Relating systems and design – RSD11 Call for Contributions, University of Brighton UK October 13-16 20220


RSD11 Call for Contributions

There’s still time to submit papers and presentations for RSD11. This year the programme explores transdisciplinary connections and perspectives that augment systemic approaches. We plan to hold sessions online and in-person at the University of Brighton from October 13 to 16.

Here’s the brief – please share with your colleagues

RSD11: Possibilities and Practices of Systemic Design

As designers look to address systemic challenges, they must wrestle with tensions and conflicting requirements within their practices and the situations they seek to change. Systemic questions cannot be approached one at a time in isolation. Yet, it is inevitable that design is partial in its engagements – to address everything is implausible or uncritical to implicit boundary judgements and the privileges of dominant perspectives. Unpredictable interdependencies require a cautious approach, yet incremental strategies risk entrenching underlying errors and injustices by making the status quo more palatable. Profound, long-term changes are needed, but the urgency of the present also demands immediately achievable actions. 

At RSD11, we look to expand further systemic design’s modes of working:

Systemic design has thus far drawn primarily on methodological and organisational aspects of systems thinking as a way of handling complexity. In what ways might other perspectives augment systemic approaches?

The systems field is open to the creative arts, countercultural movements, enactive cognitive science, family therapy, posthumanism, and others. How might these transdisciplinary connections further enrich and critique systemic design research and practice?

Systemic Design Association |

Perspectives on complexity | Research Festival 2022 – University of Plymouth with Schumacher College 29 June 2-6pm in person or on Zoom

Perspectives on complexity | Research Festival 2022

Rethink how you approach complex research challenges

Part of the Research Festival 2022

Event co-hosted with Schumacher College

29Jun 2022


Rolle Marquee, University of Plymouth, Drake Circus PL4 8AA and online via Zoom

Perspectives on complexity | Research Festival 2022 – University of Plymouth

A Ubiquitous Collective Tragedy in Transport

Complexity Digest

Rafael Prieto Curiel, Humberto González Ramírez, and Steven Bishop

Front. Phys., 16 June 2022

A tragedy of the commons is said to occur when individuals act only in their own interest but, in so doing, create a collective state of a group that is less than optimal due to uncoordinated action. Here, we explore the individual decision-making processes of commuters using various forms of transport within a city, forming a modal share which is then built into a dynamical model using travel time as the key variable. From a randomised start in the distribution of the modal share, assuming that some individuals change their commuting method, favouring lower travel times, we show that a stable modal share is reached corresponding to an equilibrium in the model. Considering the average travel time for all commuters within the city, we show that an optimal result is achieved only if the direct and…

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Seymour Papert – Wikipedia

Seymour Papert

Seymour Papert – Wikipedia

One of those interesting people – thanks to one of the cybernetics discussion list, I just heard about – indeed, saw – a short exchange of letters between McCulloch and Piaget expressing a desire to discuss their mutual interest in genetic epistemology, facilitated by Papert..


Also from wikipiedia (stub article)

In child psychologyPapert’s principle is often used to explain the results of Jean Piaget‘s experiments. It is named for Seymour Papert and states that:

Some of the most crucial steps in mental growth are based not simply on acquiring new skills, but on acquiring new administrative ways to use what one already knows.

— Marvin Minsky

Archive of his papers etc:

Complex systems for the most vulnerable

Complexity Digest

Elisa Omodei, Manuel Garcia-Herranz, Daniela Paolotti and Michele Tizzoni

Journal of Physics: Complexity, Volume 3, Number 2

In a rapidly changing world, facing an increasing number of socioeconomic, health and environmental crises, complexity science can help us to assess and quantify vulnerabilities, and to monitor and achieve the UN sustainable development goals. In this perspective, we provide three exemplary use cases where complexity science has shown its potential: poverty and socioeconomic inequalities, collective action for representative democracy, and computational epidemic modeling. We then review the challenges and limitations related to data, methods, capacity building, and, as a result, research operationalization. We finally conclude with some suggestions for future directions, urging the complex systems community to engage in applied and methodological research addressing the needs of the most vulnerable.

Read the full article at:

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Moses and Systems Thinking in Abuja Nigeria – Systems Thinking Marin

Moses and Systems Thinking in Abuja NigeriaThis blog entry includes a request for funding for the initiative discussed, systems thinking in Abuja, Nigeria. I review how I came to know Moses Agbara as his mentor. As the founder of Systems Thinking Marin, I have found only one other effort to promote systems thinking at a local level, a small group in Ontario, Canada. I am therefore very happy to support Moses and his work to bring systems thinking to his home city.

