Cynefin Sense-Making Framework…a model for decision-making

In research and in management, we are solving problems.  As we know, not all problems are created equal.  There are many different approaches to many different problems.  A fascinating method for thinking about problem-solving is the Cynefin Sense-Making Framework developed by Professor David Snowden. 

This framework divides problems into two broad categories:  ordered and unordered.  The ordered category is further divided into Simple and Complicated problems.  Unordered is divided into Complex and Chaotic. 

  1. Simple problems are cause and effect related and generally have direct solutions. 
  2. Complicated problems exist in a complex environment where the actual solution is not obvious and requires an expert to discipher and solve.
  3. Complex problems exist in a constantly changing environment where cause and effect are impossible to determine.
  4. Chaotic problems are those that happen rapidly denying decision makers time to analyze and evaluate. 

Deloitte applied this Framework to the problem of Mine Safey in South Africa.  The resulting report is a wonderful explanation of the Framework as well as a case study in its application.  You can find the report at:

Quant vs. Qual: A Good Basic Comparison (SigmaSurveys)

Sun, 25th January, 2009 – Posted by Adam

This article highlights the differences between qualitative and quantitative research, inherently showing the advantages and disadvantages of each method. It’s very similar in concept to the previous article of Primary versus Secondary Data.

What is Qualitative Research:
Research involving detailed, verbal descriptions of characteristics, cases, and settings. Qualitative research typically uses observation, interviewing, and document review to collect data.

Narratives: Storytelling as a Research Art

Leap into Narratives

Narratives, or storytelling, allow research participants to tell their story in an unstructured way that releases them from our structured questionning that sometimes suppresses key findings.  Such “unstructure” can lead to powerful, unexpected insights.  During narratives the participant expresses him/herself in ways that are unconventional and revealing of context, behaviour, relationships and emotions.  The researcher must employ a research design that gives the participant such freedom of expression yet creates a structure for collecting the narratives for later analysis.  Only after the narratives are collected is the process subjected to the rigor of analysis necessary to mine the deeper insights often divulged through storytelling narratives. 

Research World Logo.jpgResearch World published an interesting article on narratives in its November, 2008 edition.  That article can be found at



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