New journal from UK Cybernetics Society: Enacting Cybernetics

From Ben Sweeting:

Writing to draw your attention to a new journal in our field: Enacting Cybernetics – which is published by the UK Cybernetics Society and hosted, open access by Ubiquity Press. 

Its focus is on exploring and developing the many ways in which cybernetics may be practiced in the world. The journal invites contributions that engage deeply with cybernetics, its possibilities, histories, and practices, and especially those that develop its radical transdisciplinarity in tangible ways.

It is open access with no author fees. It is funded by Cybernetics Society membership, so do please consider joining to support if you are not already a member:

Articles are published on a rolling basis and included peer reviewed and editorially reviewed content. So far, five items are available in the first issue:

  • Dulmini Perera – Design Fictioning of a Second-Order Kind: Runaway Cybernetics, Futures of Work, Possibilities of Engagement
  • Howard Silverman – Recursively Contextual Identity: A Variant Formulation of First- and Second-Order
  • Bernard Scott – Review of Robert Martin’s Book, Connect and Involve
  • Jean M. Russell and Howard Silverman – Currencies as Cybernetic Objects: A Conversation
  • Dietmar Koering – Exploring the Human-AI Nexus: A Friendly Dispute Between Second-Order Cybernetical Ethical Thinking and Questions of AI Ethics

Huge thanks to all authors, reviewers, editors, and members of the Cybernetics Society who have helped this come to fruition. I hope we can build this into a useful venue. If you have articles looking for a publication venue, please do consider submitting them.

The Sustainable Development Goals: Origins, Context, and Perspectives | ST-ON | 2023-05-08

 May 25, 2023  daviding

Within the Systems Thinking Ontario community, we were fortunate to have Nenad Rava step up to explain how the Sustainable Development Goals came to be, and relate them to systems change.


The Sustainable Development Goals: Origins, Context, and Perspectives | ST-ON | 2023-05-08 – Coevolving Innovations

How Blank is Your Paper? – Harish’s Notebook

Harish's Notebook - My notes... Lean, Cybernetics, Quality & Data Science.

Art by NightCafe

In today’s post, I am looking at the idea of constructivism in Cybernetics. The title of the post is a nod to the famous philosopher John Locke’s idea of “Tabula Rasa” or “blank slate”. Locke believed that we are born with blank slates and that our experiences in the world lead to knowledge of the world. Constructivism in Cybernetics does not align with the idea of a blank slate, but it does align with the idea of our experiences in the world leading to knowledge of the world. From the time of enlightenment, the belief became dominant that we have access to an objective world and the knowledge of this world can set us free. Constructivism starts with the idea that we construct knowledge of our world, but we do not have access to the objective reality. We are not born with a blank slate. We are…

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A message from Gerald Midgley – Operations Research Annual Conference OR65 – one week to respond with submissions: defining systems thinking, and ‘where to next?’


I am writing to the whole of my research network in the systems community and beyond, and am also extending this invitation on Facebook and LinkedIn.

There are so many different systems theories, methodologies and methods being developed by largely separate research communities. What would emerge if we could facilitate learning across all these communities?

To this end, I want to convene a really special event. As I have done over the past five years, I am going to co-organize the Systems Thinking stream at the 2023 Annual Conference of the Operational Research Society (OR65 for short). However, this year, instead of having just three parallel streams of paper presentations and workshops, I want to facilitate two significant dialogues:

The first will be at the start of the stream, and will involve everyone in a discussion of how systems thinking should be defined, and why. The second will be towards the end of the conference, after people have learned about the extraordinary variety of ideas being developed, and it will discuss “where to next for systems thinking?” I expect new collaborations to be forged!

I co-facilitated workshops like this in 1998 and 2004, and they were transformative! Not only did the opening sessions put everyone in a really open frame of mind to enable mutual appreciation and learning, but some of the collaborations that were forged in the closing workshops have lasted to the present day! I want to create a similar experience for the next generation of systems practitioners.

OR65 will be held on 12-14 September 2023 in Bath, UK. Here is the overall conference web site:

In addition to participating in the workshops, you will be able to take a 20-minute presentation slot and/or run your own participative workshop lasting up to two hours long.

If you want to present a paper, you need to create an account on the OR Conference site and then upload an abstract by 30 May 2023. PLEASE SELECT THE SYSTEMS THINKING STREAM for your abstract. If you want to run a participative workshop, PLEASE SELECT THE “MAKING AN IMPACT” STREAM for your abstract upload.

Here is where to create an account and upload an abstract:…/or65abstractportal

If you need to get permission from your employer to go, or ask your employer to pay, please don’t delay – upload your abstract and sort out those details later.

If you have questions about writing your abstract or the focus of a proposed presentation or workshop, I can be contacted on However, if you have questions about the conference as a whole, please contact the organizers (not me).

I look forward to seeing you in September!

