Health systems science proving vital during pandemic response | American Medical Association


Health systems science proving vital during pandemic response | American Medical Association

JUN 25, 2020


Brendan Murphy

News Writer

American Medical Association

Full Bio

For half a decade, the AMA Accelerating Change in Medical Education Consortium has worked to make health systems science (HSS)—the study of how care is delivered, how health care professionals work together to deliver that care, and how the health system can improve patient care and health care delivery—a vital part of the medical school curriculum. Touted as the third pillar of medical education, HSS domains have been effective tools in fighting against the COVID-19 outbreak. A new chapter in a recently released second edition of Health Systems Sciencea textbook featuring contributions from faculty members within the AMA consortium, outlines how these practices are best utilized during a pandemic.

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Health systems science proving vital during pandemic response | American Medical Association

Theory of functional systems (Anokhin) – Wikipedia


Theory of functional systems – Wikipedia

Arseny Kasikov on linkedin said

#OODA is much better than #PDCA, but still bit short to functional systems by Anohin

I said:

intriguing! I hadn#t come across this before I don’t think – – though I’m aware of a large school of Soviet cybernetics – largely (as it seems here) divorced from the roots in the Macy conferences etc and drawing on subsequent materials linked to robotics and responsive robotics? This looks a lot like the OODA loop physically, with elements of that ‘artificial brain creation’ focus? Do you know more about the origins?

And Patrick Hoverstadt said:

Arseny Krasikov it does map directly and fairly precisely onto the top half of VSM in a pleasing way.

does anyone know more about the origins and connections of this?

Theory of functional systems

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopediaJump to navigationJump to search

The theory of functional systems is a model that describes the structure of conduct, which was established by Russian and Soviet biologist and physiologist Pyotr Anokhin.



Functional systems were put forward by Anokhin as an alternative to the predominant concept of reflexes. Contrary to reflexes, the endpoints of functional systems are not actions themselves but adaptive results of these actions.

In contrast to reflexes, which are based on linear spread of information from receptors to executive organs through the central nervous system, functional systems are self-organizing non-linear systems composed of synchronized distributed elements.[1]

“The principle of functional systems”: association of private mechanisms of the body in a holistic system of adaptive behavioral act, the establishment of “integrative unity”.

There are two types of functional systems:

  • System of the first type provide homeostasis due to internal (existing) resources of the body, inside its boundaries (e.g. blood pressure).
  • System of a second type supports homeostasis due to a change of behavior, interaction with the outside world and are the basis of different types of behavior.

Stages of the behavioral act[edit]

Theory of Functional Systems (m) .png
  • Afferent synthesisAny excitement in the central nervous system there is in interaction with other excitations: the brain analyzes these excitations. Synthesis determines the following factors:
    • Motivation
    • Pad afferentation (excitation caused by conditioned and unconditioned stimuli)
    • Situational afferentation (arousal from familiar surroundings, causing a reflex, and dynamic stereotypes)
    • Memory (of species and individual)
  • Decision-making
    • The formation of action result acceptor (creating the ideal image and its retention goals, presumably, at the physiological level is circulating in the ring interneuron excitation)
    • Efferent synthesis (or the stage of the program, integration of somatic and autonomic excitations in a single behavioral act. The action is formed, but is not manifested externally)
  • Action (program execution behavior)
  • Evaluation result of the actionAt this stage, comparison of the actual running of the ideal image created during the formation of acceptor result of the action (the reverse occurs afferentation) based on a comparison of the action, or adjusted, or terminated.
  • Meeting the needs (authorizing termination of stage)

Choice of targets and methods of achieving them are the key factors that regulate behavior. According to Anokhin, in the structure of the behavioral act afferent feedback compared with the acceptor of the result gives a positive or negative situational emotions affect the correction or termination of action (another type of emotion, leading emotions, are associated with satisfaction or dissatisfaction needs in general, with the formation of the target). In addition, the behavior affect the memories of positive and negative emotions.

In general, behavioral act is characterized by meaningful and active role of the subject.


