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Crazy Wisdom

Mar 27, 2023

Dave Snowden is the Chief Scientific Officer of Cynefin. Head of Knowledge Management for 30 years.

Author of Cynefin - Weaving Sense-Making into the Fabric of Our World (


  1. When did knowledge management start in the 90s?

    1. The ultimate disciplinary field

  2. What is intellectual capital?

    1. Intellectual property

  3. What is the anarcha book?

  4. Knowledge management is information management

  5. What is relevant knowledge?

  6. What is messy coherence?

  7. What is exaptive innovation?

  8. How do you add value to organizations?

    1. Focus

  9. What is the difference between teleological idealism and realism?

  10. What is the KM process?

    1. Find out what is keeping middle management awake at night

    2. Do not want to be a CEO pet project

  11. How do you map what a company already knows?

  12. How do you map current knowledge from the things that keep people awake at night?

  13. Where are we on the cycle now?

    1. At the early stage of the hype cycle

  14. What is complexity theory?

  15. How do you map the unknown unknowns of a company?

  16. How do you create resiliency within an organization?

  17. How do you build informal networks across the organizations?

  18. European field guide on complexity management

  19. Does getting involved with tactics take away from strategy?

  20. Trying to make the cost of virtue greater than the cost of sin?

  21. How has knowledge management changed with Covid and remote work?

  22. How do you replicate pheromones in a remote environment?

  23. What are hexis?

  24. How does knowledge transfer work?

  25. How do you make decisions that keep options open?

  26. How do you create processes that stop ambiguity?

  27. Why are stories of linear processes greatly exaggerated?

  28. How do you deal with too much information?

    1. Focus on connecting people and storing information

  29. Entangled trios with task from different groups

    1. Run that every three months

  30. Secret is not to take an information centric approached

  31. Knowledge is only ever volunteered, not conscripted

  32. We always know more than we can say and we can always say more than we can write down

  33. What is necessary ambiguity?

  34. What is the role of narrative when it connects tacit to explicit information?

  35. Narrative asks you questions that make you think differently

  36. Lessons learning rather than lessons learned

  37. 90% of knowledge is walking out the door

  38. The danger of machine learning is dumbing down how we know things


  40. Machine learning is inductive 

  41. Feed ML better training data

  42. How did you get the role at IBM at knowledge management?

  43. Institute for knowledge management at IBM

  44. IBM center for complexity studies 

  45. How do you measure knowledge management?

    1. outcome/ouput measures

      1. Fine with predictable systems

    2. Outcomes produce a perverse incentive

    3. Vector measure for intensity of effort

    4. How do you structure KPIs?

  46. What are the power dynamics of exchange?

  47. Fear of abuse is the main reason people seek knowledge in organizations

  48. Art comes before words before human language

  49. Semiotics is symbols and signs

    1. UK is the most mapped country in the world

  50. We need renaissance instead of an enlightenment

  51. What is catholic with a small c?

  52. How do knowledge processers in goods work?

  53. What are things we need to know about oral tradition?

  54. What did you learn about debating without 

  55. What is a scientific model of rationality?

  56. What do we know about how humans make decisions?

  57. Adjacent possible, the frozen 2 strategy

  58. Avoid at all costs defining KM ideals

  59. Identify 30 micromodels

  60. Putting these into a matrix with knowledge 

  61. Less about me as an expert trying to understand

  62. How do you respect human judgment?

  63. What are the wrong cognitive models?

  64. What is assemblage?

  65. How is culture inherited?

  66. What is morphic resonance?

  67. What is the connection between culture and epigenetics?

  68. Eva Djblonka books on epigenetics

    1. Eva Jablonka

  69. How does RNA change epigenetics?

  70. Do humans work at the quantum level?

  71. What do you know about quantum biology?

  72. How do you reduce things to the smallest granularity possible?

  73. What is messy coherence?

  74. Why is the internet spreading clusters of prejudice?

  75. What is an assemblage structure?

  76. What is it like to be converted catholic rather than born that way?

  77. What is the relationship between abstractions and religion?

  78. What is a poly crisis?

  79. Exaptation 

  80. How is China distributed in its decision-making?

  81. What are microsacrfices?

  82. How do you change the ideation culture?