SCiO Open Meeting – Spring 2019, Manchester, Mon 8 Apr 2019 at 09:30


Source: SCiO Open Meeting – Spring 2019, Manchester (All Welcome) Tickets, Mon 8 Apr 2019 at 09:30 | Eventbrite


APR 08

SCiO Open Meeting – Spring 2019, Manchester (All Welcome)

by SCiO – Systems and Complexity in Organisation


An open meeting where a series of presentations of general interest regarding systems practice will be given – this will include ‘craft’ and active sessions, as well as introductions to theory. Please note that the meeting has moved ‘back’ into the new main MBS building.

Session: Keekok Lee; Why 21st century is the century of Systems Thinking

This talk examines System Thinking by exploring the following themes:

  1. System Thinking is embedded within a philosophical framework which is totally different from that of so-called “standard thinking” found in what may be called the Newtonian sciences, such as classical physics, DNA/ molecular biology, the monogenic conception of disease in Biomedicine, and so on.
    2. Modern science beginning in the 17th century in Western Europe (which was/is Newtonian) suffered a rupture in its philosophical orientation at least thrice in the 20th century: quantum physics from the 1920s onwards, the establishment of ecology as well as the emergence of Epidemiology as proper scientific disciplines in the last century, the former at the end of WWII and the latter in the last quarter of the 20th century. The 21st century may well turn out to be the century of Systems Thinking, of the triumph of non-/not-Newtonian sciences.
    3. The oldest form of Systems Thinking in world history may be found inThe Yijing/I Chingas well as in Classical Chinese Medicine whose foundation rests on the insights of The Yijing/I Ching, the most well-known is the iconic Yinyang symbol. These basic insights include: Process-ontology, Wholism, non-linear/multi-factorial causality.
    4. In my opinion, Systems Thinking could more tellingly be re-labelled “Ecosystem Thinking” as any phenomenon under study could best be portrayed as a nesting of ecosystems, the smaller within a larger. The benefit of this new presentation of data will be illustrated by one particular example from Classical Chinese Medicine.

Session: Ray Ison; How is Systemic Change different?

Claims are frequently made about changing THE system. Many talk about Whole System change. Then there is systematic change as well as systemic change. What do practitioners do when they engage, or claim that they engage, with these types of change? What are the elements of systemic praxis (theory informed practical action)? What are the implications for the use of methods and methodologies? And for situational change which constitutes an improvement? Ray will draw on his experiences of designing successful modules within the STiP (systems thinking in practice) program at the Open University as well as his own research/consultancy praxis to explore what it means to become a reflexive practitioner of systemic change.

Session: Robin Stowell; From Perilous Ignorance to Autonomous Safety

If your occupational health and safety policy states a commitment to providing a safe workplace, reporting accidents, continual improvement etc. have you considered this from a cybernetic viewpoint?
Most organisations govern their safety management by trying to achieve Zero Harm through implementing corporate risk assessments, but accidents still happen, and management hunts down someone to blame for poor safety statistics on the management review dashboard. The system hasn’t failed, it is doing what it has been designed (and allowed) to do. How do the requirements of safety management system standards integrate into the Viable System Model?
Variety, and in particular the requisite variety needed in operations to counter unwanted states in the local environment (accidents), has never been considered before from a safety perspective. This presentation will propose that requisite variety of an individual worker can be directly equated to competence, and furthermore through assessment of the person-task it provides the basis for a real-time safety performance monitoring and control mechanism

Session: Ian Kendrick: Three Horizons – Concept & Practice

details to be provided.

Mon, 8 April 2019 09:30 – 17:00 BST

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Rm 3.008, Alliance Manchester Business School, Booth Street West, Manchester M15 6PB

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OrganiserSCiO – Systems And Complexity In Organisation

Organiser of SCiO Open Meeting – Spring 2019, Manchester (All Welcome)

SCiO is a group for systems practitioners and is based in the UK, but has members internationally.

Two of the features that distinguish SCiO from other systems groups are that it is focused primarily on systems practice and practitioners rather than on pure theory and that it is focused on systems practice applied to issues of organisation.

It has three main objectives:
Developing practice in applying systems ideas to a range of organisational issues.
Disseminating the use of systems approaches in dealing with organisational issues.
Supporting practitioners in their professional practice.
SCiO is a social enterprise and a not for profit organisation which is owned by its members.

Provenance and Purpose.
Created initally by a network of practitioners in the North of England, SCiO acts as an extra channel for disseminating to others their experience of practical applications, education and research in complex problem solving. The name stands for ‘Systems and Complexity in Organisation’ but can also be thought of as short for the ‘Science of Organisation’.

