This short clip sees Dave Snowden of Cognitive Edge use the metaphor of a childrens party to present three different kinds of systems, and the organisational approaches relevant to each. His delivery is typically insightful and acerbic.

FYI Dave ran a meeting in 2008 for the aid & complexity community, and will also be keynote speaker at the forthcoming Innovation Dialogue in Waginengen.

Join the conversation! 3 Comments

  1. nice satire on academic double-speak ..

  2. I am half interested and half worried by David Snowden’s langauge, in what I have read elsewhere. My worry is that it is no more than “old wine in new bottles”, that the process of re-labelling what people do with complexity theory jargon is not actually adding any value to what we understand or how we do things. My hope is that in the Wageningen event at the end of this month David, and others, prove me wrong.


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About Ben Ramalingam

I am a researcher and writer specialising on international development and humanitarian issues. I am currently working on a number of consulting and advisory assignments for international agencies. I am also writing a book on complexity sciences and international aid which will be published by Oxford University Press. I hold Senior Research Associate and Visiting Fellow positions at the Institute of Development Studies, the Overseas Development Institute, and the London School of Economics.


Facilitation, Knowledge and learning, Organisations