Annual Conference – The OR Society

“Regeneration is the essence of life’s self-organisation” Fritjof Capra & Daniel Wahl in dialogue – YouTube

“Regeneration is the essence of life’s self-organisation” Fritjof Capra & Daniel Wahl in dialogue

Daniel’s LinkedIn post about this (

In case you missed this conversation:

Well, this was another one of those ‘special moments’ when I get to have a chat with someone who is in good part responsible for me embarking on a different path than marine mammal biology and behavioural neuroscience some 30 years ago and who’s writing led me to do a Masters in Holistic Science because I knew Fritjof taught there in person. Fritjof Capra and I met at Schumacher in 2002, and many times since. This is the latest in a series of conversation with him that I recorded for the Voices of the ReGeneration series. This is my favourite one. We had such fun on March 16th, 2023. We speak about: Regeneration as the essence of life’s self organisation Regeneration at the cellular, organ, individual, and ecosystems scale Regeneration as life’s inherent impulse of “the exploration of novelty” How health and resilience is not ‘maintain level work’ in all cases (ie bounce back) and how a salutogenic understanding of health and transformative resilience as the third dimension of resilience (after persistence and adaptive capacity). … and how this relates to phase-shift or changing attractor in complexity theory We talked about Ilya Prigogine’s important work and his famous ‘islands of coherence’ – how the second law of thermal dynamics hold while life generates increases in ‘order/complexity’ as a neg-entropic or syntropic process The work about Brian Goodwin on complexity science as a mathematician and biologists … the shift from prediction and control to appropriate participation … how complex dynamic systems are unpredictable but that does not mean they are not intelligible … The ’emergence of life’, the ’emergence of cognition’, the ’emergence of consciousness’ … the spiritual view of many wisdom traditions and the ‘systems view of life’ A Science of Quality and the role of ‘sensing, feeling and intuiting’ in science and as reliable pathway to insight and wise action CG Jung’s ‘Four Ways of Knowing’, Maturana & Varela’s ‘Santiago Theory of Cognition’, Leonardo Da Vinci ‘s dynamic biology, Goethe’s Zarte Empirie, Gregory Bateson, Poincare, Mandelbrot, Darcy Thompson ‘On Growth and Form’, Goethe’s metamorphosis … living in an through relationship and life as networks within networks … and even got to Fritjof’s work with the late Hazel Henderson on the shift from quantitative to qualitative growth in economic and natural systems – the shift from the exponential to the logistic curve (as a litmus test for the survivability of the human story). I told you we had fun. Enjoy! … and don’t forget that the Capra Course is a gift worth giving to yourself and others. I have done it twice.

“Regeneration is the essence of life’s self-organisation” Fritjof Capra & Daniel Wahl in dialogue – YouTube

Systems thinking demystified – online masterclass with Shakti Saran, three dates in May and June, $10

Why Systems Thinking

Masterclass -Detail – Shaktify

Leading from the Roots: Nature Inspired Leadership Lessons – free LinkedIn course with Dr Kathleen Allen

Leading from the Roots: Nature Inspired Leadership Lessons


UK Systems Society International Conference 2023 – Systems: transition to a sustainable world – St Hilda’s College Oxford UK, 14-15 September 2023

Date and time

Thu, 14 Sep 2023 09:00 – Fri, 15 Sep 2023 17:00 BST


St Hilda’s College Cowley Place Oxford OX4 1DY United Kingdom

UK Systems Society International Conference 2023 Tickets, Thu 14 Sep 2023 at 09:00 | Eventbrite

How can collective healing pave the way for systems change? Centre for Public Impact ANZ and Collective Change Lab, 12noon AEST, 15 June 2023

Centre for Public Impact

How can collective healing pave the way for systems change?

What is collective trauma? How does it hinder systems change work? How can we convene collective healing to overcome collective trauma and, in doing so, pave a way to real and enduring change? 

These are the type of questions John Kania and Laura Calderon de la Barca from the Collective Change Lab set out to explore when they embarked on their work on healing systems. Their research has taken them across the globe and deep within themselves, engaging with a range of disciplines and wisdoms to understand collective trauma and how we can resolve and heal from it at a systemic level.

Join our 90-minute webinar co-hosted by the Centre for Public Impact ANZ and Collective Change Lab to learn more about their work and explore how we can understand the presence of trauma in systems and convene collective healing to unlock deep and enduring, transformational change within systems. 

This webinar will preview a framework for identifying systemic-level trauma that will be published in the Stanford Social Innovation Review and other outlets in August 2023.

Key details  

  • 12pm – 1.30pm (AEST), Thursday 15 June 
  • Online (Zoom link provided upon registration)



Workshop on Systems Change from KNOCA – 23 May 2023, 15:30 CET

This workshop will be held at 15:30-17:30 CET (Central European Time)

Why a workshop on Systems Change?

Citizens’ assemblies (CAs) are chief among a range of participatory democratic tools considered to have potential for addressing the numerous technically and morally complex problems at the root of the polycrisis. As the crisis most advanced in public consciousness, climate citizens’ assemblies have gained particular traction in the past few years. However, many processes in this deliberative wave have struggled to address system-level aspects of the climate crisis, its connections to other crises, and the trade-offs inherent in a transformed, low-carbon future. 

