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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
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
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
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
Video
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