  1. ^ V.G.Red’ko, D.V.Prokhorov, M.B.BurtsevTheory of Functional Systems, Adaptive Critics and Neural Networks, in Proceedings of International Joint Conference on Neural Networks, Budapest, 2004, pp.1787-1792


  • N. N. Danilov, A. L. Krylov Physiology of higher nervous activity. – Rostov-na-Donu: Feniks, 2005. – S. 239-251. – 478. – (Textbooks MSU). – 5000 copies. – ISBN 5-222-06746-7 (in Russian)


Theory of functional systems – Wikipedia

A new theory about political polarization | EurekAlert! Science News



A new theory about political polarization

A new model of opinion formation shows how the extent to which people like or dislike each other affects their political views–and vice versa. The resulting division of societies can even become a matter of life and death, as the current crises show.




[Vienna, 29 June 2020] The ever-deepening rift between the political left- and right-wing has long been puzzling theorists in political science and opinion dynamics. An international team led by researchers of the Complexity Science Hub Vienna (CSH) now offers an explanation: Their newly developed “Weighted Balance Theory” (WBT) model sees social emotions as a driving force of political opinion dynamics. The theory is published in the Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation (JASSS).

A certain degree of polarization of political opinions is considered normal–and even beneficial–to the health of democracy. In the last few decades, however, conservative and liberal views have been drifting farther apart than ever, and at the same time have become more consistent. When too much polarization hampers a nation’s ability to combat threats such as the coronavirus pandemic, it can even be deadly.

How do extreme positions evolve?

“We feel high balance when dealing with someone we like and with whom we agree in all political issues,” explains first author Simon Schweighofer, who was working at the CSH when the paper was written. “We also feel high balance towards those we hate and with whom we disagree,” adds the expert in quantitative social science. The human tendency to maintain emotional balance was first described 1946 by Fritz Heider’s “cognitive balance theory.”

But what happens when opinions and interpersonal attitudes are in conflict with each other, i.e., when individuals disagree with others they like, or agree with others they dislike? “People will try to overcome this imbalance by adapting their opinions, in order to increase balance with their emotions,” says Schweighofer.

A vicious circle of increasingly intense emotions and opinions gradually replaces moderate positions until most issues are seen in the same–often extremely polarized–way as one’s political allies, the scientists found.

“It ultimately ends in total polarization,” illustrates co-author David Garcia (CSH and MedUni Vienna). Not only do people categorically favor or oppose single issues like abortion, same-sex marriage and nuclear energy. “If they are pro-choice, they are at the same time highly likely to be for gay marriage, against the use of nuclear energy, for the legalization of marijuana, and so on,” says Garcia. The possible variety of combinations of different opinions is reduced to the traditional left-right split.

A mathematical model of hyperpolarization

The researchers developed a so-called agent-based model to simulate this process. Their mathematical model was able to reproduce the same dynamics that can be observed in real-life political processes (see videos).

“We call the combination of extremeness and correlation between policy issues hyperpolarization,” says Simon Schweighofer. “Hyperpolarization has so far been overlooked in social theories on opinion formation. Our Weighted Balance Model–which is a truly interdisciplinary effort that integrates research strains from psychology, political science and opinion dynamics into an overarching theoretical framework–offers a new perspective on the emergence of political conflict,” he concludes.


Simon Schweighofer, Frank Schweitzer, David Garcia, A Weighted Balance Model of Opinion Hyperpolarization, Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation 23 (3) 5 (2020) the Complexity Science Hub Vienna (CSH):

The mission of CSH Vienna is to host, educate, and inspire complex systems scientists dedicated to making sense of Big Data to boost science and society. Scientists at the Hub develop methods for the scientific, quantitative, and predictive understanding of complex systems. Focal areas include the resilience and efficiency of socio-economic and ecological systems, network medicine, the dynamics of innovation, and the science of cities.

The Hub is a joint initiative of AIT Austrian Institute of Technology, Central European University CEU, Danube University Krems, Graz University of Technology, IIASA International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, IMBA, Medical University of Vienna, TU Wien, VetMedUni Vienna, Vienna University of Economics and Business, and Austrian Economic Chambers (WKO).


