Tom Atlee: Simplicity, Complicatedness, Complexity, Chaos – and Transformation

Cultural Intelligence
Tom Atlee

Simplicity, Complicatedness, Complexity, Chaos – and Transformation

The Cynefin framework is a quadrant model addressing the nature of situations and how we can appropriately address different levels of uncertainty. (Check out the visuals at Wikipedia or look for images through Google.) Its four quadrants are:


* SIMPLE – This situation is governed by straightforward A
->B causality that we can get a grip on.

* COMPLICATED – This situation has lots of pieces we can understand if we study and solve them well.

* COMPLEX – This situation involves innumerable interacting factors and emergent phenomena we need to “dance” with.

* CHAOTIC – Instead of order, this situation presents us with radical uncertainty, serious challenges, and real danger.

The Cynefin model also has a central realm (where the axes cross) labeled DISORDER, which refers to situations where we don’t yet know which of the four quadrants we should use to address it, so we need to sort that out as our first step.

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