Questions to consider

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When writing and editing Cynefin® processes, it can be useful to consider alternative perspectives and interpretations of what's been written.

  • For processes
  • For supporting information pages
  • Other category applications?

This applies to the facilitation of the process itself

It also applies to engaging with the wiki or EU Field Guide as it's own meta process


What is … ? (The process)

What is its derivation

Why are we doing …

What is the relationship between … and …


How could … be described so a high school student could facilitate it?

What are the essential elements to … that it could not exist without?

What is the very minimal version that it would still work with?

What might the spontaneous version of a casual … look like?

For example:

  • Spend 5mins drawing a flower
  • Then spend 2mins drawing a new flower
  • Then spend 1min drawing a flower
  • Then spend 30sec drawing a flower
  • Then spend 10sec drawing a flower
  • Then spend 5sec drawing a flower
  • Then spend 2sec drawing a flower
  • What is the minimum required components so that it is still identifiable as a flower?

What is the core information required for:

  • Facilitator view
  • Investor / decision maker buy-in
  • Participants


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The role of the designer is that of a very good, thoughtful host, anticipating the needs of his guests.
— Charles Eames

How might we further embody this quote?


How might levels / extensions be created to add depth to … ?


What might the biggest risks to … be? How might they be treated?

What might the most probable risks to … be? How might they be incorporated as a benefit?

If we imagined x months ahead, and many … sessions had been run, how confident are we that the … has been used as intended? What might need to be implemented to increase our confidence level?

What are the potential unintended consequences of performing a … ?


How might certainty be increased for participants?

How might greater definition around roles bring increased certainty and confidence?

How might we bring certainty to a facilitator for the first time they conduct …?

How might physical signage play a part in creating certainty?

What are the most probable points of confusion through the process? Are these useful?

Failure modes

How might a participant feel like they are ‘failing’ during … ?

How might a facilitator feel they are failing?

What are the most frequent reasons someone might ‘give up’ during … ?

Why might someone not attempt using … ?


How could trust / affinity / rapport be generated with the process?

What might cause the destruction of trust / affinity / rapport before, during or after?

Perspectival Provocations

How might Trump view …

How might Nora view …

How might a snarky teenager view …

How might Hitler view …

How might someone who is hearing impaired view …

How might a cynic view … What might they be most cynical about

How might a true believer cause destruction to …

If a participant were to covertly try and destroy … what might they do

What might we discover

How might we apply what we discover to bring greater resilience to …


What physical items might be useful to support the process

What are small modules that could be used to fill any spaces and be a catalyst during the process?

How could these modules be used as a (helpful and unhelpful) crutch?

What are the nuggets of gold that could be used to distract / entice participants through the process?

How can … be used to have participants feel more “themselves”?

What is a list of all the complaints people might have about the process? How could these be flipped to show benefit?

What ‘signature’ could be used in the … process that would identify it as originating in Cynefin®? (Like how map creators deliberately add mistakes to their maps to prevent copying.)

Does an ideal ‘use case’ for … exist?

What environments would it be ill advised to use … ?

If we had a room of 300 people and we had to run a … session tomorrow or we’d be put in the Panopticon prison for a month, how might we prepare? What might be the most obvious mistakes we’d make if we tried to do that based on the outline now?

If you were to argue that a … process should never be used, what might your arguments be?


What do I need to run

How many people are involved? (Minimum - maximum)

How much space do I need? (Physical space, virtual space, time)

Does it scale? How?

How long does the process take?

What are the possible variations?


What areas is … used for

What do you get out of …

What is the value proposition

How do you know you’re ready to facilitate / participate in …

How do you assess readiness for …

What might the outputs be

What transformations might occur

What insights might occur


What are the roles?

Why are they called that?

What does this mean?

Can you rename the roles? (depending on location/context/rituals/need)

Who needs to play them?


What is expected of me?

What is not expected of me?

What are my constraints?



Is the role essential?

Who can or can not play this role

Are there additional roles that could be added?

How could Impro-like ‘masks’ be used to support participants in stepping into their roles?

How could participants be guided to want to respect the roles of others?

How could physical items be used to bring clarity to the roles?

How could the physical space be used to bring clarity to the roles?

How could role clarity be enhanced in a virtual environment? (icons on zoom, face mask zoom filters?)

Case studies

Are there examples we can describe?