The Cynefin A&E Game at the Agile Games Workshop

We were delighted to welcome an audience of agile practitioners to the offices of PwC to learn about the Cynefin framework and the A&E Game developed by Dean Latchana.

Before starting we divided into groups. Dean presented his game in a thoughtful and entertaining way and was an excellent speaker. Noting that his audience on the night were rather fresh to Cynefin, he presented just one facet of the knowledge from the framework - the level of agreement between decision makers and the certainty of facts present in the situation.

We were provided with a set of cards which explained a set of 12 hospital A&E scenarios, a boy with a sprained ankle, someone wanting to register with a GP, a toxic chemical spill etc. Our job was to categorise each one using the facets of the framework which had been presented and find a home for it within the first four categories of the 5 category Cynefin model.

Eventually Dean explained the rest of the framework too, and some of that information clarified where the scenarios sat. We got to refine our categorisations and found we still disagreed to an extent within our groups. Later, we compared the results other groups had come to, which we share below.

Notice how some scenarios were not consistently categorised. This is evidence that there are challenges in putting Cynefin to use, but also demonstrates the value of Dean's game. Were we to try to learn Cynefin from a book without hearing the conversations we had had about it's application and seeing and questioning what others had done then we would learn Cynefin much more slowly.

For the framework's publishers there is value in this gamification in promoting adoption as such. Having the opportunity to apply the framework with others and apply it to novel scenarios means trainees less likely to produce superficial "cargo-cult" implementations, and more likely to be able to demonstrate the value of their training insights to others.

Dean finished with some new material sharing his own insights into how Cynefin is applied. After some questions we retired to Balls Brothers for beers and snacks and got another opportunity to bend our speaker's ear - an opportunity some of our attendees also took up.

At the end of the evening there were many happy faces and a great deal had been learned. We look ahead to the next event with renewed anticipation!

You can find Dean's slides here