Comparing Cynefin and Presence

As part of a series of workshops that we are trialing, we ran a Cynefin exercise last week on issues management within our department.  Viv Read from SOLA was our facilitator and she did a great job.  I asked her of the relationship between SOLA and SOL and in particular, her emphasis on the Cynefin model versus SOL’s emphasis on Presence / Theory U.  We had a great dicussion which on reflection, I thought I could simply summarise with the following. 

The great beauty of the Cynefin model is for sense-making and to differentiate between complex and ordered environments.  Its application is highly contextual and emergent.  On the other hand, the application of Presence is more to do with transformation which requires meaning to be broken down to allow for alternative conceptualisations to come through.  Cynefin does not need transformation but is a model that helps understanding of the context and the dynamics of issues over time.

Both models are useful but as with all models, only partial.  They are only a map, not the territory.

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