Guidance on how to design and evaluate deliberative processes on the climate crisis has become available in a short space of time, thanks to networks such as KNOCA. But few resources are currently available on how to design deliberative processes, climate or otherwise, to open discussion for the broader systemic transformations that are increasingly recognised as necessary. 

Purpose of the workshop

In this workshop we will discuss how citizens’ assemblies can address underlying systemic issues at the heart of a genuinely transformative response to the environmental and social crises facing the planet today. The discussion will build on a presentation of a draft of new guidance on this very issue that will be published by the Centre for Climate Change and Social Transformation authored by Claire Mellier (Iswe Foundation) and Stuart Capstick (CAST).

Who is the workshop for? 

This workshop is for policymakers, practitioners, researchers and other civil society actors who are interested in exploring whether citizens’ assemblies can be designed to grapple with systemic aspects of the polycrisis. 

If you register before Wednesday May 17th you will recieve a draft of the new guideline.

About the new guideline 

In their presentation, Claire and Stuart will introduce a guideline that is intended to help policymakers, practitioners, researchers and other civil society actors consider how citizens’ assemblies can address underlying systemic issues at the heart of a genuinely transformative response to the environmental and social crises facing the planet today. 
It focuses on power literacy as the key element that allows practitioners to understand how citizens’ assemblies can grapple with systemic aspects of present crises. It will illuminate the relationship between citizens’ assemblies, power, and systemic transformations through tangible examples, focusing on three previous climate assemblies that the authors had direct involvement in: the United Kingdom’s Climate Assembly (CAUK), France’s Convention Citoyenne pour le Climat (CCC), and the first transnational citizens’ assembly on the climate and ecological crisis, the Global Assembly (GA). 

About the speakers 

Workshop on Systems Change – KNOCA

Against common sense – Chris Mowles

Taking Experience Seriously

Against common sense. Overwhelmingly, orthodox management… | by Taking Experience Seriously | May, 2023 | Medium

Renaisi inquiry into systems change

What does it take to change a system? With 25 years of learning and experience we still don’t believe there’s a magic formula for systemic change. If there was, we’d all be doing it!So, we’re launching an enquiry: 1/3

Renaisi on Twitter: “What does it take to change a system? With 25 years of learning and experience we still don’t believe there’s a magic formula for systemic change. If there was, we’d all be doing it! So, we’re launching an enquiry: #SystemsChange 1/3” / Twitter

Transdisciplinarity as a discipline and a way of being: complementarities and creative tensions – Rigolot (2020)

Transdisciplinarity as a discipline and a way of being: complementarities and creative tensions

Cyrille Rigolot 

Transdisciplinarity as a discipline and a way of being: complementarities and creative tensions | Humanities and Social Sciences Communications

An operating model for business agility: Agile for managers of the digital age – Lewis (book, 2023)

by Russ Lewis 

The digital revolution changed everything. Everything, except management.

Managers of the digital age need operating models that are collaborative, ethical, and effective. Models that reveal opportunities for managers to deploy Agile and Lean methods, as well as complex situations where leadership means carefully creating the conditions for success. In other words, models that support managers’ transition from providing all the answers, to leaders who help clarify objectives and discover how to achieve them.

In this short book, I introduce The Chalice as an upgrade on the pyramid metaphor. The chalice represents an operating model that both puts customers on top and engages with the beliefs and diversity of the staff who create value for an entire ecosystem.
Unique features of the chalice include:

  • Connecting prioritization and customer value delivery processes using feedback mechanisms as controls.
  • Structuring prioritization as a process, whose performance must be measured and improved.
  • Achieving predictable and agile delivery to customers by selecting only appropriate agile, or plan-driven, controls.
  • Revealing the tension sources that create conflicting priorities and confusion if not addressed directly.
  • Creating a pluralistic ecosystem that relies on collaboration and diversity to develop shared understanding and profit from innovation.

I provide just enough information in this book to share the big picture. I trust that more adventurous amongst you will try some of the ideas it generates in your imagination. Subsequent books will explore the sections of the chalice in more detail, building on this foundation. An operating model for business agility : Agile for managers of the digital age eBook : Lewis, Russ: Kindle Store

Handling Complexity in evaluation – UK Evaluation Society and CECAN

Would you like to learn more about how to deal with complexity in policy analysis and evaluation?

We’re running the second iteration of the Handling Complexity training course in partnership with CECAN Centre for Evaluating Complexity Across the Nexus. The course is made up of 3-modules and is based on the Supplementary Guide to the Government’s Magenta book on evaluation:

Module 1 – Complexity and its Challenges for Policy and Evaluation
Module 2 – Selecting an Appropriate Evaluation Approach
Module 3 – Commissioning and Managing a Complex Evaluation

For further information and registration visit:
Module 1:
Module 2:
Module 3:

Or contact us directly at

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