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Stemming from the Enlightenment period, science has come to be viewed as the best way to establish truth from an objective standpoint. In its quest for the black and white outcomes of “guilty/not guilty”, it is perhaps not surprising that the legal system has become affected by the dominant reductionist narrative of positivism. Positivist politics have been enforced though both the technicalities of law and the details of legal procedures that ha... Read more
Video
A talk describing an investigation into ITIL and IT service management from a systems perspective - particularly making use of the viable systems model.
This will be a practical session on visualising systems in ways that other people can understand. If “all models are wrong but some are useful”, we propose that some of this usefulness comes down to how meaningful the model is to those who didn’t create it. If you have ever built an elegant, powerful, predictive model of a system that excited little or no interest from the people affected by it, then this workshop is for you! You can apply the p... Read more
An introduction to the viable system model.
Gregory Bateson’s influence reaches deep into the fabric of NLP which can be defined in essence as ‘the study of the structure of subjective experience’. All its major techniques are based on cybernetic principles. We will explore some key systemic NLP concepts and what these might offer the conversation between the inner world of the individual and the larger systems that form its life conditions. We might also explore why Bateson developed a cl... Read more
Presentation
We refer to 'healthcare' as a system, suggestive of structures and boundaries.  What can we take health to mean beyond healthcare?  Are our efforts to create 'person centred healthcare' simply a matter of re-drawing organisational charts with patients at the middle?  If we define patient as a person in the care of a health professional, are we increasing reliance on a system geared toward the treatment of illness?  If we assume free supply is met... Read more
In this session, I wish to explore 3 themes (1) the nature of 'thinking systemically' (2) the role of critical reflection in thinking systemically (3) the interplay between use of diagramming, critical reflection and thinking systemically. The approach will be a mix of presentation and participant discussion. I will present some of my own thoughts on each theme, and at intervals ask participants to consider this input and discuss their views on ... Read more
An introduction to the viable system model (VSM).
The fourth industrial revolution is powered by cognitive computing, which automates many aspects of the human intellect. Algorithms are increasingly capable of identifying connections, patterns and co-evolution in big data, enabling us to make sense from a systemic perspective. At the same time complexity is paralyzing innovation in ecosystems. It is more and more difficult to describe interconnections between parts of an eco-system and while ind... Read more
An introduction to the viable system model.(partial video)
Video
Mike is a currently a consultant supporting ‘transformational’ projects in UK local government.  His previous career has included roles in the Civil Service, Higher Education and a range of Local Authorities, including as Head of Performance & Risk at Swindon Council and Senior Business Change Manager at Trafford Council.  Mike has also followed the well-trodden path of the Open University STiP course, due to complete the MSc this April. Mik... Read more
Natalie Marguet is currently a PhD student at Alliance Manchester Business School.  The session focuses on an emergent and unexpected finding of her PhD that is aligned with VSM. Her PhD uses Personal Construct Theory and organisational sensemaking to explore the ways that decision are actually made within organisations. The research considers three interconnected levels of decision making (individual, group and organisation) and utilises a  lon... Read more
Video
Miles Davis merely changed the face of music 4 or 5 times in his career. To be a successful jazz musician and leader is a challenge; to sustain that over more than 30 years is astonishing. He was an indifferent trumpet player and had a reputation as a difficult and arrogant performer. (His controversial personal life has also come under attack, but that falls outside the scope of this work.) Yet aspiring jazz musicians dreamt of playing with him,... Read more
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Adoption of systems thinking and systems approaches in a hierarchical public sector organisation such as defence can be challenging. The Systems of Systems Approach (SOSA) change programme has spent the last 5 years trying to help the MoD tackle complex problems and improve coherency across defence. This presentation will be an interactive discussion on the application of Systems Approaches and how we communicate them to a non-expert audience in ... Read more
Patterns of Strategy has been described as: “the first major new approach to strategy in a long time.”* It is also the first systems approach developed specifically for understanding and formulating strategy. This extended session will introduce the Patterns of Strategy approach, some of the systems theory behind it and then we’ll move into a practical workshop where the participants will use the approach working in groups on strategic issues of... Read more
An introduction to the viable system model.
Mike Haber, a University IT Team Leader, and Tim James, a Health Care Commissioner, met at a recent SCiO Development Day and discovered they were independently leading Systems Thinking focussed workplace learning groups. In a time of tight or non-existent training budgets, both have tapped into a real appetite for bottom-up informal learning groups. They have also found a particular thirst among their colleagues for learning about genuine approa... Read more
Presentation
An introduction to the viable system model.
