A quick receipt to SCAN

A quick introduction to the SCAN sensemaking framework, as a savoury storytelling…


This morning I cooked myself an Egg in the pan. This was (S)imple and delicious. A known and repeated practice, and you could nearly anticipate and salivate… Fast and (S)imple, very good when you are in hurry .. and who is not ?

It is Friday, and I am thinking about the Pizza I will do with my kids this Saturday. I try and make it (S)imple for them, they just put the tomato sauce and lay out the mozzarella and the ham on the pasta, but it has to be on their own part of course, separately from the family one, the big square one.. . They are so proud to have their own made pizza in 5mn !! For me it is a bit more (C)omplicated of course. I have to prepare the pasta in advance, give natural yeast 2-3 hours to raise, in the owen with just a lamp at 30 degree , and I put a bit of white white wine and origan IN the pasta, this is my secret :-). Tomato sauce is also prepared in advance , with origan, olive oil, garlic, and boiled 2h at 90 degrees to be really deep. This could look (C)omplicated for just a pizza, and yes this is a mini project in itself, but as you repeat the process, every Saturday , it becomes a ritual and , you do not really think about it passed the third time, you become a master (i.e. a “chef” in French) . And this is so savoury and fun…

(C)omplicated , but Much (S)impler than organising the party for next week , 3 courses menu, seated diner of 15 people, taking care of the met and wine accord, 5 layer cake dessert (home made by me !!), and caring about peoples taste, the one you know, and guessing the one you don’t … Also, who sit next to who, as People’s relationship has nothing to do with science, even (C)omplicated but everything to do with (A)mbiguity… you never can guess the final result for sure, there is not definitive receipt for the perfect party…that would be known by now :-). Just plain heuristics learned here and there… Thinking helps for sure, but Gut feeling is the key here, when you can still listen to it, i.e. if you are not underwater because of apprehension…

This reminds me , when I was invited once to an African wedding… That was really (N)ew for me… unknown food, unkown taste even , (some I could not really go along even ), unknown social groups, unknown customs…; How to behave to be as smooth as possible, still enjoy it… Well, all I could do was try and experiment from what I knew, and see if what that still worked… Observe first, get some Orientation, Decide and Act.. that went pretty well finally, as I found out.

This was 15 years ago, and I still remember it; I realised I could go in Unknown territory and survive it finally… :-). A good Experience in fact. I learned that Unknown and Ambiguity is not a problem, especially if you realise and accept it is not a matter of true or false, like in Math or science, and that human realm is so much bigger that you could imagine..

Well, this is not really (N)ew isn’t it ?


There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.
– Hamlet (1.5.167-8), Hamlet to Horatio




Related :


Tom replied with easy examples


Quick SCAN examples

Antifragile and Agile Presentation to the Paris financial engineering meetup

Frank invited me to introduce Antifragile to its Paris Financial Engineering Meetup

Antifragile and agile


the slides

the cards


My impression

Well, this was quite challenging, 20 mn to introduce such a vast and complex topic like antifragile. But because I had quants in front of me, (most of them IT and a large proportion of agile, ), which are math friendly, I introduced the concept of convexity for antifragilty , and focused on comparing traditional ( linear , teleological ) and agile project management . We used cards to « vote  » how people perceived the different practices ( as in planning poker ), Either as Fragile, Robust or Antifragile . And the explored interactively the different perceptions . Also relating agile , antifragilty, and cognitive bias ( and design thinking and lean startup) .

I was positively surprised by the audience , mature and open minded , open to communicate and participative.


This was also my second attempt at capturing the presentation in video. Our host, dojocrea was very helpful. So far no bad surprise during the take, I still have to find how to publish such large volume over the internet . Vimeo account ? Any ideas ?


Biais Cognitif at AgileBee

Une présentation des biais cognitifs pour les agilistes de AgilBee :

les liens

la présentation

les cartes

mon retour d’expérience

très chouette accueil, et il semble y avoir pas mal de curiosité sur le sujet…

première tentative de vidéo , pas réussie ( je suis souvent hors cadre, et la camera s arrête toute seule au bout de 30 mn, va comprendre..) ( la video sera mise en ligne ce WE, revenez ..) (bon faut apprendre hein)

hm, tiens toi droit !!



