Posted: November 21, 2011 by Wildcat in Uncategorized

The Cynefin (pronounced /ˈkʌnɨvɪn/) framework is a model used to describe problems, situations and systems. The model provides a typology of contexts that guides what sort of explanations and/or solutions may apply. Cynefin is a Welsh word, which is commonly translated into English as ‘habitat’ or ‘place’, although this fails to convey its full meaning. A more complete translation of the word would be that it conveys the sense that we all have multiple pasts of which we can only be partly aware: cultural, religious, geographic, tribal etc. The term was chosen by the Welsh scholar Dave Snowden to illustrate the evolutionary nature of complex systems, including their inherent uncertainty. The name is a reminder that all human interactions are strongly influenced and frequently determined by our experiences, both through the direct influence of personal experience, and through collective experience, such as stories or music.

The Cynefin framework draws on research into complex adaptive systems theory, cognitive science, anthropology and narrative patterns, as well as evolutionary psychology. It “explores the relationship between man, experience and context”[1] and proposes new approaches to communication, decision-making, policy-making and knowledge management in complex social environments.

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