Over the last sixty years the new disciplines of ‘Systems Thinking’ and ‘Managerial Cybernetics’ have emerged. The new thinking started from the consideration of complex problems faced during the Second World War; then later in the 1970’s the same patterns of thinking emerged with the new awareness of the complexity of ecological problems. The ideas developed and spread into other areas of science and in particular into management. In the last thirty years new insights and understanding have developed in the way to approach apparently intractable problems in many areas.

At this time the terms ‘whole systems approach’ and ‘systems thinking’ seem to be appearing more frequently in published policy documents and guidance on best practice in the United Kingdom and elsewhere, such as in the UK National Health Service; in documents on public health, sustainable communities, in education, in considerations of the environment, and in corporate governance.

The members of SCiO believe that the use of systems thinking and managerial cybernetics can have major impacts on the well-being of our communities, and our business and social organisations.

A manifesto of interdisciplinarity

Integration and Implementation Insights

Community member post by Rick Szostak

Rick Szostak (biography)

Is there a shared understanding of what interdisciplinarity is and how (and why) it is best pursued that can be used by the international community of scholars of interdisciplinarity, to both advocate for and encourage interdisciplinary scholarship? Is there consensus on what we are trying to achieve and how this is best done that can form the basis of cogent advice to interdisciplinary teachers and researchers regarding strategies that have proven successful in the past?

I propose a ‘Manifesto of Interdisciplinarity’ with nine brief points, as listed below. These are drawn from the original version at:, where key points are linked to more extended conversations, which in turn are linked to the wider literature. The nine points address what interdisciplinarity is, why it is important, and how it is best pursued.

The Manifesto

  1. The essential feature of…

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Full Stack Systems Thinking

Make 10 Louder

Full Stack

I’ve figured out a name for what I do. It’s Full Stack Systems. It’s important to have a name for things, so we can notice them, and can choose to notice them. I’ve borrowed Full Stack from the IT term Full Stack Developer, meaning someone with the skills to program back end and front end systems, and who understands the full delivery model of their work.

Full Stack Systems Thinking looks at the connections between things as much as the things themselves. It looks at patterns, emergence, interconnectedness and other systemic stuff.

Going up the stack

  • Knowing Myself, knowing the patterns I use, the internal dramas I have
  • Understanding the way groups interact at their best and worst, and how they can work in curiosity or contempt
  • Challenging my own and others Theories in Use and Theories in Practice
  • Seeing how groups interact, and the patterns and drama…

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Jeff at Kumu has a newsletter – and a podcast! This Month at Kumu: In Too Deep Podcast | Quick Tips | System Mapping Webinar – systems mapping

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In Too Deep PodcastNew Episodes

This month we have two new interviews on the In Too Deep podcast with Sam Rye and Luke Craven that you won’t want to miss.

In our conversation with Sam Rye we touch on a variety of topics – from the role of nature in encouraging greater presence, the importance of an experimental focus, how to combine systems analysis, strategy and prototyping, and why we need to focus far more on relationships.

Luke Craven shares his systems effects methodology, some of the challenges in traditional systems mapping, and secrets for how to bring more of a user understanding of complex systems into social science and policy making practice.

And if you missed our first four episodes, you can listen to them here or search for “In Too Deep” wherever you get your podcasts.

Quick Tips

If you’ve browsed the Kumu docs, you might have stumbled across our Quick Tips, a playlist of 2-5 minute video tutorials on different Kumu concepts and skills. We recently started recording more quick tips; here are some of the latest entries:

Webinar: Mapping the News

Ever read a complex news article and felt like you didn’t quite grasp all the details? Alex (head of customer support at Kumu) has, and he’s come up with a solution: turn the article into a system map!

In a webinar on Tuesday, April 23 at 10am PDT, Alex will demo his approach to mapping articles and talk through some of our thoughts on how to make system maps more readable and approachable. Here are a few resources if you want to dive in ahead of time:

Embodied Dyadic Interaction Increases Complexity of Neural Dynamics: A Minimal Agent-Based Simulation Model

Complexity Digest

The concept of social interaction is at the core of embodied and enactive approaches to social cognitive processes, yet scientifically it remains poorly understood. Traditionally, cognitive science had relegated all behavior to being the end result of internal neural activity. However, the role of feedback from the interactions between agent and their environment has become increasingly important to understanding behavior. We focus on the role that social interaction plays in the behavioral and neural activity of the individuals taking part in it. Is social interaction merely a source of complex inputs to the individual, or can social interaction increase the individuals’ own complexity? Here we provide a proof of concept of the latter possibility by artificially evolving pairs of simulated mobile robots to increase their neural complexity, which consistently gave rise to strategies that take advantage of their capacity for interaction. We found that during social interaction, the neural controllers…

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The hipster effect: Why anti-conformists always end up looking the same – MIT Technology Review

via Complexity Digest

Source: The hipster effect: Why anti-conformists always end up looking the same – MIT Technology Review


The hipster effect: Why anti-conformists always end up looking the same

Complexity science explains why efforts to reject the mainstream merely result in a new conformity.