Après une vidéo d’introduction , ( la théorie du 10eme homme dans world war Z) , on joue avec les cartes pour apprendre à reconnaitre les biais cognitifs, qui surgissent dans quelques situations humaines communes.
Puis on voit comment les rites agile mettent en place des contre mesures, pour ne pas être victime de ces biais.
Façon Planning poker, on vote avec les carte sur ce qu’on voit dans un rite, et on partage son point de vue.
La conférence est devenue naturellement un atelier d’échange, et à été fait pour la plus grande partie par les participant eux même, qui se sont ainsi appropriés les biais. On voir aussi comment ces biais peuvent ètre utilisé pour améliorer les rites agiles eux mêmes.
Ensuite, nous avons vu pourquoi un cycle en V à toute les chances de se planter, sauf si les acteurs font des techniques agiles naturellement, sans le savoir, ( comme moi avant 99 :-).
Enfin, on passe en revue d’autres approches qui incorporent les biais, comme Lean startup, Design thinking, ou Decision Quality.
On finit avec une petite video sur le priming, pour rire un peu de nous …



la video de ce meeting n’a pas été a la hauteur, mais le contenu est essentiellement le même que celle ci  :




On discute aussi biais cognitifs applique société / lifestyle / économie et agile dans le meetup antifragile

Do you prefer to act, think of feel when you program ?

This post of @jessitron on the opposition of lambda calculus and Turing Machine, opposing Academy and Engineering, got me thinking on memory and abstraction … Here is the story telling, out of my Lateral thinking , to be followed on the below #Sketchnote:

  • (I am in the train) It is dark, I perceive something looking like a lamp and I want to have my neighbor act on it .
  • But I cannot, because this perception is just in my « head ». and the lamp is too far..
  • Well, maybe he (my neighbor) speaks the same language than me, and I can ask him ? Hm…

In fact, I can re-cognize what I see, this is a lamp, which I pattern-match it to the other lamp I saw before in my memory…

I can associate it to the generic concept of « light », and I have a word for this . I can now ask my neighbor, who is just sitting next to the lamp, if he is kind enough to switch it on, please, so I can see the light …

turing machine lamba calculus and feelings

Memory & Pattern-Match -> Model -> Share

This memory I use for pattern matching, is mine . It is personal. It is the sum of my experiences . I cannot share it.
but I can think, and abstract, i.e. build model out of (perceived reality). this is still internal to me.
However, these Models, I can dump them on paper and share them, like the above #sketchnote, or use words,like the one you are reading, which are « shared » shortcuts for sharing concepts, pointers to shared models.

Like many humans, I have preference. and when learning, I may prefer to learn by creative tinkering, learn by abstract and thinking, or learn by feeling and sharing. Maybe It is due to my preference to Action, Thinking, or Feeling .

So, when I will be a grown up, I may choose to be a tinkering Engineer, or thinking in Academic , or share my feeling about ideas..

And if I am in IT, my preferred style could be the State and action style of Imperative programming, or .. the abstract declarative style of Functional Programming… not sure about feeling thought..

But regardless of preference, I can do all of them. Of course, I tend to do most the things I prefer. But, if I want to share and reuse these ideas out of my head, and feel good about it, I better have models I can share ….

(this is what got me crossed my mind when reading) :

NAUR 1986: The primary result of programming is the theory held by the programmers

  1. Theory: The knowledge a person must have to do certain things intelligently, explain, answer queries, argue about them…
  2. The programmer must Build a Theory of how certain affairs of the world will be handled by a program; Explain how the affairs of the world are mapped into the program and documentation; Respond to demands for modifications, perceiving the similarity of the new demand with the facilities built.
    • This knowledge transcends that possible in documentation.
  3. This theory is the mental possession of a programmer; the notion of programmer as an easily replaceable component in program production has to be abandoned.

Naur86 quoted by Cockburn98 in [1]

1 Slide 10

Digital Sketchnotes: going over my painpoints with Sketchbook Pro and ArtRage 4.

