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Leadership insights

Postcards from "Coronacation"​ - Applied Complexity Thinking in Disrupted Times

Updated: Jun 2, 2023

A client coined the term of Coronacation - with people working from home during the pandemic - and we imagined sending postcards from it as a sensing mechanism
Developing a sensing mechanism with journaling through postcards of Coronacation

I usually do not share the work I do with clients, as I treat this information as totally confidential. This blog is slightly different as Rich shared and blogged about it (please see, and welcomes for me to expand on the subject. So, here is a tip for you to make sense of this turbulent time. It is rooted in Complexity Thinking and practically implemented.

Active Navigation is a scale-up organisation specialising in creating insight from the data hosted in your uncontrolled data stores, and supporting your compliance efforts, notably in-line with the Privacy Regulations. If you have such challenges, I recommend that you connect with them, they will achieve great things as an organisation (please see or connect with Rich directly).

For any small organisation, the COVID19 crisis is a scary time. How do you keep things in balance with the prospect of a challenging economic environment? How do you keep the teams' morale going instead of commiserating? Holding off was not a strategy that was going to work. They went boldly forward instead, embracing the new conditions and making the most of them. They aligned the teams on a direction, organised them to be connected across customers, sales and technology and get to progress in rapid cycles.

The teams have a sense of direction and the autonomy of making decisions. The conditions for creative emergence are in place and permanently in motion. The product evolves, the ways of working adjust, and everybody has remained engaged. They are a fantastic running example of applying agility and complexity principles to the situation.

As the creative emergence bubbles-up, however, it is not easy to identify the bad from the good and the great as the signals are typically "weak". Credit to Rich's daughter, this extended period of working from home, in rather unusual circumstances, was named the "Coronacation". It was then a fitting idea to journal the positive emergent practices as the "Postcards from Coronacation". Crises are very emergent times, and Leadership should listen to the weak signals by extending the sensing-network. Mass sense tools like SenseMaker(R) from Cognitive-Edge and Large Scale Systemic Workshops that we run (even virtually) are ways of sensing. But without going to such extent, journaling is also a great approach, and writing postcards introduces a playful element that keeps the morale going.

As an organisation, they have kept the engagement of their clients and their workforce. They have raised to the challenge that the context has brought, and I am pretty confident, have grown stronger from it. I am so proud of what they are achieving and grateful to have been this annoyingly persistent (Rich term, not mine!) coach on their journey. I cannot wait to read the postcards!


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