And yet when you finally reveal your new look to the world, it turns out you are not alone—millions of others have made exactly the same choices. Indeed, you all look more or less identical, the exact opposite of the countercultural statement you wanted to achieve.

This is the hipster effect—the counterintuitive phenomenon in which people who oppose mainstream culture all end up looking the same. Similar effects occur among investors and in other areas of the social sciences.

How does this kind of synchronization occur? Is it inevitable in modern society, and are there ways for people to be genuinely different from the masses?

Today we get some answers thanks to the work of Jonathan Touboul at Brandeis University in Massachusetts. Touboul is a mathematician who studies the way the transmission of information through society influences the behavior of people within it. He focuses in particular on a society composed of conformists who copy the majority and anticonformists, or hipsters, who do the opposite.

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And his conclusion is that in a vast range of scenarios, the hipster population always undergoes a kind of phase transition in which members become synchronized with each other in opposing the mainstream. In other words, the hipster effect is the inevitable outcome of the behavior of large numbers of people.

Crucially, Toubol’s model takes into account the time needed for each individual to detect changes in society and to react accordingly. This delay is important. People do not react instantly when a new, highly fashionable pair of shoes becomes available. Instead, the information spreads slowly via fashion websites, word of mouth, and so on. This propagation delay is different for individuals, some of whom may follow fashion blogs religiously while others have no access to them and have to rely on word of mouth.

The question that Touboul investigates is under what circumstances hipsters become synchronized and how this varies as the propagation delay and the proportion of hipsters both change. He does this by creating a computer model that simulates how agents interact when some follow the majority and the rest oppose it.

This simple model generates some fantastically complex behaviors. In general, Touboul says, the population of hipsters initially act randomly but then undergo a phase transition into a synchronized state. He finds that this happens for a wide range of parameters but that the behavior can become extremely complex, depending on the way hipsters interact with conformists.

There are some surprising outcomes, too. When there are equal proportions of hipsters and conformists, the entire population tends to switch randomly between different trends. Why isn’t clear, and Touboul wants to study this in more detail.

It can be objected that the synchronization stems from the simplicity of scenarios offering a binary choice. “For example, if a majority of individuals shave their beard, then most hipsters will want to grow a beard, and if this trend propagates to a majority of the population, it will lead to new, synchronized, switch to shaving,” says Touboul.

It’s easy to imagine a different outcome if there are more choices. If hipsters could grow a mustache, a square beard, or a goatee, for example, then perhaps this diversity of choice would prevent synchronization. But Touboul has found that when his model offers more than two choices, it still produces the synchronization effect.

Nevertheless, he wants to study this further. “We will study in depth this question in a forthcoming paper,” he says.

Hipsters are an easy target for a bit of fun, but the results have much wider applicability. For example, they could be useful for understanding financial systems in which speculators attempt to make money by taking decisions that oppose the majority in a stock exchange.

Indeed, there are many areas in which delays in the propagation of information play an important role: As Touboul puts it: “Beyond the choice of the best suit to wear this winter, this study may have important implications in understanding synchronization of nerve cells, investment strategies in finance, or emergent dynamics in social science.”

Ref: : The Hipster Effect: When Anti-Conformists All Look the Same

ISSS conference2019, Oregon State University, Corvallis, Oregon, USA 28 JUNE – 2 JULY 2019| International Society for the Systems Sciences

Source: ISSS2019, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR. | International Society for the Systems Sciences=




An Invitation to the 63rd Annual Meeting from ISSS President Peter Tuddenham

Registration is now open. The conference website is located at

​Science searches for answers to the mysteries that confront us as living beings. For over 60 years, the work of the International Society for the Systems Sciences (ISSS) in the ‘general systems’ field has been to encourage the development of theoretical systems which are applicable to more than one of the traditional departments of knowledge.Recognizing our embeddedness in nature provides ways to investigate the common patterns or ‘isomorphies’ of concepts, laws, and models in various fields, and to help in useful transfers from one field to another.  Understanding and appreciating these patterns is key to the development of systems-literate people able to make robust decisions and act in complex situations, considering relationships and effects of systems of all kinds and at all levels.

