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You can listen to Dave’s story by clicking below

 ‘All  through my life I’ve done what felt right at the time and it’s worked out; trust your instincts.’

Dave Snowden, Cognitive Edge Ltd

County College, BA Hons Philosophy 1975

Dave Snowden is a Consultant and Researcher in the field of knowledge management. He is also the founder of Cognitive Edge Ltd which is a consulting company and research network focusing on ‘complexity theory’ in ‘Sensemaking’. Dave has worked in data science with Thorn EMI, Data Sciences Ltd and also IBM before founding Cognitive Edge. He is also an Honorary Professor in the School of Psychology at Bangor University.

What are your thoughts on business, making money and sustainability?

In California at the moment the generality is if you haven’t made a billion by the time you’re 25 you’re inadequate! They’re creating companies out there to sell, not creating companies to create a sustainable economy.  In my view, incubators and reverse incubators are making the same mistake.  We need people who want to create sustainable businesses.

Tell us more on your thoughts on the importance of having generalists in teams and why too many specialists limits our potential and our progress? 

I think one of the problems we’ve got at the moment is people become too specialised. If I look back at when I was at school, we did exams at 16 and 18 which gave us time in between to ‘think’.  My kids do a module a term; they’re at university now, and they forget things once they’ve done the module.  The other thing is, certainly in Welsh Grammar Schools, every week I had to stand up in front of the class; I’d be given a card and it would say something like, ‘You support capital punishment.’ and I’d have to speak for seven minutes without preparation on something I might profoundly disagree with.

We did that every week from age eleven to age eighteen. It meant we read everything because we didn’t know what we were going to to be hit with and it was very useful. The point is, you need people who can synthesize different knowledge bases and education is not throwing them out at the moment. It’s throwing out deep specialists who can’t see a bigger picture and can’t synthesize different disciplines.

You can view Dave’s LinkedIn profile here.


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