The Cynefin Framework

The Cynefin Framework

By Dave Snowden:

The name serves as a reminder that all human interactions are strongly influenced and frequently determined by our experiences, both through the direct influence of personal experience, as well as through collective experience (…)

The framework provides a typology of contexts that guides what sort of explanations or solutions might apply.


Obvious [Simple]

  • Tightly constrained
  • No degrees of freedom
  • sense-categorise-respondBest Practice


  • Governing constraints
  • Tightly coupled
  • sense-analyse-respond → Good Practice


  • Enabling constraints
  • Loosely coupled
  • probe-sense-respond → Emergent Practice


  • Lacking constraint
  • De-coupled
  • act-sense-respond → Novel Practice

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