Organisations often see training as an important way to improve individual and team performance, but may fail to consider how training relates to broader organisational issues affecting performance, or how it may complement ongoing informal learning activities. Systems thinking as a broader concept provides a useful way of identifying how training can be designed so that it supports individual and team performance more effectively. Tools such as ... Read more
In this talk Angela will provide a brief review of development of complex systems approaches to management and sustainability research. In particular she will brief the ‘Viability and Sustainability (V&S)’ approach, its methodologies, tools and some recent applications. Then she will summarise the theory offered by the Complex Adaptive Systems approach to this research field, and reflect on examples of application. A comparison among cases st... Read more
Video
How do we regulate ourselves in practice? How do we bring elegance and aesthetics to our work? How can single double and triple loop learning prompt greater reflexivity in practice? How can we embody theoretical knowledge in a way that encompasses all our being and act with deep awareness? How do we ensure that the quality of the interventions we make are enhanced by an awareness of our internal states? This presentation will draw on a recent stu... Read more
Presentation
Richard will give an introduction to the constellations methodology used in 1:1 coaching and with organisations to explore underlying dynamics of systems. It will include an experiential element. The technique was originally devised within psychotherapy and now has a wide range of applications. Richard will explain the CareStellations structural approach that he is developing specifically for the care and health sector. Richard Pantlin is an ind... Read more
Benjamin will give a flying overview and critique some perspectives on 'system(s) leadership', including: - collaborative leadership and influencing models - living systems - 'whole systems' and large group methods - systems leadership theory - Barry Oshry's power+systems approach - adaptive leadership - leading in complexity - approaches based on behavioural and cognitive insights - approaches based on the viable systems model (and Patrick Hover... Read more
We live in a world of digital transformation, where ongoing change is disrupting organisations and business models. It is challenging and disrupting us as leaders or agents of change. It can inspire a pioneer mindset, to be excited and energized to find and build the future. It can be stressful, with too much to do, and too little time. It’s a VUCA world - volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous. In his talk, Willson will take a fresh look at... Read more
The talk will reprise themes associated with a number of international addresses given in 2016 that address the question of what does the field of cybersystemics have to offer for governing in the Anthropocene? A response to this question entails examining how the concept 'system' has gone feral and its implications as well as what a field of cybersystemics might look like, and why? Through groundings in his own research Ray will explore what way... Read more
Presentation
CSH and VSM derive from quite separate rich traditions of systems thinking, each with enigmatic original champions - C.West Churchman and Stafford Beer respetively. This session will open space to explore common and divergent lineages, challenges, and opportunities of each approach for the future prospects and developments of promoting systemic praxis in the Anthropocene. A particular focus will be on the peculiar capacity of both traditions to b... Read more
This talk will look at some of the symptoms of a democracy that is clearly under attack; some of the toxins that are attacking it and some systemic solutions that offer an antidote and that will help restore it. Bay Jordan, Director of Zealise Limited is the author of several books including, "Lean Organisations Need FAT People" and "The Democracy Delusion: How to Restore True Democracy and Stop Being Duped." Bay is a Chartered Accoutant with f... Read more
This is a talk about systemic methods in practice. Roger and Jane have been addressing the architecture for future GB electrical power systems in various ways over the last three years. This talk will bring SCiO up to date on progress since their previous SCiO talk, in October 2013, on a distributed electricity architecture. They will address their experiences of grounding a wholly systemic approach and the learning which has ensued. Topics will... Read more
Presentation
A brief introduction to the viable system model.
I would like to propose a new word for 'System' that refers specifically to living systems – that is, to systems composed of living vitae, which emerge from their communications and interactions. The expression and communication of interdependency and, particularly, mutual learning should be implicit in the term. The existing word, 'system', while useful for discussion of many kinds of systems, does not communicate contextual fields of simultane... Read more
Video
We live in a VUCA world - volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous. Meanwhile, the impact of climate change, conflict, globalisation, economic and social shifts means that change can come fast, be hard to predict and lead to emerging and unexpected outcomes to markets and contexts. Meanwhile, due to concerns about budgets, and demonstrating efficacy, the desire to predict, control and measure has never been higher - particularly for the public... Read more
Patrick Hoverstadt is Chair of SCiO and has written extensively about systems thinking and in particular about the Viable Systems Model in his book, The Fractal Organisation. Peter Miles was a director of the Complexity Society and is also a member of SCiO, and has observed that there are strong common themes (although sometimes using different language). SCiO has an outreach programme, and has previously explored this situation with complexity p... Read more
In 2010, the Secretary of State for Defence tasked Lord Levene of Portsoken to carry out an independent root and branch review of how the Ministry of Defence was structured and managed, to address the legacy of overspend and maximise the use of people and resources.  The subsequent 2011 publication of Lord Levene’s ‘Defence Reform’ report, setting a new operating model for the MOD, hailed an unprecedented level of organisational transformation.  ... Read more
Presentation
Businesses have become very efficient at managing individuals in the form of human capital - defined as the skills, knowledge and experience of individual employees within the company. In the past, with relatively stable markets, this was adequate, but the current competitiveness in our markets have put pressures upon our margins as well as the need to respond quicker to our customers. It is therefore no longer sufficient to manage the individual... Read more
Presentation
Peter will give an introduction to Multi Criteria Decision Analysis (MCDA) and Decision Conferencing: what these techniques are used for; where they came from; and how they are used in combination to support collaborative decision-making. Case studies will be used to illustrate real-world applications, including options appraisal, strategic portfolio optimisation and systems engineering. Underlying core principles and methods such as scoring and ... Read more
