Metaphorum Webinars to May 2023, including Jan de Visch on October 5, 2022 and Paul Pangaro on November 4, 2022

Next Wednesday the 5th October, from 5:00 to 6:30 pm (UK summer time), we have our next webinar by Jan De Visch, on ‘Coherent Action: Linking Role and Work Contributions to Each other Through Real-Time Dialogue’. See below details of this webinar. The webinar will be at our usual zoom link:

Topic: Metaphorum’s Webinar Series

See also below, more details of the forthcoming webinars in 2022.

Looking forward to having you with us in this webinar series.

Also . . . . we have been working on the Metaphorum web site and have uploaded several new resources including: links to the Falcondale collection ( both videos and transcripts); the complete recordings of Designing Freedom; a complete bibliography; and access to various ways to draw the VSM.

We hope this will build continuously, so if you have any ideas on the how the web site should develop please get in touch.

Angela Espinosa, Allenna Leonard , Peter Tuddenham, John Waters and Jon Walker

Jan De Visch
Coherent Action: Linking Role and Work Contributions
to Each other Through Real-Time Dialogue.
October the 5th 2022 (5:00- 6:30 pm UK summertime)

“The session focuses on the dialogical dimension of collaborative action. It is argued that within each of the five systems of Stafford Beer, collaborative coherence is characterised by asymmetry. Every team experience downward momentum, which pushes destabilisation away to the familiar and unambiguous, while upward momentum develops further, tests, and supplements new ideas. An oscillation toward and away from important focal ideas is seen as a constituent of how coherent action arises: there is a continuous dance between upward and downward dynamics. Finally, the session proposes ways to facilitate and enhance dialogue processes to develop real co-intelligence.

The ideas build on the best scientific research on individual, team, and organisational development. The findings reveal the relationship between system design complexity (which differs depending on the stratification level) and how individuals interpret those challenges. Perspective-taking determines how Stafford Beer’s five systems unfold in practice. Differences in perspective-taking determine how collaborative thinking in the designed systems occurs practically and with or without breadth and depth. Jan will illustrate the dynamics with two examples from actual recent organisational development projects.”

Jan is an Exec. Professor Organizational and Human Capital Management at the Entrepreneurial MBA at Flanders Business School (by Catholic University Leuven), since 2004. He does applied research on the relationship between dialogical practices, collaborative structures, and collaborative intelligence in organisations.

His recent publications (books based on research, full overview of 115 articles and 11 books available on demand) include several recent books on Dynamic Collaboration, Self-organisation, and Collaborative Intelligence (2018 -2022).

He is the founder and managing director of Connect & Transform BVBA (Belgium), since 2000 (; Co-founder and managing partner of Making Strategy Deliver (USA, Florida), since 2011 (; Co-Founder & Chief Ecosystem Officer Dynamic Collaboration App (since 2018) ( .

Jan is the President of the Belgian Chapter of the “Systems & Complexity in Organisations” network (since 2019), and Board Member of several international research groups (Canada, USA). He was President of the Board for ‘De Beitel’, social economy company, (2003-2010); Board member of the Flemish Employers Association (region Antwerp-Mechelen) ( (2000-2010); and Honorary Board Member of Metena (Think thank of entrepreneurs in Flanders) ( (2005-2009)

Jan holds a master’s in psychology from the Catholic University in Leuven and other postgraduate degrees in management, corporate governance and Corporate social responsibility (CSR), Executive remuneration (Vlerick Management School, 2002)

  • Several certifications in process & change facilitation tools.

Jan De Visch built his career in Human Resources, as Human Resources Director of De Vaderlandsche, the Group Franki-Van Roey and Sanoma Magazines. In each case he developed a Human Resources strategy that supported and reinforced the growth strategy of the company. He was involved in several integrations and restructuring processes from a corporate role. He has focused recently on Organisational development and complex transition coaching are the main themes through which Jan helps companies to realize their full potential. In particular, in facilitating Business Model transitions, Organisational culture and change, Co-creation, City Transition Projects, Organisation Design, cross cultural issues and diversity, business strategy and education, and coaching complexity.