Embracing complexity in government – a story about gardening and thinking in systems :: Thea Snow :: City of the future :: Participate Melbourne


Embracing complexity in government – a story about gardening and thinking in systems :: City of the Future 1 :: City of the future :: Participate Melbourne

Embracing complexity in government – a story about gardening and thinking in systems

June 18, 2020

Thea SnowCentre for Public Impact, Australia and New Zealand, a BCG Foundation

Imagine you’re a gardening enthusiast named Andy. You’ve noticed that the lettuce in your veggie patch is being damaged. You investigate and discover that caterpillars appear to be the cause. So, you kill the caterpillars.

Problem solved, right? Wrong.

While killing the caterpillars works in the short-term, it doesn’t work as a long-term solution. This is because the caterpillars are (unbeknownst to you) controlling a population of other insects. As such, killing all of the caterpillars results in a proliferation of other species, meaning that your solution ultimately causes more damage.

Imagine you were a different gardener. Your name is Jamie. You read different books, which taught you to think systemically about gardening. You think about the relationships between different elements of your garden and see your vegetable patch as being part of a broader ecosystem. As a result, you adopt a permaculture approach.

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Embracing complexity in government – a story about gardening and thinking in systems :: City of the Future 1 :: City of the future :: Participate Melbourne

SCiO – Systems and Complexity in Organisation – Virtual Open Meeting – September 2020 Tickets, Mon 14 Sep 2020 at 18:30 UK time | Steve Whitla and Ray Ison


SEP 14 Virtual Open Meeting

by SCiO – Systems and Complexity in OrganisationFollowingFree

On Sale 28 Jul 2020 at 00:00

Virtual Open Meeting, a series of presentations of general interest to Systems & Complexity in Organisation’s members and others.

About this Event

SCiO organises Open Meetings to provide opportunities for practitioners to learn and develop new practice, to build relationships, networks hear about skills, tools, practice and experiences. This virtual session will be held on Zoom, the details of which will be confirmed nearer the time.

The programme for 14 September is as follows:

18:30 – Welcome, SCiO notices, virtual housekeeping

18:40 – Community exercise

18:50 – Session 1 (presentation followed by Q & A ) – Steve Whitla

19:40 – Session 2 (presentation followed by Q & A) – Ray Ison

20:25 – Summary and close


Session 1 – Creating shared meaning for systemic change

Language is often a problem in complex organisational change, with different departments and stakeholder groups using the same words to mean different things, and using different words to mean the same thing.

As systems practitioners, we are constantly building models of organisations and their environments, but we too bring our own language and assumptions, and it’s often apparent that the models we create to tame complexity make little sense to those affected by it.

  • What would happen if we set out to represent systems in ways that maximised shared meaning for diverse audiences?
  • What might the consequences be, if a general audience affected by a systemic pattern had a simple, intuitive way of seeing, understanding, and sharing it with others?

This talk by Steve Whitla will provide a simple model for how we think about shared meaning, the pre-conditions necessary to create it, and some practical suggestions on how to bring systems models to life.

About Steve Whitla

Steve Whitla is the founder and director of Visual Meaning, a consultancy that draws together systems thinking and visual thinking for organisational change, and the co-author of the recently published Visualising Business Transformation (Routledge, 2020).


Session 2 – The hidden power of Systems Thinking – governance in a climate emergency

In the age of the Anthropocene the need for new ways of thinking and acting has become urgent. But patterns of obstacles are apparent in any action, be they corporate interests, lobbyists, or outdated political and government systems.

In this presentation Professor Ray Ison will show how and why failure in governance is at the heart of the collective incapacity to tackle the climate and biodiversity emergencies. He will go beyond the analysis of the problem and demonstrate how incorporating systems thinking into governance at every level would enable us to break free of historical shackles.

The talk will also highlight some of the systemic failures of contemporary governance systems. A new generic governance system with three additional elements is proposed. To make the new system functional, effective, recovery of our systemic sensibilities, investment in cybersystemic literacy and systems thinking in practice (STiP) capability is needed. In addition to praxis reform old institutions that restrict STiP will have to be discarded and new institutions invented, Ray proposes 26 principles for designing/enacting systemic governance.

About Professor Ray Ison

Ray Ison is a Professor of Systems at the Open University since 1994, his research and scholarship spans the biophysical and social and is primarily interdisciplinary and collaborative. At the Open University, he was the head of the former Systems Department and Director of the Environmental Decision Making Program.