As President of the International Society for the Systems Sciences I would like to invite you to join us at our 63rd Annual Meeting and Conference “Nature’s Enduring Patterns: A Path to Systems Literacy” at Oregon State University In Corvallis Oregon USA June 28-July 2. Registration is now open, as is the system for submitting abstracts of work you would like to present at the annual meeting. The conference website is located at

Call for Papers

Please go to to register for the Conference.  We invite you submit your work at the conference; there are many streams available, led by chairs of our special integration groups and exploratory groups. And we also invite submissions for additional sessions and workshops. The Call for submissions is located at and full details on submitting an abstract (and paper) are listed at Papers are published in our online Proceedings, and submissions processed, at

The conference will have opportunities for plenary participative engagement using ideas from Liberating Structures   and other participative processes. Conference speakers  are from diverse fields of study and application. We will begin by exploring different ways of knowing on the first day. Speakers with education experience in earth, ocean, climate and network topics will discuss successful approaches to literacy, also we will be joined by colleagues from the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and Geoscience, Data, and Network programs from Organizations and Universities around the world. They will share their experiences with connections between climate and ocean acidification and plastic pollution with system education, change efforts around the globe and the importance of Systems Literacy for all. Speakers will include former ISSS Presidents Mike Jackson, Jennifer Wilby and Len Troncale (who will deliver the Von Bertalanffy lecture). Pille Bunnell will deliver the Ranulph Glanville Lecture.


This email is going to the nearly 2500 people on our ISSS mailing list with news about developments last year and the first couple of months of 2019.  This year promises to be an exciting new year in the continuing evolution of our society to connect members around the world, and to represent, research, educate and communicate about systems sciences, thinking, theories, methods, and approaches.

In December we launched a members-only website at  Please join and log on to create your profile. We invite you to join or re-join the ISSS by going to  You will be able to find other members in the membership directory on that site, which will help our networking together. We also use this website for member-to-member communication.  The society’s main information website is still at

Online SIG Discussion Group: In December 2018, we started a Special Integration Group Session on Saturdays through video conferencing on the Bluejeans system. These conversations are an hour long and offered twice every Saturday at 11am and 11pm Eastern time USA. That is 4pm Saturday and 4am Sunday in the UK and 3am and 3pm Sunday in Australia, for example. These sessions are for members only. More information on this is at  You will need to be a member to login and read the details, get the link to join future sessions, and view recordings of sessions so far.

Links with other Societies: Among several cooperative Memorandum of Understandings held by ISSS is the one with the International Council on Systems Engineering (INCOSE) to co-develop understanding of systems sciences for systems engineering. Many of us participate in the Systems Science Working Group of INCOSE. I was asked by the Chair of the SSWG James Martin to give a talk on the Grand Vision for Systems Sciences at the recent INCOSE International Workshop in Torrance California. I have recorded a version of the presentation I gave for the web which can be viewed at  It runs for 30 minutes. At the same INCOSE IW meeting we had  a 3-hour workshop on Systems Literacy. That work continues and we hope to develop this topic more over coming months. Please join the efforts. More can be read at  Systems Literacy is a major theme for this year’s 2019 Annual Meeting and Conference at Oregon State University, June 28 – July 2. Please put us on your calendar.

AAAS: ISSS began life as meetings at the American Association for the Advancement of Science  Last year ISSS regained and renewed its affiliation with AAAS. The annual meeting of AAAS in Washington, D.C. was attended by Jennifer Wilby, VP Admin, Janet and Michael Singer (ISSS members) and myself. During those four days, I made a couple of 2-minute videos about our visit and these can be viewed at   We are planning on having a larger presence at next year’s AAAS meeting. Are you interested in working with us on proposals for sessions? The deadline is April 18, 2019. Next year’s meeting is in Seattle.

There are many other plans in the making bubbling along that we can communicate more about in the next few months. Please log on to the website, join or renew your membership in ISSS and meet with us in the SIG conversations on Saturdays. And we hope to meet many of you face-to-face at the Annual Meeting in Corvallis

In ending, I urge you to please consider, and communicate to us, ways in which you can contribute to help build our Society into a worldwide resource and hub for the systems community at large. Our email for conference communication is and you can email me directly at

Thank you

Peter Tuddenham

President ISSS 2018-2019