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What is Cynefin Framework?

Cynefin (pronounced "kuh-nev-in") is a framework for understanding and making decisions in complex, uncertain, and rapidly changing environments. Developed by Dave Snowden, a Welsh researcher and consultant, the Cynefin framework helps individuals and organizations navigate complexity and make sense of their world.

The Cynefin framework categorizes problems into five domains: simple, complicated, complex, chaotic, and disorder. Each domain requires a different approach to problem-solving and decision-making.

  • Clear: In the simple domain, cause and effect relationships are clear and can be easily understood. Solutions can be determined through best practices or standard operating procedures.

  • Complicated: In the complicated domain, there may be multiple possible solutions, but they require expert analysis and technical knowledge to determine the best option.

  • Complex: In the complex domain, cause and effect relationships are not always clear, and outcomes may be unpredictable. Experimentation, collaboration, and emergence are key approaches to problem-solving.

  • Chaotic: In the chaotic domain, there is no clear cause and effect relationship, and immediate action is necessary to stabilize the situation. Crisis management and rapid response are key approaches in this domain.

  • Confusion: This was formaly called disordered in prior versions of the framework. In the confusion domain, it is unclear which of the other domains the problem falls into. Sense-making and identifying patterns are necessary to move the problem into one of the other domains.

The Cynefin framework is used in various industries, including healthcare, finance, and government, to help individuals and organizations make better decisions in complex and uncertain situations.

Learn more...


Dave Snowden's Children's Party Video talking about the diffrent domains


Book on Cynefin

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