Local systems and the Grand Ageing Challenge goals

Sheffield DPH

This is a longish blog by Dave Buck and myself. It was done in preparation for the publication of the All Parliamentary Group on Longevity report. An edited version will eventually make it into the report. We try to set out a rationale for a wide ranging approach to longevity and improving healthy life expectancy, why both national and local approaches are important and the core ingredients of success.

As ever, they are OUR views.


The Grand Ageing Challenge will only be met if local areas move to coherent population health systems which maximise the contribution of the four pillars of population health.

National government has a significant role, the activities of each government department are crucial in shaping the environment in which communities can thrive and achieve the best possible health. Central government can (and does) set the rules and background infrastructure by which we make progress.  It…

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More Is Different, P. W. Anderson (1972)

via Joss Colchester @sysinnovation on twitter, core systems thinking and one of the foundational papers of complexity.

More Is Different

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Science  04 Aug 1972:
Vol. 177, Issue 4047, pp. 393-396
DOI: 10.1126/science.177.4047.393


Science link via More Is Different | Science

pdf http://robotics.cs.tamu.edu/dshell/cs689/papers/anderson72more_is_different.pdf

In Search of the 5th Attractor – Jim Rutt – Medium

via In Search of the 5th Attractor – Jim Rutt – Medium

In Search of the 5th Attractor

Complexity science thinking about real change for the better

Jim Rutt

Feb 3, 2017 · 14 min read

[This essay was transcribed from a talk I gave at The Feast in October 2014. Video of talk]

For those who are interested in discussion, elaboration, and action around these ideas, try the Facebook Group: GameB or my podcast series: The Jim Rutt Show.

After a 25-year career building network-based businesses and other tech-intensive stuff, I spent the next 10 years associated with the Santa Fe Institute, the world’s leading research center, studying complex systems. Combining my business and scientific experiences, I’ve developed a strong interest in how complex social systems, especially societies, work and change, and how such knowledge can help us build a better society.

Jerri Chou, founder of The Feast, asked me to talk about “progression.” So I decided to talk about progression from a big picture perspective: how societies and similar large-scale social systems evolve. One important thing to keep in mind is that “progression” doesn’t necessarily mean progress; rather, it just means one thing after another. I forget who it was who said, “History is just one damn thing after another.” (Oh, yeah, it was Arnold Toynbee [one of the advantages of transferring my talk to writing is that I can look up references like that!].)

I’d say “progression” in terms of the evolution of complex systems is the same thing as “history.” It doesn’t necessarily move in a straight line; sometimes developments are kind of surprising. Indeed, one reasonable definition of a complex system is that it should be capable of surprising an observer, at least sometimes. For instance, consider a star that’s been doing its thing quietly for a couple of billion years. After billions of years of being a bright and shiny star, it blows up, because it’s reached a major transition point as a complex system. By going supernova, it’s changed so much as to be unrecognizable. What was once a stable star has now become a rapidly expanding ball of dust and gas that emits more energy over the course of a few months than it did in its entire lifespan as a star — surprising, to say the least.

Continues in source In Search of the 5th Attractor – Jim Rutt – Medium

Alexander’s objectivity in life or quality – YouTube

via Alexander’s objectivity in life or quality – YouTube


“All of my life I’ve spent trying to learn how to produce living structure in the world. That means towns, streets, buildings, rooms, gardens, places which are themselves living or alive… depending on who you talk to, they’d say, ‘Well, this stuff Alexander’s been discovering is a lot of nonsense. There is no such thing as objectivity about life or quality.’ … They are simply mistaken.” Christopher Alexander This is a quote of Christopher Alexander which he made in San Jose, California, October of 1996, at The 1996 ACM Conference on Object-Oriented Programs, Systems, Languages and Applications (OOPSLA). See https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=98LdF… for the full talk. This is also the source of this video. For a full transcript of the talk go to: https://www.patternlanguage.com/archi… For recent developments regarding Alexanders work see: https://www.mdpi.com/2413-8851/3/3/96

UKSS international conference 22 June 2020, Lancaster University – Systems Research in the Digital Age

UKSS annual conference

21st UKSS International Conference
Systems Research in the Digital Age

The UKSS is delighted to announce that the 21st UKSS International Conference will be held at Lancaster University on 22nd June 2020

The conference will be of particular interest to Systems practitioners and academics who are engaged in Systems research.

Digital technologies are continuing to revolutionise how organisations operate. The purpose of the conference is to highlight the contributions of current Systems research and the future of Systems thinking in the digital age. The conference should appeal to a wide range of consultancy and research topics, such as:

Culture, leisure and tourism
Environment and sustainability
Managing change
Organisational improvement
Policing and disaster management
Physical activity, health, well-being
Retail and high street decline
Social care, housing and urban living
Socio-technical systems.

The call for abstracts will be emailed to those on the mailing list shortly – sign up at www.ukss.org.uk

The constructal law of organization in nature: tree-shaped flows and body size | Journal of Experimental Biology – Bejan (2005)


Source: The constructal law of organization in nature: tree-shaped flows and body size | Journal of Experimental Biology

The constructal law of organization in nature: tree-shaped flows and body size – Adrian Bejan


The constructal law is the statement that for a flow system to persist in time it must evolve in such a way that it provides easier access to its currents. This is the law of configuration generation, or the law of design. The theoretical developments reviewed in this article show that this law accounts for (i) architectures that maximize flow access (e.g. trees), (ii) features that impede flow (e.g. impermeable walls, insulation) and (iii) static organs that support flow structures. The proportionality between body heat loss and body size raised to the power 3/4 is deduced from the discovery that the counterflow of two trees is the optimal configuration for achieving (i) and (ii) simultaneously: maximum fluid-flow access and minimum heat leak. Other allometric examples deduced from the constructal law are the flying speeds of insects, birds and aeroplanes, the porosity and hair strand diameter of the fur coats of animals, and the existence of optimal organ sizes. Body size and configuration are intrinsic parts of the deduced configuration. They are results, not assumptions. The constructal law extends physics (thermodynamics) to cover the configuration, performance, global size and global internal flow volume of flow systems. The time evolution of such configurations can be described as survival by increasing performance, compactness and territory.

Source: The constructal law of organization in nature: tree-shaped flows and body size | Journal of Experimental Biology



Systemic design: examples of current practice – Design Council – Medium

Systemic design: examples of current practice

Cat Drew
Jan 2 · 10 min read

At the beginning of December, Design Council worked with The Point People to host an event on systemic design. Jennie Winhall and Cassie Robinson spoke about their work to create and move towards new systems, and Alistair Parvin, Ilishio Lovejoy and Nick Stanhope spoke about specific elements of their work to design systemically. We had 120 people sign up in less than 24 hours and a large waitlist. There is interest and intrigue. What is systemic design and why is it important?
There is a longer version of this blog here and the slides are here.

via Systemic design: examples of current practice – Design Council – Medium