Monthly Archives: September 2008


How to fire a president with very little response

When a mechanic walks up to an aircraft with a toolbox, nothing on the aircraft changes. However, when there's an announcement of impending retrenchments, everything changes in the organisation. This is an example of the nature of complex adaptive systems thatDave will often quote when speaking of complexity. I've been struck over the last 60 hours since the ANC decided to recall President Thabo Mbeki, how a mechanic has walked up to the airplane known as South Africa, and very little has changed. I would have anticipated [...]

Stories more compelling than facts

A futurist named Marvin J. Cetron who apparently predicted 9/11 has just released the outcomes of a study that Cetron’s Forecasting International carried out for the Pentagon.  This report outlnes several possible prime US terrorism targets and it makes for interesting reading. The report outlines 10 potential scenarios.  What makes them really compeling (and chilling) is the narrative form in which they are written.  It proves what we have always advocated: using story or narrative is much more compelling and convincing than using [...]

Stories, sport and performance

I came across a great little anecdote while doing some research for a sports related project Sonja and I are working on - it will hopefully translate into a television series next year, but more of that once we're actually allowed to talk about it :) Here's the anecdote: At the 150th birthday celebration of Grey College,Ryk Neethling gave an address in which he attributed his Olympic success to his education and upbringing at Grey. He recounted an experience he had with [...]

the spiritual side of safety

As part of a mining safety project we're currently involved in, we conducted interviews with several key industry stakeholders.  During one of these interviews we were told the following story: A worker at a mine that has recently experienced a spate of fatal accidents told investigators that he knew the reason why there were so many accidents at this mine, and he also said that they would continue unless certain measures were taken.  According to him, the "ancestors" were angry [...]

By |September 24th, 2008|Categories: Uncategorized|Tags: , , |0 Comments

I spoke too soon

Barely 12 hours after my last post the political and financial landscape of South Africa has transitioned from what seemed to be relative order, into the world of un-order. With 11 cabinet ministers resigning today, the relative peace surrounding Mbeki's departure was shattered in terms of social sentiment and financial market confidence. This just goes to show that when one assumes you're operating in a world of order, perhaps an assumption of extreme simple order, how easily one falls into extreme [...]

Sacred stories

We are in the process of planning a couple of exciting projects, one in the world of sport and another in schools.  Both of these involve the capturing of stories to assess culture or to "find the magic" in these environments. During a planning discussion with Dave Snowden this morning, he mentioned the concept of "Sacred Stories", those stories that define the way that people or societies see the world.  This is an intriguing thought.  It got me thinking - what are [...]

By |September 15th, 2008|Categories: Culture|Tags: , , |0 Comments

Trying to take over the world

The fatal error Brain made (from Pinky and the Brain fame) was to attempt to take over the world with grand efforts, that failed in every episode. We, on the other hand, prefer to take small strides in the same ambition. Having said that, Sonja and I would like to welcome Chrislia van Tonder to the TNL ranks as one of those monumental strides. Chrislia will be our go-to 'gal who will keep the business end of this business, well, business-like. Chrislia [...]

By |September 5th, 2008|Categories: Business|Tags: |0 Comments

The web’s secret stories

Spotting the trends and patterns in a handful of anecdotes is not a difficult task. Cognitively, it is within our grasp as humans. However, raise the number of anecdotes beyond that and it becomes more of a mental stretch and you require the assistance of another "intelligence". It is for this reason that we utilise the SenseMaker suite of software when running projects that gather hundreds of stories. Now, imagine you could collect all the stories published on the web, [...]

We’re 1

As of this month, we are a whopping 1 year old! It was about this time last year that myself, Sonja and Raymond sat down together, read an email from a potential client, looked at each other and asked, "So, should we put a proposal together for him?" Now, a year later, how have things developed or changed? Well, for starters, I'm pretty glad we didn't go with our original name for this company. Don't ask me why, but we [...]