Moses and Systems Thinking in Abuja Nigeria – Systems Thinking Marin

System of Systems Thinkers – speaker serpies – Women in Systems Thinking – Systems Thinking Marin

Link may not resolve in wordpress so I am repeating it here:

Value for Money (VfM) Core Course and Modules on Evaluation, Complexity and Cost-Benefit Analysis – CECAN

CECAN Associate, Dr Stuart Astill (, has just released two series of dates for his very popular training programme exploring Value for Money (VfM) – with special half-day modules looking at VfM under complexity and VfM in evaluation as well as a one-day module on cost-benefit analysis. The next runs of this training series are taking place in September/October and November/ December – it is advisable to book early if you wish to guarantee a place.Value for Money (VfM) ‘core course’and modules on ‘evaluation’, ‘complexity’ and ‘cost-benefit analysis’

Value for Money (VfM) Core Course and Modules on Evaluation, Complexity and Cost-Benefit Analysis

Article: Coaching for Awareness-Based Systems Change — Illuminate Systems

Article: Coaching for Awareness-Based Systems Change

Article: Coaching for Awareness-Based Systems Change — Illuminate Systems

Behavior, Purpose and Teleology – Rosenblueth, Wiener, Bigelow (1943)

DOI:10.1086/286788Corpus ID: 16179485Behavior, Purpose and TeleologyA. Rosenblueth, N. Wiener, Julian BigelowPublished 1 January 1943PsychologyPhilosophy of Science

[PDF] Behavior, Purpose and Teleology | Semantic Scholar


Cybernetic governance of the Peruvian State: a proposal – Rodriguez (2022)

Cybernetic governance of the Peruvian State: a proposalRicardo Rodriguez-Ulloa AI & SOCIETY (2022)Cite this article2053 Accesses2 AltmetricMetricsdetailsAbstractThis paper aims to make a proposal to govern the Peruvian State under the umbrella of management cybernetics, following the paths of the viable system model (VSM), proposed by Prof. Stafford Beer, enriched with other soft and hard systemic methodologies and technologies, to cover the soft and hard issues that are part of the complex Peruvian reality at different levels of recursion. For doing this, four defined perspectives were adopted to understand the complexity of Peru: the sectoral view, the regions view, the river basins view and the macroregions view. Peru is seen as a system in focus, defining, for each of these four perspectives, the five systems that VSM has. The application of the VSM in each perspective serves to apply it in two modes: diagnosis and design, according to the respective perspective. Then an integrative analysis and reflection is done considering the four perspectives, to analyze the viability of the VSM approach in the governance of the Peruvian State to establish some conclusions and recommendations in relation to the proposal, appearing at the end of the paper.

Cybernetic governance of the Peruvian State: a proposal | SpringerLink

Decentralising leadership: from monolithic to modular and polyce… — Danielo


Decentralising leadership: from monolithic to modular and polyce… — Danielo

Decentralising leadership: from monolithic to modular and polycentric


May 14th, 2022

Why talk about leadership?

Let’s bring it back to the people. If you’ve ever been in an executive position, been an influential DAO member, or founded a new organisation, you’ll likely viscerally know the weight of responsibility. There can be so much work, so much uncertainty and yet such a pressing need to make big, complex decisions, often with long-lasting consequences. It’s exhilarating, but it’s also exhausting if not downright nerve-wracking. Conversely, being in a disempowered position can quickly become frustrating, if not depressing. And the difference is often touted to be: leadership.

We’re told that there’s a mindset and a set of skills that leaders have, that if we master those, we can make things right. Countless researchers have followed this path, compiling theories and models. Meanwhile, the pressure on ‘leaders’ has continued to grow to master and exhibit these traits – leaders are meant to be visionaries, strategists, motivators, servants, coaches… the list goes on.

With all the work happening on leadership, and all these expectations, why should we here, talk about leadership?

First, with Web3 we can rethink this topic and many others from the ground up, learning from the past but primarily building on first principles rather than stale thinking. And second, because I fear we’re missing a trick here, and continuing down this path is harmful and unsustainable.

What follows is an attempt to bring a new perspective on an old debate, a critique inspired by the excellent work many have done and continue to do in this field.

Continues in source: Decentralising leadership: from monolithic to modular and polycentric

Decentralising leadership: from monolithic to modular and polyce… — Danielo

From Daniela Ospina, who says:

By @_Daniel_Ospina

More of this thinking happening in RnDAO

What would it take to reimagine the future of collaborative governance? – Arantzazulab


What would it take to reimagine the future of collaborative governance? – Arantzazulab

What would it take to reimagine the future of collaborative governance?


Part 2 of a 4-part series- What we learnt about systems convenors and why they can help us to reimagine future-fit organisations and governance.