Presentation
Elizabeth Donnelly was first introduced to systems thinking in 2006 as part of her undergraduate degree with the Open University. Following successful study she was able to introduce elements of systems thinking to her work as the Head of Skills for the aerospace trade association, including an examination of personnel reduction at the Ministry of Defence. In 2013 Elizabeth began an MSc in Systems Thinking in Practice with the OU, which she is du... Read more
Presentation
The interacting forces between the elements of Authentic Enquiry (AE) are not exposed for consideration by the usual linear 8 or 9 stage process.  Paul's experience is that enquiry is non-linear process, involving several loops and iterations before progressing. He proposes that the elements of AE should form a system from which emerges knowledge generation.  Might the nine-fold enneagram device provide inspiration for a more dynamic enquiry met... Read more
  System dynamics (SD) is an approach that enables the behaviour of complex systems to be better understood and simulated.  SD has been extensively applied to studying and managing complex feedback systems, such as business and other social systems, over the last 50 years.  SD models represent changes in system behaviour over time by using the analogy of flows accumulating and depleting over time in stocks.  Often these flows and stocks will be ... Read more
Having spent a working lifetime in and around government in various roles, I became more and more frustrated with its capacity - regardless of the party in power - to produce much beneficial change. I’ve watched able, well-meaning people themselves frustrated by Westminster and Whitehall. With a consultant’s eye it became evident that the problems lay with the system of government - problems common to most democratic countries. Analysing governme... Read more
Barry has a unique understanding of human systems, based on four decades of work with the power lab and the organization workshop, experiential educational programs which have also served as his window into human systems. His presentation will focus on the costs of system blindness and the creative possibilities of system sight. He is the author of seeing systems, leading systems, and in the middle.
  Niki Jobson is a Defence Analyst working for the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory, an agency of the Ministry of Defence. The presentation will cover a number of concepts from Complex Systems Science (so includes some general systems concepts!) and how they were used as tools for thinking in a complex and highly dynamic Defence problem and to challenge existing ways of thinking. A key area of discussion will be the role of adaptation i... Read more
I joined the ICT industry in 1974, teaching COBOL programming. By the early 1990's I had opened the first computer training department at Tesco head office, been a systems programmer, written one of the first database systems to run on the IBM PC, and generally had a lot of fun. But I had also noticed that many of the best paid jobs I had done were on projects that either failed or were barely successful. My experience showed that the issues wer... Read more
Presentation
Angus has a transdisciplinary biography that includes professor, entrepreneur, consultant, writer, meditant and photographer. •        Most businesses have an intentional but inadequate and dysfunctional approach to managing identity. This session will propose that any organism or organization has its own organizational logic, which closes it off from being anything else, and anything else from being it. •        A tool will be sketched that ca... Read more
Presentation
Managing the complexity of the internet-based global market. During the last 20 years, the complexity of the Internet-based global market has increased to such extend that many conventional resource-allocation systems have difficulty in coping with the increased demand/supply dynamics. The talk will focus on new methods for managing complexity of the Internet-based global market based on concepts of adaptability and real-time decision making. Co... Read more
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The public sector is beginning to apply systems thinking to society’s wicked issues.  Through the relatively new profession of commissioning, an emerging culture and set of tools is pushing the boundaries of leadership, service development and the role of the state.  A revolution is afoot. During the discussion we’ll explore the application of systems thinking to local children’s services – What are we here to deliver?  How do we refocus the sys... Read more
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Markets are the ecosystems in which enterprises thrive, survive, and periodically die. A successful enterprise understands its value in the context of the wider environment, and can constantly redesign itself as the ecosystem evolves. Understanding context when designing or re‐designing a structure is one of the fundamental capabilities of any architect. Whether their medium is buildings, landscapes, ships or enterprises, the value of an archite... Read more
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Relational frame theory provides a systemic understanding of human functioning and provides the theoretical basis for acceptance and commitment therapy. With strong links to mindfulness, acceptance and commitment therapy provides a useful way to connect to our own and to others' emotional and relational needs. In the brief theory parts of the session we will look at the basics of the theory and the therapy. In the experiential parts, we will cons... Read more
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This theoretical and experiential session explores the practice of mindfulness and the qualities of intention that may help cultivate a concept of the self as part of a wider interdependent and interconnected system. We will also discuss the role that mindfulness could play in developing adaptive relationships between humans and the natural world. Nadine specialises in mindfulness and nature-based approaches to coaching, facilitation, consultanc... Read more
Document
Driven by market forces, organisations struggle to produce more or better with less. In times of crisis that seems to grow into a condition for survival. And yet, clearing all inefficiencies or not the right ones, could have just the opposite effect. Both organisms and the social systems they create need some excess of variety in any given moment to have requisite variety for their viability in the long run. Ivo will explore various manifestatio... Read more
Presentation
Martin Egan brings more than 15 years of corporate experience in life sciences and healthcare, and experience as consultant with leading international consultancies. Martin Egan manages assessment and diagnostics at Walking the Talk. In this role, he oversees all assessments conducted globally and is responsible for accrediting Walking the Talk practitioners in using the tools. He has been the lead developer of Walking the Talks evidence-based me... Read more
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