Monthly Archives: September 2007


Narrative-based exit interviews – an opportunity

Hands up those who have gone through a really solid exit interview process when leaving a company. Just what I thought ... very few of us have experienced a thorough, meaningful exit interview. Instead, many exit interviews are a mere "tick the box in the personnel file" formality rather than an opportunity to gain a rich perspective based on the anecdotes employees have to tell about the organisation. I need to be careful not to alienate the HR practitioners reading [...]

By |September 28th, 2007|Categories: Uncategorized|0 Comments

HARNESS-ing Knowledge

One of the Cognitive Edge methodologies that Sonja and I have found to be building up a nice head of steam in South Africa is ASHEN. The process of eliciting the Artifacts, Skills, Heuristics, Experience andNatural Talent in the Knowledge Transfer realm has been very valuable – especially when one considers the challenges of knowledge transfer across generational gaps. We have begun to wonder though if the methodology might be expanded on to include elements that make for a greater depth in capturing [...]

Hannah’s Rules

I facilitated a workshop recently that used the issue of Climate Change as an example of how to create invitations for change within teams, organisations and communities. We watched Al Gore's acclaimedAn Inconvenient Truth as a way of looking at how to go about creating an invitation for change. After the viewing, the group seemed to have some mixed reactions to the issue of climate change. I decided to share a story that Graeme tells about his daughter, Hannah. Driving one day to school, they [...]

By |September 23rd, 2007|Categories: Uncategorized|0 Comments

Two Taps

In Peter Senge's landmark book, The 5th Discipline, he describes an example of feedback loops and the principle of delayed effects. The example is of the hot and cold tap in a shower. When you turn on the taps and realize that the water is too cold, you turn up the hot tap. You do not feel any change to the temperature - at least, not right away. This gives the illusion that your intervention to create a more luxurious cleansing experience has [...]

By |September 21st, 2007|Categories: Uncategorized|0 Comments

Crime and Abortion :: Correlation or Causality?

n a recent radio commentary (John Robbie, on 702 on the 20th of September 2007) it was noted that research is coming out of the United States and also the UK that suggests that the legalization of abortion could have something to do with the decrease in certain types of crime. One of the most popular treatises on this topic is by economist Steven D. Levitt and journalist Stephen J. Dubner, calledFreakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything. At first [...]


... to The Narrative Lab. We are an organisation that specialises in using narrative techniques to help companies make sense of complex problems. On this site you will find information about us in the form of our blog where Aiden, Raymond and Sonja write about narrative and complexity. The Narrative Lab is the emergent outcome of 3 minds coming together to explore the nature of narrative, assist companies in finding value through narrative and tocreate something new.

By |September 20th, 2007|Categories: welcome|0 Comments

The new simplicity

One of the phrases Dave Snowden uses to describe Cognitive Edge and the use of complexity theory in organisations is 'the new simplicity'.  During our course last week, I reflected on this with some of the participants. It's interesting how often we 'over-complicate' things.  We over-analyse problems and come up with such complicated solutions, that we're often doomed to failure before we even start!  Ironically, the opposite is also true - often we just don't think things through.  How many times have [...]

By |September 20th, 2007|Categories: Cognitive Edge|0 Comments

Narrative: Getting more than you bargained for

I sometimes wonder if business leaders know what they’re missing out on by not embracing narrative techniques within their businesses. I remember facilitating an Anecdote Circle that drove this point home for me (which also caught the business by surprise a little). It was the first time this business had engaged in a narrative process when dealing with a problem. The issue at hand was a particularly bad run of resignations that had gutted the business of talented individuals during the [...]

By |September 18th, 2007|Categories: Narrative|0 Comments