Cynefin Framework template

Navigate different types of problems and guide your decision-making.

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Easy to use

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The Cynefin Framework was developed by Dave Snowden at IBM in 1999. This framework is designed to help you navigate different types of problems and arrive at the right method of decision-making.

The Cynefin Framework includes five domains: obvious, complicated, complex, chaotic, and disorder. Depending on what type of problem you’re dealing with, the Cynefin Framework recommends a particular approach to the solution.

About the Cynefin Framework template

What does “Cynefin” mean?

“Cynefin” is the Welsh word for “habitat.”

How is the Cynefin Framework set up?

There are five domains in the Cynefin Framework: obvious, complicated, complex, chaotic, and disorder. Obvious problems are well understood and their solutions are evident, so they can be solved by applying a well-known, potentially scripted solution. With complicated problems, you generally have a sense of your questions that need to be answered.

To solve these types of problems, you can apply expert knowledge and decide what to do next. With complex problems, there’s a lot you don’t know—you aren’t even sure which questions to ask. To solve complex problems, you’ll need to experiment, evaluate, and gather more knowledge. With chaotic problems, your immediate priority is to contain them and then find a long-term solution. Disorder refers to the space in the middle of the framework. If you don’t know where you are in the framework, you’re currently in Disorder, and your priority is to move to one of the other domains.   

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