E-mail :

Dr Paul Pangaro
Designing Conversations for Variety
November 4th 2022, noon EST, 4 pm UK (wintertime)

There are countless challenges to managing complex organizations, including the need to design its processes with variety explicitly in mind. Of course, one approach is the VSM.

In this session a complementary approach is proposed, and critique invited. This approach distinguishes the classes of conversation that must reach agreement to coordinate the action of an organization. Of course, these conversations must pay attention to variety.

Pangaro will present this model of “designing conversations for variety” and propose how it maps to the VSM, where it may offer additional resilience. The goal of the presentation is to engage the participation of the attendees and to draw connections between the VSM and this conversation model, in hopes of illuminating both.

Paul Pangaro is president of the American Society for Cybernetics. His career spans research, consulting, startups, and education. Before his current role as Visiting Scholar in the School of Architecture and the School of Design at Carnegie Mellon University, he was Professor of the Practice in the Human-Computer Interaction Institute on the same campus. He has worked with and within startups in New York and Silicon Valley, in product and technology roles. His past consulting clients include Du Pont, Nokia, Samsung, Instituto Itaú Cultural (São Paulo), Ogilvy & Mather, and His writing explicates “designing for conversation” from his research and implementations of software and organizational processes. His B.S. in Humanities/Computer Science is from MIT and his Ph.D. in Cybernetics with Gordon Pask is from Brunel University. His work can be found at

Olaf Brugman
Ten Synergetic Ideas for the VSM and Management Cybernetics Community
Dec 1st, 2022, 5:00- 6:30 pm (UK wintertime)

The leading question for this webinar is: “What can we do to enhance the applicability of the Viable System Model and Management Cybernetics?” Ten ideas will be presented to explore opportunities to take research, education, and application in practice of the VSM and Management Cybernetics a step further. The ideas are inspired by agile software development, pattern language architecture approaches, and from management practice in cooperative organisations. It will address the VSM as a tool, dissemination of knowledge and know-how, and its practical application. The webinar aims to share notions around the VSM and Management Cybernetics that participants can connect to their academic and professional activities.

Dr. Olaf Brugman has been a systems practitioner ever since he first got to know the Viable System Model in 1985. In the systems sciences community, he currently acts as the Vice President Conference on the board of the International Society for the Systems Sciences. His main professional engagement is with Rabobank, at which he serves as the head of sustainability policy & risk. He holds a master’s degree in public administration from Twente University and a doctorate from Radboud University Nijmegen, both in the Netherlands. He currently lives in and works from The Hague.

Metaphorum Webinar Series 2022-2023 –
September 2022- May 2023
(5:00 -6:30 pm UK unless stated differently)

Sept 7th, 2022, L Lavanderos, A. Malpartida. ‘Ecotomo, Ecopoiesis and No Required Variety’.
October 5th, 2022, Jan De Visch. ‘Coherent Action: Linking Role and Work Contributions to Each other Through Real-Time Dialogue’.
November 4th, 2022, Paul Pangaro. ‘Designing Conversations for Variety’. noon EST, 4 pm UK (wintertime)
December 1st 2022 Olaf Brugman. ‘Ten Synergetic Ideas for the VSM and Management Cybernetics Community’
January 4th, 2023, Vanilla Beer. ‘Interview with Vanilla Beer on her personal learning with Stafford ‘
February 1st, 2023, Katharine Farrell. ‘Holarchies, heterarchies, and hermeneutics: exploring relationships, between Beer and Bateson’
March 1st, 2023, Jose-Carlos Mariategui. ‘CENTRO and the construction of a mathematical model for atin -America’
April 5th, 2023, Raul Gonzalez. ‘How to enhance business platforms using the Viable System Model (VSM) to face the current and future complexity business challenges’
May 3rd, 2023, Joe Truss. ‘The Meta architecture of Team Syntegrity for participatory democracy’

We will announce sooner than later final details of the webinars for the 1st semester 2023.