Chinese Medicine, process change programs and Cynefin

Many change programs fail due to a lack of understanding the real pain in the organization. Many change programs just repeat a trick that worked earlier. It is like a doctor telling you that, without proper examination, he treats you the same way he did previous patients.

In China, the original Chinese medicine is applied complementary to the Western medicine. Learning about Chinese medicine is like taking a trip into ancient knowledge management. The appreciation of the knowledge of our human body, the plants and herbs (which are all provided by nature..) forms the basis and power of Chinese Medicine.

When I write complementary I do actually mean complementary. In a Chinese hospital a patient chooses at entry which treatment he desires. During ‘Western’ treatment acupuncture or a herb-treatment is added, to reduce pain and trigger the internal body recovery system.

Our typical process change programs are typically Western oriented. We analyze were we are (what the illness is) where we want to be (cured) and what the path to cure is.
In this approach we ignore the nature part of the system we are about to change. Living human beings which, typically, show complex behavior.

Luckily, like Chinese Medicine, we have an approach to make sense of our complex organizations we are about the change. The anecdotes people tell at the coffee machines, during lunch breaks of after-work drinks, contain valuable information to define a appropriate cure-path.

For this reason we use a method in which we collect as many anecdotes as we possibly can. By listing to these anecdotes (story-collection) we learn what the system/body/organization tells us. It provides the means to appropriate leverage decisions and actions.

To enhance the level of detail and to ensure anecdotes are properly understood, we let the people themselves provide meaning to their anecdotes. This enables realtime collection without ‘expert’ interference.

Supporting Sensemaker® software suite provides the automation side. Enabling the management to get the needed level of understanding on their organization.
Like the doctor in Chinese Medicine, the management team now understands where to apply pressure (acupuncture) or to strengthen the healing and energy level (herb-cure).

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