It is often said that organisations are full of paradoxes. But this refers to contradictions and tensions. It is understood as something that needs to be taken care of. When organisations are looked at as social systems, however, it becomes clear that they are only possible because of paradoxes, and particularly paradoxes of self-reference. Understanding how these paradoxes create and maintain organisations is an important skill for practitioners... Read more
This session looks at organizational crisis – one that poses an existential threat to an organization, and at the VSM conditions, which can be used to understand and predict such organisational crises. The findings of a quantitative phd-study with 135 organizations shows that the (absence of) system viability is significantly and strongly connected with the occurrence of Organisational crisis. We discuss the limitations, implications and conseque... Read more
This will be an interactive workshop session. I give first-person inquiry (critical self-reflection/reflexion) prominence alongside second and third person inquiry, and I express the emotional experience of being in a research process. I thus avoid the ‘severed head’ syndrome (abstracted rational thinking) advocated in the Academy, which demands the partial or total separation of the Self from the research process, and rational inquiry from the... Read more
Sooner or later, most Agile teams find that it’s hard to sustain change, and harder to still to encourage the wider organisation to change with it. How about we turned it upside down, inverting the organisational pyramid so that supporting change becomes the organisation’s responsibility? How might we make that work?
Mind the Gap! The missing body of knowledge and methodology for assessing peoples’ systems thinking capability
Both the academic and corporate literature recognise the value of systems thinking in helping today’s decision makers address the socially complex and dynamic challenges they face. However, as systems thinking is an emerging professional practice there are a number of requirements for a body of knowledge to enable organisations and decision makers to develop staff, or access external resources, that have the requisite knowledge and skills. Speci... Read more
The pain, the potential and the need for paracetamol: bringing systems thinking to complex soft systems for vulnerable people
Wiltshire Council has been using systems thinking as its improvement approach for eleven years; over that time the council has applied the approach with its principal delivery partners in increasingly large systems. One reason for this evolution is that the approach has proved better at tackling complex ‘hard to solve’ problems than other methods (which often did the opposite). Over the last 18 months, we have focused our keenest attention on wh... Read more
Peter will provide insights from the use System Dynamics modelling over a 20yr career in health and social care consultancy. He will provide people with a walk through of some existing models (see here) and explore some of the pitfalls and benefits of the approach. There will be an opportunity to explore both quantitative and qualitative elements of systems and how they feature in SD modelling against a background of the culture and expectation... Read more
In elite sport recognition skills, pattern recall and decision-making are critical success skills that impact the outcome of a game. How good the decisions are, is determined not only by the quality of information available and the quality experience athletes draw or on the athlete’s self interest, memory and outside stimulus but the relationship between the coach and the athlete. The hockey coach / athlete relationship can be visualized as a cy... Read more
Jonathan will talk about his experiences in designing and managing IT led transformations that use a combination of both waterfall and agile approaches and the issues of dealing with these two very different project methodologies in parallel.
As companies increasingly need to collaborate to deliver large projects, and as the world of work gets evermore complex with short-term contracts and the ‘gig economy’, it is getting harder to structure organisations that are fit for purpose and adaptive to changing needs. In this session Alexandra will share with us her experience and some of the ideas and tools she has developed to work systemically in organisation design and think about questi... Read more