I had a problem to go Digital for my #sketchnotes.

Thanks to the help of Sachac, I made the switch , when looking at a video of how she was using Sketchbook Pro.

The main pain points for me were :

  • The interface was too much in the way ( much more than a a pen and a moleskine ) ( as I do not know how to sketch , I need not a lot to side track me)
  • My digital sketch were far too big on the screen i.e. not I could not put enough stuff on a A4 ( less than on my A5 moleskine) . Zooming in and out was getting me lost.

The solution to this last point was to add a grid on a layer , which gave me a sense of the scale at a given point. Plus I added another Layer for the framework, where zones can be pre alloted, and which helps getting bearings when zooming and moving around.


this layer could easily be dimmed when working, and removed when publishing.

I could then work at a much higher zoom level, which is easier when using a wacom tablet ( i.e. not a tablet PC / touch screen) , for a beginner like me.


The other problem was too much interface fiddling when you have to sketchnote real time in a meeting or conference. I master the « interface » of my two pens and moleskin for about 50 years now, this was going to be a tough challenge to make it as fluent.

I looked at the two contenders on the market, i.e. SketchbookPro and ArtRage.
I fiddled with SketchbookPro for about 2 weeks, and this is quite good.
However , I settled for ArtRage 4, mainly for one reason : The « Workbench Mode ». And on a minor mode, the references.

The Workbench is a (new) minimalist interface , where everything disappears , except the few things you want to keep at hand. And So, I prepared 4 « Pens », one black to write, one orange to doodle icons and mini sketch, One Large BoardMarker for Titles, and one airbrush for light shadow. Colors can be pre-assigned, this is a big plus for me, no more other fiddling than changing the « pens » with one click during action time.

In the following, here is the « normal » interface :


the same in Workbench mode: all is gone but my selection of pens.

less distraction, and the choices made at preparation time could simply just be used.

I also quite like the possibility to have « post -it  » like reference at hand ( even on the Workbench if desired):

[2] is a overall view of the drawing,
[3] is a reference picture , here a snapshot of Sachac sketchnote that I was copying.


Lets see in the following weeks if I can confirm this intuition of going digital, IRL 🙂

Edit : I indeed went digital, but I not with ArtRage but reverted to SketchBook pro, because the move action of Artrage is definitively too much in the way, as documented by SachaC in [3]

Related Post:

  • http://sachachua.com/blog/2012/12/my-digital-sketchnoting-workflow/comment-page-1/#comment-618891
  • the grid , psd valide for sketchbook or art rage
    [3] :

Stay in the flow : Scrivener and post blogging

This post is about using Scrivener for the redaction of post, and practices to stay in the flow.

  • Before, I was writing directly in WordPress, in markdown, or offline in some markdown editor.
  • Now I do the design and the edition in scrivener. Then export to Markdown, and push it to WordPress .

I will describe :

  • the benefits I feel using this approach,
  • the alternatives I used before,
  • and where I feel there is still some frictions.

After a quick view on the setup.

The Setup

Here is the core setup I use . Corkboard on the left, Text on the right ( Scrivenings). I used the Quick reference to type the text of one card.

This setup is used during the writing phase. During the design phase, I use the corkboard full screen.

Tip: Vertical Split Screen

Tip: I used Quick reference to type the text, (by dropping the cards on the button in the bar). So I do not have to seek where is the place of a card in the scrivenings.

Example of use

Mini refactoring

Here is the example of a mini refactoring. Here, I realize discussing alternatives is better done later than just in the introduction , and I want to keep the introduction focused. The two cards selected (blue borders) move from the introduction to later on in the text. Just a mouse movement. Easy.



Major refactoring

Here is the example of a major refactoring. I realised I was telling two stories at the same time, and this would be better for clarity to split in two posts. So I marked the one to split out with a label, and after moved them out. Note how it looks simpler after ! Also imagine how deeply this would have changed the text if this decision would have been taken not at Design phase, but after Redacting… plus the Emotional cost, which would surely have put me off the flow…



Tip 1: Activated the view / Use label color in index card).

Tip 2: Duplicate a folder before a major refactoring, just in case. Duplication copy the cards and the corkboard position.


