#Change11 Traineeship Programs and Cynefin Framework based on Dave Snowden – Part 1

In this report by Apollo Research Institute:

Key Findings

We chose to highlight six drivers—big, disruptive shifts that are likely to reshape the landscape for organizations and workers. Although each driver is in itself important when thinking about the future, it is the confluence of several drivers working together that produces true disruptions. We then identified 10 skills that we believe will be vital for success in the workforce:

  • Sense-making: ability to determine the deeper meaning or significance of what is being expressed
  • Social intelligence: ability to connect to others in a deep and direct way, to sense and stimulate reactions and desired interactions
  • Novel and adaptive thinking: proficiency at thinking and coming up with solutions and responses beyond that which is rote or rule-based
  • Cross-cultural competency: ability to operate in different cultural settings
  • Computational thinking: ability to translate vast amounts of data into abstract concepts and to understand data-based reasoning
  • New media literacy: ability to critically assess and develop content that uses new media forms, and to leverage these media for persuasive communication
  • Transdisciplinarity: literacy in and ability to understand concepts across multiple disciplines
  • Design mindset: ability to represent and develop tasks and work processes for desired outcomes
  • Cognitive load management: ability to discriminate and filter information for importance, and to understand how to maximize cognitive functioning using a variety of tools and techniques
  • Virtual collaboration: ability to work productively, drive engagement, and demonstrate presence as a member of a virtual team

I have been reflecting on the emphasis of skills sets and units of competency as defined in the “training packages” which are designed by the industry, for the industry.  To what extent are these units of competency embracing the above 10 skills?  Based on my experience and observation, and expectation from employers and trainees, I do think some of the skills mentioned could be “too remote” from their immediate work needs, and thus hard to be anchored at a traineeship or apprenticeship level.  However, it may be the future skills set for the “knowledge workers”, and these are all based on a raising of goal post, that the workers need to achieve.  Are these skills vital for success in the workforce?  May be those are the ideal skills for more advanced workers or managers.  Here I am not sure what it would translate into, when we are also emphasising literacy at work.

Are these 10 skills more aligned with higher order education and learning rather than the vocational education and training?

To what extent is such apprenticeship model effective in higher education?

I was also drawn into the concepts about creativity and education here where she says: “My understanding of the theory he follows is that humans react to cause and effect situations through simplistic, complicated, complex or chaotic thinking drawing on environmental cues, cultural nuances and/or past experiences while always dealing with uncertainty.”

Here is an extract from Youtube:

The Cynefin Framework is central to Cognitive Edge methods and tools. It allows executives to see things from new viewpoints, assimilate complex concepts, and address real-world problems and opportunities. Using the Cynefin framework can help executives sense which context they are in so that they can not only make better decisions but also avoid the problems that arise when their preferred management style causes them to make mistakes.

Cynefin, pronounced kuh-nev-in, is a Welsh word that signifies the multiple factors in our environment and our experience that influence us in ways we can never understand.

In this video, Dave Snowden introduces the Cynefin Framework with a brief explanation of its origin and evolution and a detailed discussion of its architecture and function. Details of Dave’s regular one-day seminars entitled “The Cynefin Seminar” can be found here http://cognitive-edge.com/cynefin-seminar.php .

In reflection, I found Dave’s Cynefin framework sound and rich with empirical evidences to support its proven success.  I have also reflected on how it relates to learning in a complex learning environment such as MOOC.

The challenges in applying this framework in real work setting could be:

(a) To what extent would executives be able to see things from new viewpoints, assimilate complex concepts, and address real-world problems and opportunities?  This is similar to some extent in asking people to learn in a complex network and be able to have an open mind to accept both views of agreement and those of dissent.  This is really easier said than done, especially when there are strong power elements inherent in open networks which could lessen the control exercised in a governed environment.   A balance between openness and constraints is often not easy to achieve.

(b) How to adapt the framework to  align with the cultures of institutions, in terms of vision and mission?  Given that most institutions have their own vision and mission, and their cultures at work, it is relatively challenging, to adopt a mindset different from the “mainstream” current cultures at work.  For instance, during the last decade, there has been an emphasis of risk management to ensure a proper governance at work and to determine the level of risk, and to mitigate risks which are high (requiring action by executive) as it has potential to be damaging to the organisation or project) or extreme (requiring immediate action, as it has potential to be devastating to the organisation or project).

(c) Is the framework responsive to changes in open/closed environment?  So, it is imperative to check the assumptions behind any motive to changes – when one considers the adoption of certain forms of work or learning from simple to complicated scenarios, or from complicated to complex scenarios.  One such example could be the complete change from a closed walled face-to-face teaching (which could be a complicated scenario) to a completely open virtual online teaching ( which could be a complex scenario).  The challenges with such change may be exponential when it is introduced to lower levels of teaching environment in schools like K-6, where privacy, personal security, safety and equity could be of great concern.  So, open education and learning would likely be highly governed and constrained in such cases.  Do this explain why some educators prefer home schooling, where there could still be some controls over the education and learning, especially for kids with special talents or needs?

To this end, Paul has summarised here on his understanding on the Complexity Model.

I will continue the exploration in Part 2 of a future post.

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