I recently heard a talk on managing complexity which made good use of the Cynefin model (pronounced Kin-eh-vin) originally developed by Dave Snowden. I'm told that Dave was always at great pains to say it isn't a simple 2x2 model. But now, by incorporating something about the brain, I'm going to modify it to make it exactly that. Sorry Dave!
The horizontal dimension is about the predictability of the environment - predictable at one end and unpredictable at the other. Without defining the other dimension, Dave produced a model which had four domains (plus the central area as a fifth domain).
My insight when listening to the talk was to realise that the other dimension was all about the type of thinking needed - whether it needs to be "Fast" or "Slow" (per Daniel Kahneman). At one end we have pure Fast (System 1) thinking. At the other we have not just Slow (System 2) thinking, but both Fast AND Slow - ie a mindful approach. My new version of this model is therefore shown below:
So the mechanisms for approaching each environment appropriately are our usual ones involving awareness and mind management:
(a) be aware of your internal state (Is this a time to keep your System 2 on - ie be mindful?)
(b) recognise the predictability of the situation (Is it full of "problems" or are they "dilemmas"?)
Very pleased to have been reminded of a neat model - please google it to find out more...