In addition to this he is also involved in: (i) managing and presenting the post-graduate program in Systems Thinking in Practice (STiP) and undertaking associated Systems scholarship; (ii) contributing to the activities of the Applied Systems Thinking in Practice (ASTiP) Group, including leading an initiative to create a LEVEL 7 (Masters) Apprenticeship for the Systems Thinking Practitioner based on the UK Apprenticeship Levy and (iii) undertaking international research.


About SCiO

SCiO is a community of systems practitioners who believe that traditional approaches to running organisations are responsible for many of the problems we see today. We believe that systemic approaches to designing and running organisations offer radically new and better alternatives.

SCiO has three main objectives:

  • Developing practice in applying systems ideas to a range of organisational issues
  • Disseminating the use of systems approaches in dealing with organisational issues
  • Supporting practitioners in their professional practice.

Many systems practitioners can feel isolated in their organisations. SCiO provides a way to talk to and get support from a wide range of like minded people and see how they are addressing similar challenges.

SCiO is a charity and social enterprise – SCiO started in the UK, but there are now groups throughout Europe. Please visit our website for further details and sign-up to become a member:

The Conundrum of Autonomy in Systems: Harish’s Notebook


The Conundrum of Autonomy in Systems:

In my previous post, I talked about the idea of the Copernican revolution in philosophy by Immanuel Kant. In today’s post, I am expanding upon the ideas originated by Kant, especially autonomy and how it poses challenges in how we view human systems. I am also heavily relying on the ideas of Ralph Stacey. Kant had a lot to say about human autonomy. Autonomy stands for the ability to set laws or regulate oneself or the ability to perform actions that are not directed by someone else. Kant viewed humanity as an end in itself and not a means to an end. Humans should not be used simply as a means to get something done. Humans, Kant noted, have the power to act according to his conception of laws.

Kant was one of the pioneers of systems thinking. He understood the idea of circular causality and self-organization. Kant proposed that all living beings can be viewed as self-organizing systems rather than mechanisms such as a clock. The idea of a self-organizing system meant that the idea of feedback is important. However, Kant made an important distinction when it came to human beings. He proposed that humans cannot be understood as merely being a part of the “system” of nature. For this he used some ideas from Aristotle. Kant noted that all other living beings follow a formative causality, where the structure determines the unfolding of the living being itself. For example, a tree follows the unfolding of their lifecycle from a seed. The same formative causality is applicable to the human body; however, this is not applicable to the human being as a whole who has autonomy. 

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Systemic Perspectives and the Covid-19 Crisis | OECD OPSI Webinar | 25 June 2020 – YouTube


Systemic Perspectives and the Covid-19 Crisis | OECD OPSI Webinar | 25 June 2020 – YouTube

Systemic Perspectives and the Covid-19 Crisis | OECD OPSI Webinar | 25 June 2020

26 Jun 2020
The world has gone through a shock in the past few months, and through this time, the vulnerabilities and inefficiencies present in our systems have become more apparent. These include vulnerabilities to healthcare, food and trade system, employment and social security systems, risks posed by biodiversity and climate change, the push for digital transformation and automation, growing socio-economic inequalities, and many more. The effects of the crisis are manifold and cascading. Confronted with these challenges, it is not surprising that more and more voices are calling for true transformation of existing governance systems. Yet, we are already heading back towards the ‘normal’ or the ‘new normal’ and the window of the opportunity for systemic change may go unused. We need to ensure that governments sieze this opportunity for change rather than “wasting the crisis.” In this webinar, we will discuss how systems approaches could be used for true transformation in a post-Covid19 world. We will be joined by special guests with specialized and practical experience in the field: – Dr. Andrea Cooper, Deputy Director of the Policy Innovation Unit at the UK Cabinet Office – Marco Steinberg, the Founder of Snowcone & Haystack – Prof. Dr. Ira Helsloot, Professor of Governance of Safety and Security at the Radboud University – Laurent Bontoux, Senior Foresight Expert, European Commission Joint Research Centre This webinar is part of our European Commission Horizon 2020 webinar series exploring topics in public sector innovation. Find out more about OPSI’s work through Horizon 2020 here:… The Observatory for Public Sector Innovation (OPSI) is a global forum for public sector innovation. In a time of increasing complexity, rapidly changing demands and considerable fiscal pressures, governments need to understand, test and embed new ways of doing things. Learn more about OPSI here: Follow us on twitter:


