SCiO Open Meeting – January 20, 2020, London UK, 09:30-17:00, just £20

book at


Source: Open Meeting – Winter 2019/20 | SCiO

Open Meeting – Winter 2019/20

London, UK
Monday, January 20, 2020
09:30 – 17:00, London

A packed and exciting-looking SCiO 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. More information and book on Eventbrite at:…

Starts at 09:30 – ‘introduction to the viable system model’. Main presentations start at 10:00 with …

Session 1 (Gareth Evans) – Thinking in Systems – Friend or Foe

Systems have formed a significant part of science over many-a-year… scholars such as; Ludwig von Bertalanffy, Peter Checkland, Ross Ashby, Russell Ackoff, Stafford Beer and many more have discussed, debated and placed front and centre the importance of not just thinking ‘systemically’ but also being, acting and doing ‘systemically’. Many have revealed and evidenced the magic and impact of ‘Thinking Systemically’ across industry, albeit some have also found it less than accessible for the wider community. What I’m curious to explore: Is ‘Systems Thinking’ too bound in academic theory to the extent that it is either too widely misunderstood, misinterpreted or just purely too impractical to adopt across a wider field of professional practice due to the levels of understanding and practical wisdom that currently exists. Therefore, Is ‘Systems Thinking’, a friend or foe?

Session 2 (Angus Jenkinson) – Are Viable Companies Alive? Does it Matter?

The Viable System Model is one of the key capabilities that SCiO has focused on. It’s an implementation of cybernetics. “Viable system” suggests living system — and vibrant systems feel alive. Are they? Can organisations be organisms? And what difference would that make? This questions our questions and stimulates provocations. At a time when science is regenerating, does management need to as the same? If we start thinking organically, how many of our mechanistic systems assumptions do we have to challenge? What happens to the design of change or strategy or control` if an organisation is organic? What does it mean for identity, policy, and policies?

Lunch, then …

Session 3 (Rowena Davis) – Systems-Centered® – Working with Differences Differently

In common with all living human systems, organisations need differences to develop and transform. And yet, in organisations, as in all living human systems, we often dismiss, attack or try to convert differences. Indeed, we are primed neurologically to do this – our Flight, Fight, Freeze responses. Agazarian’s systems-centered method of functional subgrouping offers a way to lower our reactivity to differences, and to increase our capacity to stay open and curious in the face of the unknown and problem-solve. Rowena Davis will give an overview of Agazarian’s Theory of Living Human Systems (TLHS), including how boundaries open to similarity and close to difference and how the context we are part of impacts on our ability to work functionally in our roles. We will practise the core Systems-centered method of functional subgrouping and review the systems-centered map of phases of team development to make sense of organisational dynamics.

Session 4 (Patrick Hoverstadt) – Systems and Strategy War Rooms

The talk will look at the underlying concepts, design and practice of War Rooms as decision environments for dealing with complex and fast moving situations. Starting with Blackett’s invention of the War Room, through Beer’s Cybersyn to the work we are currently engaged on and its use with client in tackling complex strategic issues. We’ll talk through the difference current technology offers and the different ways our modern War Rooms can be used.

Source: Open Meeting – Winter 2019/20 | SCiO