Challenger Seminar: “Citizen Engagement through Complexity in Public Purpose Work – A Conversation with Dave Snowden”

[kuh-NEV-in] (Welsh origin)

meaning: place of multiple belongings

Come and be challenged at IPAA Queensland’s first Challenger Seminar Series for 2022!

Join Dave Snowden and Beth Smith from the Cynefin Centre, in partnership with Complexability and QUTeX to participate in a challenging conversation around ‘Citizen Engagement through Complexity in Public Purpose Work’.

This conversation will discuss the importance, the strengths, the insights, and the weaknesses of citizen engagement during complex times through the lens of Dave Snowden’s Cynefin® Framework.

As many in public purpose are aware, citizen engagement is essential for a healthy and thriving democracy.

The underpinning philosophy of citizen engagement is that people are entitled to decision making power regarding decisions that impact their lives beyond simply voting for a representative once every few years.

Citizen engagement can take many forms such as direct outreach to citizens and information campaigns, public meetings and consultation, deliberative processes such as citizens’ assemblies and citizens’ juries, and using SenseMaker®.

This event will host a provocative and challenging conversation that seeks to share the latest in research and practice in the space of citizen engagement, design thinking and community voice during complex times; topics that are present and topical for the modern public purpose worker.

Attendees at this event will be challenged on the subject matter and engaged to actively participate and question the next frontier in this area.

To find out more about the Cynefin® Framework, Sensemaker®, Dave Snowden and Beth Smith in the lead up to what will be a fantastic event, visit their website here.


Date: Monday 15th August

Time: 3.00pm to 4:30pm followed by networking

Location: QUTeX, B Block, QUT Gardens Point Campus, 2 George St Brisbane

Price: Complimentary

Please note that the event is now fully booked. Please click the button below to go on the waiting list.

About IPAA’s Challenger Seminar Series:

Our Challenger Series aims to encourage discussion on topics and issues that are challenging in their very nature, to spark conversations that can lead to real impact and to be a catalyst for transformation in public purpose work in Queensland.  These seminars are based on respectful collaboration and are intended to provide a platform for to promote ideas and discussion about emerging issues, innovation, and future public service reform.

About the Cynefin Centre Australia:

The Cynefin Centre Australia applies the pioneering work in complexity of Dave Snowden in the Asia Pacific context.

The Cynefin Centre Australia primarily focuses on working within the not-for-profit, government and academic sectors, with action research and development projects applying complexity science principles, methods and approaches to social good. We focus on research becoming practice, learning from doing, making sense of complexity accessible and understandable.

For this, co-creation and collaboration with all involved in any project are fundamental principles.

There are Cynefin Centre flagship research programs into healthcare; education; climate change; power, discrimination and conflict; citizen engagement and democratic innovation. In CC Australia, we are explicitly focused on the integration and application of indigenous knowledge to complex issues, building complexity literacy for grass roots community activation, and the development and implementation of consultation and engagement processes using complexity based methods and processes that ensure equity in access and participation, sovereignty of data and decision making, and transparency of evaluation and results.

About Dave Snowden:

Dave is the creator of the Cynefin® Framework, and originated the design of SenseMaker®, the world’s first distributed ethnography tool. He is the lead author of Managing complexity (and chaos) in times of crisis: A field guide for decision makers, a shared effort between the Joint Research Centre (JRC), the European Commission’s science and knowledge service, and the Cynefin Centre.

He divides his time between two roles: founder Chief Scientific Officer of The Cynefin Company and the founder and Director of the Cynefin Centre.  His work is international in nature and covers government and industry looking at complex issues relating to strategy and organisational decision-making.  He has pioneered a science-based approach to organisations drawing on anthropology, neuroscience, and complex adaptive systems theory. By using natural science as a constraint on the understanding of social systems this avoids many of the issues associated with inductive or case-based approaches to research. He is a popular and passionate keynote speaker on a range of subjects and is well known for his pragmatic cynicism and iconoclastic style.

Dave holds positions as extra-ordinary Professor at the Universities of Pretoria and Stellenbosch as well as visiting Professor at the University of Hull. He has held similar positions at Bangor University, Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Canberra University, the University of Warwick and The University of Surrey. He held the position of senior fellow at the Institute of Defence and Strategic Studies at Nanyang University and the Civil Service College in Singapore during a sabbatical period in Nanyang.

His paper with Boone on Leadership was the cover article for the Harvard Business Review in November 2007 and won the Academy of Management aware for the best practitioner paper in the same year. He has previously won a special award from the Academy for originality in his work on knowledge management. He is an editorial board member of several academic and practitioner journals in the field of knowledge management and is an Editor in Chief of E:CO. In 2006 he was Director of the EPSRC (UK) research programme on emergence and in 2007 was appointed to an NSF (US) review panel on complexity science research.

He previously worked for IBM where he was a Director of the Institution for Knowledge Management and founded the Cynefin Centre for Organisational Complexity; during that period, he was selected by IBM as one of six on-demand thinkers for a world-wide advertising campaign. Prior to that he worked in a range of strategic and management roles in the service sector.

About Beth Smith:

Holding an MSc in the field of policing and counterterrorism, and a post-graduate qualification in mixed methods research from the University of Oxford, Beth’s research interests are in citizen engagement, community development, political risk, strategic management, and epistemology.

As Programme Manager for Citizen Engagement, Beth is responsible for the design and delivery of SenseMaker® projects related to citizen journalism and governmental collaborations. Having previously worked as a policy advisor to the Future Generations Commissioner for Wales, Beth was responsible for providing research and policy guidance to government and public services in relation to public involvement and democratic and digital innovation.

Throughout her career, Beth has published and delivered lectures & training on collaborative policy making and evidence informed policy at events, including the Bevan Commission International Conference and Cambridge and Swansea Universities Narrative Research Development Group. In her spare time, she can usually be found with her head in a book or on a hill walking with her dog.

This event has been made possible with the support of the Cynefin Centre, Complexability, and QUTeX.