At the beginning of this year, I started a research fellowship with Arantzazulab. Our idea was simple – find examples of where transformation has happened, on the ground, where said transformation was led by communities or used some form of collaborative governance. We wanted to use and share the findings, hoping to work with others interested in creating systems change by working with and through ecosystems.

There is a lot of interesting insight in Part 1 of this series, and we strongly hope that you read that one first. In case you don’t have time, the summary is –

We hypothesise that for transformation to occur, at the scale needed to address the massive challenges associated with climate change, decreasing trust in governments and democracy, deep structural economic disparities, and human inequalities, we need the following –

  1. New future-fit institutional and governance structures. These will need to maximise local cultures and connect through to planetary level ecosystems.
  2. New funding mechanisms that move beyond project-based, consultancy-based or membership-based mindsets.
  3. To learn from systems convenors who are already acting in their local ecosystems to catalyse and amplify knowledge and capabilities, to inform the future-fit design.
  4. To identify any new roles that we may need to create in the future-fit design.

This future needs to operate at planetary level with deep accountabilities and responsibilities across borders as if we were one world.

This blog post is a deep dive into point number 3.

Continues in source: What would it take to reimagine the future of collaborative governance?

What would it take to reimagine the future of collaborative governance? – Arantzazulab

The Viable Systems Model – three introductory links not shared here before


Viable System Model


Viable System Model (VSM)


An Open Systems Thinking perspective on Agile transformation, Thu, Jul 7, 2022, 9am BST

Thursday, July 7, 20229:00 AM to 10:30 AM BST

An Open Systems Thinking perspective on Agile transformation, Thu, Jul 7, 2022, 6:00 PM | Meetup

Joining the group is free, text of the invite:

Thursday, July 7, 2022

An Open Systems Thinking perspective on Agile transformation

Hosted By

David W. and 2 others


An Open Systems Theory and Sociotechnical Systems (STS) Perspective on the success or challenges of agile transformation and scaling agile in the enterprise

As an agile practitioner, you can use OST for three purposes:

  • A diagnosis tool to identify where and how agile adoption or transformation has failed to deliver to its promise
  • A practical model and method to design or evolve agile organisations
  • A model to make sense of the complexity of organisations

Agile Manifesto is more than 20 years old and almost all industries have now tried adopting some version agile way.

Agile practices have won their place but are organisations being more agile or have adopted an agile mindset? Has this really lead to more business agility, happier employees, better and more sustainable business outcomes, customer satisfaction and better treatment of our social and environmental responsibilities?

The results are less than ideal and there are very few credible theories that explains the causes of the current problematic situations, let alone ways of addressing the challenges.

OST is a powerful way of making cultural change. Its power derives from its comprehensive, internally consistent theoretical framework, developed over many years. It is the framework called open-systems theory or thinking (Emery, F. 1981), OST for short.

The theory has been evolving and field tested over 50 years and have been tried in various industries, countries, and different sizes of organisations.

## About the presenters

## Peter Aughton

Since 1993, Peter has worked with managers and employees, from both the private and public sectors, to design sustainable organisations that significantly increase employee engagement, innovation, and organisational performance. These outcomes are realised from the application of methodologies that have been translated from Open Systems Theory (OST) – a socio-ecological (people-in-system-in-environment) body of knowledge, which relates people and their organisations to their environments.

  1. Ecological strategy development leading to widespread commitment to desirable and achievable goals in uncertain environments and the active adaptive plans to meet these goals
  2. The identification of organisational factors that are leading to (and not leading to) high levels of employee motivation, wellbeing, innovation, and productivity
  3. The joint optimisation of an organisation’s social and technical systems, which produces organisational structures where the basic unit of work is the self-managing group; and where each group is responsible for meeting its agreed goals
  4. Competency-based remuneration programs that sustain team-based structures and collaboration, recognize individual competencies and contribution, and reward employees for improving overall organisational performance

Peter has applied these OST transformation methodologies and improvement techniques in many different organisations, from SMEs to large corporations. He has also trained management and staff across the globe in the application of these methodologies, so their organisations have the in-house capability to sustain performance improvement in rapidly changing environments.
Before becoming an OST practitioner, Peter held various research and management positions with the Exxon and Mars Corporations. Peter has a Bachelor of Applied Science (Chemistry) and Post Graduate Qualifications in Education and Business Science from the RMIT, Melbourne, and Victoria Universities respectively.

## Trond Hjorteland

Trond is an IT architect and sociotechnical facilitator from the consulting firm and has many years’ experience working with large, complex, and business critical systems, primarily as a developer and architect on middleware and backend applications. His main interests are service-orientation, domain-driven design, event driven architectures, and open sociotechnical systems, working in industries like telecom, media, TV, and public sector. His mantra: great products emerge from collaborative sense-making and design