Do I feel my workflow improved ? Yes . Is it Perfect yet ? No.
Lets see Why.

  • I found the conception / planning of the story vastly improved with corkboard and cards. Writing the essence of an idea on a card and jumping to the next enable my speedy mind to stay in the flow.

Tip : I use cmd-N to get a get card next to the current one, and keep my fingers on the keyboard. (Mousing away side track me, as my eyes move somewhere else, and my attention with it)

  • I found the redacting of the text less frustrating, as I get a sense of focus by using the Quick reference, and a sense of completion/progress by using the status and see the red label progressing across the board . This is especially true when resuming after interuption.


  • The publishing is trivial but not transparent. Compile for Markdown, Open the resulting text file copy and paste into WP (or MarsEdit when offline ). This is not complicated, however it is not transparent enough not to halt the flow. I try not to do it too often. A dropbox copy of the file to the post would be superb.

  • Image: This is not good at all. This stop the flow, fully. The problem is to have not just image, but clickable thumbnail. So images have to be uploaded by the WP interface, and get back the url, by inserting the media in the post, and paste back the url snippet into scrivener. I haven’t found a better solution yet. However, acceptable when managed.


The main objective was to experiment with the corkboard for the conception, as an alternative to mindmapping, or taskpaper, and stay in the flow.
I found it is reached.
I also felt an improvement in productivity and focus, during the redacting.

This experiment was in fact a test case for mode-thinking, during the conception process. I will develop this in a separate post.

Presentation Introducing to Diffusion of Innovation, with Sociology Patterns and Haskell

Just found (out of Serendipity) an Interesting presentation ( video plus slides) introducing to Diffusion of Innovation with Sociology / Social Patterns, mentioning several times Haskell. Good introduction to a mix of techniques for whoever interested in Haskell proselytism, and go to market strategy, drawing from Change management and Technology adoption lifecycle / Tipping Point, etc, in a pragmatic way.

The « switching cost » approach (perceived adopted gain / perceived adopted pain >1 ) [Coburn] [15] introduced at 00:50 , is interesting to show where you can try to lower the pain, or augment the perceived gain. I now understand better the effort of those trying to explain monads in C++ , or Edsl in Scale/ Java, etc, i.e. lower the denominator.

It also reminded me of the Beckard formula for change, saying in a nutshell that you not only need to be dissatisfied with the present situation to commit to a change, but also perceived HOW to change it, ie have a vision , and what are the next steps … ( Exactly what this site is about..)

Adapted Beckard Change Model
]4 Adapted Beckard Change Model

more links and details in a paper on Leo A. Meyerovich site :

  • [Leo A. Meyerovich and Ariel S. Rabkin. Socio-PLT: Sociological Principles for Programming Language Adoption. Onward! 2012]
  • [http://www.infoq.com/presentations/Socio-PLT]

By the way, who could point some prior work listing the benefits of Haskell ? ( FP/ HOF, type safety, EDSL..) and possibly pain points for starters ? anybody interested in a (serious) discussion on these, to feed a strategy ?

[15] P. Coburn. The Change Function: Why Some Technologies Take Off and Others Crash and Burn. Portfolio Hardcover, 2006.

Barriers, a technique to seed Product Innovation

Roman uses the word barriers on his Product Vision Board. The Intuition came to me to use this word barriers slighly differently, as follows:

  • A User aims at an objective , and barriers are what prevent to reach it (easily, with flow).
  • A product become then something that lower this barrier, a helper.
  • The value of the product become then the reduced cost of the effort 1 ProductAsReplacementValue

This bring potential to investigate products, and figure value as such:

  • Given a User and an objective,
  • List the barriers that could prevent / slow down reaching this objective.
  • Find the solutions that could enable/ ease the path to the objective, take the optimal one, and turn is into a product.
  • The value of this product would then be the cost of effort that is spared (minus the cost of the solution).

This is somewhat the reverse ( but complementary) practice of finding target group of users for one product. Here we start from the user, and his objective, and find which product may help him overcoming the barriers.

  1. this is known in accounting as cost of replacement, or replacement value. 

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