An introduction to scaffolding

When designing organizations or interventions, we focus too often on designing permanent structures that end up being inflexible. Thinking about designing impermanent scaffolds to enable emergence might be more useful in today’s white-water world.

Included in this package are three resources that will help you to better understand the nature and function of scaffolds in organizational design and interventions. It will also provide you with new insights that will help us to reframe our thinking about the design of organizations, and how we engage with them, and to look with a different perspective at the role of consultants, organisational coaches, frameworks and tools.

Included in this package:

Download: An overview of the five kinds of scaffolds (.pdf)


A presentation by Ann Pendleton-Julian, and conversation with Dave Snowden, at the Cynefin Retreat in Snowdonia, Wales – October 2018 (Video recording; 60 minutes)

A conversation by Dave Snowden with the Cognitive Edge Premium Members about these five kinds of scaffolds – October 2018 (Audio; 45 minutes), with slide handout