Professor Dave Snowden

  • Program


Dave Snowden divides his time between two roles: founder Chief Scientific Officer of Cognitive Edge and the founder and Director of the Centre for Applied Complexity at Bangor University in Wales  His work is international in nature and covers government and industry looking at complex issues relating to strategy, organisational decision making and decision making.  He has pioneered a science based approach to organisations drawing on anthropology, neuroscience and complex adaptive systems theory. He is a popular and passionate keynote speaker on a range of subjects, and is well known for his pragmatic cynicism and iconoclastic style.

He previously worked for IBM where he was a Director of the Institution for Knowledge Management and founded the Cynefin Centre for Organisational Complexity; during that period he was selected by IBM as one of six on-demand thinkers for a world wide advertising campaign. Prior to that he worked in a range of strategic and management roles in the service sector.

His company Cognitive Edge exists to integrate academic thinking with practice in organisations throughout the world and operates on a network model working with Academics, Government, Commercial Organisations, NGOs and Independent Consultants. He is also the main designer of the SenseMaker® software suite, originally developed in the field of counter terrorism and now being actively deployed in both Government and Industry to handle issues of impact measurement, customer/employee insight, narrative based knowledge management, strategic foresight and risk management.

The Conference starts on May 1st

Conference Keynote: Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue …

Presenter: Dave Snowden

The old wedding rhyme provides a basic structure to look how we make decisions under conditions of uncertainty; from strategic direction to operational decisions relating to software testing.  The presentation will combine insights from the natural sciences to provide a mixture of theory and practice that will challenge conventional thinking.  Complexity science deals with systems with inherent uncertainty, where specific outcomes cannot be forecast and risk needs to be managed in different ways.  Measuring attitudes to quality is more effective than compliance measure, the former being a lead indicator, the latter a retrospective measure.  For human society experience, heuristics and abductive thinking all arise from apprentice models of learning; practices are context specific not context free and do not respond well to the type of engineering approaches associated with systems thinking which has dominated the last few decades.

Tuesday Masterclass: A leader’s framework for decision making: managing complex projects using Cynefin

Presenter: Dave Snowden

While IT practitioners value simplicity, most of their organizations struggle to maximize the amount of work not done as business environments and product ecosystems become increasingly complex and unpredictable. Many organizations have decided to adopt Agile to become more responsive to changing and uncertain conditions. However, these organizations need more than a set of recipes or ‘best practices’ to fundamentally transform their culture.


In this masterclass, explore novel methods and tools applying principles of complexity and sense-making to radically increase diversity of perspective in project planning to reduce risks. The Cynefin framework will be introduced along with the series of techniques that focus on lessons learning rather than lessons learnt.


The Cynefin framework has now been used around the world in contexts as diverse as the boardrooms of international fashion houses, software development teams and SWAT teams on the city streets. Decision-makers have applied it across all levels of organization and in almost every industry. The Cynefin Framework helps practitioners to effectively select, adapt, and deploy methods and practices across different environments with various degrees of uncertainty.




  • An introduction to Complexity Thinking – and its implications for leadership & management
  • Cynefin – emerging, contextualizing and applying Cynefin
  • Designing Safe-to-Fail experiments
  • Stimulate beneficial self-organization within managed constraints
  • Explore methods of storing and sharing knowledge on distributed basis, peer to peer


Finally, a new collaborative project on software testing will be introduced to delegates.



Buy ticket NOW

Copyright © 2017 - Yana Grafchikova


  • Program
  • Program
  • Program
  • Program
The Conference starts on May 1st