by  • June 26, 2010 • Everything Else • 5 Comments

    I recently pestered my friend Noah Raford to summarize his understanding of Cynefin and complexity in a single page document. Noah called it the Strategic Complexity Framework.

    I, being still a bit dyslexic, can never keep the “simple, complicated, complex, chaotic” thing from Dave Snowdon‘s Cynefin framework straight in my head. And I think about complexity as having three domains (but that’s another story.)

    So I’ve taken advantage of open licensing to produce a version of Noah’s Strategic Complexity Framework, called the Strategic Complexity Framework… for Dummies.

    A translation guide:
    Simple (= Simple): put stuff in boxes.
    Hard (= Complicated): build a rocket ship.
    Fickle (= Complex): weather, economy, farming.
    Borked (= Chaotic): war zones, collapses, volcanos.

    There’s a ton of great work out there on the background to all of these models, but I have conveniently filed knobs off. Simple!

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    Vinay Gupta is a consultant on disaster relief and risk management.


    5 Responses to The Strategic Complexity Framework – for Dummies

    1. July 13, 2010 at 11:24 am

      Shouldn’t that be

      Hard (= Complicated): build a rocket ship.


    2. July 13, 2010 at 8:30 pm

      Yes, thank you, fixed!

    3. Pingback: The Bucky-Gandhi Design Institution › New word: degovernancing

    4. Chris Naden
      December 10, 2011 at 8:33 am

      I have no idea if I’m likely to get a response when I cam so late to the table, but; Vinay, the calculation I’m used to for the 10,000 hours, coming from historical analysis of craft guild systems that generate true master craftsmen, is 7 years. My guess is that you came up with 5 because you operate in a paradigm that is extremely productive on a day by day basis, more so than the apprenticeship system.

      To what extent is this also reflecting improvements in extelligence technology, making acquisition much easier?

    5. Nicholas Westbury
      February 16, 2012 at 9:57 am

      Interesting, but…

      Other than the ecological / resilience view of cyclical state change (noting that resilience literature talks about states, transitions with tendencies and non-linear tipping-points that are also a variable – therefore the flow around the figure of eight is not Pre-ordained or Pre-determined, but can be said on a macro-scale of ecological time to have ‘occurred’. Further, I’m not aware that the ecological / resilience literature states categorically that when a system enters a transition state from passing over a tipping point, that that transition is in the order you’ve presupposed, or that it must go through all states.) incorporated with the Cynefin framework, what additional information does this provide over the Cynefin framework?

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