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Conversations are the crucible in which humans build shared understanding, engagement and intent around a problem space. And, particularly relevant to our present situation in the world, conversation brings to bear the highest human capacity for facing complexity in real time.

“The most essential responsibilities for managers…can be characterized as participation in conversations for possibilities that open new backgrounds for the conversations for action” (Winograd and Flores, Computers and Cognition)

“We know that even at the heart of production lies innovation. We know that enterprise, and societal competitive advantage is driven by knowledge. Not just in the design and delivery of products/services, but in day-to-day problem solving and decision-making processes (especially considering results and impact). We know that to mitigate the impact of complexity upon an organisation that there is a need for devolution and the empowerment of front-line personnel, the sensory receptors that enable fast reactions to the changing environment. We also know that the ability to network and collaborate is a vital component in becoming resilient against the effects of complexity. ” http://theknowledgecore.wordpress.com/2012/10/14/complexity-and-integrated-reporting-a-new-opportunity-for-km/

These are the indicators that you need a capability in conversation. Only in the brilliance of what humans can be when they talk together – using patterns that are crafted wisely – can we really be resilient in the face of complexity.

Recommendations that are purely grounded in procedural control have an inevitable brittleness. They are as misdirected as this patented machine for the perfect golf swing….

Over the next series of posts I will introduce 10 reasons why conversation is vital for enterprises that face complexity – and how enterprises can become complex adaptive systems through unlocking the brilliance of human capability in the requisite conversations:

…in order to allow for the inevitable feature of emergence

…in order to bring the “organisation” into being

…in order to activate and apply our capacity for adaptive expertise

…in order to harness the power of fuzziness in language

…in order to access the multiple perspectives required to grasp the system

…in order to clarify and cultivate our values that will bound our system activity

…in order to access the requisite variety essential to leadership in the system

…in order that we can participate in forming the necessary shared context

…in order to take energy in from our operating environment

…in order to access the enduring DNA of narrative

David Jones

Changing the ways people talk to get work done.

New work? New conversation! Change Conversation.