Systemic Perspectives and the Covid-19 Crisis | OECD OPSI Webinar | 25 June 2020 – YouTube

Understanding Society: STS and big science


Understanding Society: STS and big science

Understanding Society

Innovative thinking about a global world

Thursday, June 25, 2020

STS and big science

A previous post noted the rapid transition in the twentieth century from small physics (Niels Bohr) to large physics (Ernest Lawrence). How should we understand the development of scientific knowledge in physics during this period of rapid growth and discovery?

One approach is through the familiar methods and narratives of the history of science — what might be called “internal history of science”. Researchers in the history of science generally approach the discipline from the point of view of discovery, intellectual debate, and the progress of scientific knowledge. David Cassidy’s book  Beyond Uncertainty: Heisenberg, Quantum Physics, and The Bomb is sharply focused on the scientific and intellectual debates in which Heisenberg was immersed during the development of quantum theory. His book is fundamentally a narrative of intellectual discovery. Cassidy also takes on the moral-political issue of serving a genocidal state as a scientist; but this discussion has little to do with the history of science that he offers. Peter Galison is a talented and imaginative historian of science, and he asks penetrating questions about how to explain the advent of important new scientific ideas. His treatment of Einstein’s theory of relativity in Einstein’s Clocks and Poincare’s Maps: Empires of Time, for example, draws out the importance of the material technology of clocks and the intellectual influences that flowed through the social networks in which Einstein was engaged for Einstein’s basic intuitions about space and time. But Galison too is primarily interested in telling a story about the origins of intellectual innovation.

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Understanding Society: STS and big science

The Seeing Systems Blog: Can We Truly See the Other? Barry Oshry

Can We Truly See the Other?

The Seeing Systems Blog: Can We Truly See the Other?

Decision-Making In A Vuca Environment | CIPFA, UK – free, online – 2 July 2020 11:00-12:00 UK time


Decision-Making In A Vuca Environment | CIPFA

Decision-Making In A Vuca Environment


Event summary

COVID-19 has posed a series of unexpected challenges to many different sectors and organisations. One trait that these organisations share is the need to have leaders who can make informed decisions, even in a challenging environment. VUCA stands for volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity – even in pre-COVID times, this could form a recipe for disaster within an organisation. CIPFA’s Brendan McCarron and Benjamin Taylor from Red Quadrant join us in this webinar focused on how to make the best decisions for yourself and your organisation in a VUCA environment.


02 July 2020
Starts: 11:00
Ends: 12:00

Free event

Book now

About this event

The phrase VUCA only arrived with us in the late 1990s, but has gripped our imaginations – representing the apparent unmanageability of the scale and pace of change we face. The era of COVID-19 seems only to reinforce that point. 

Brendan will focus on defining a new VUCA – vision, unity, courage and analysis in the face of challenge. He’ll provide the tools needed to be clear about what success looks like even in volatile situations and how you can be part of a greater whole that can process information and create alternatives. He’ll also emphasize the importance of courage and the need to reflect on the meaning of information before making decisions.  

Benjamin will outline the dimensions of the complexity we face, and why TUNA – Turbulent, Uncertain, Novel, and Ambiguous – might be better than VUCA. He will discuss how we can think and orient in ways which don’t make assumptions about basic stability. The presentation will touch on the dimensions of requisite agility that organisations need to develop in VUCA conditions – sense making at operational and strategic levels and co-ordination within the organisation. The emotional impacts of VUCA and the core practices we need to adopt to manage them will form part of the discussion, with the aim of providing a new lens to consider your response to complexity and that of your organisation. 

Who should attend

This webinar is free for all to attend but may be especially relevant for public sector professionals looking to make better decisions in times of change or increased stress such as the post-COVID world.

How you will benefit

The series will better enable delegates to:

  • learn techniques and strategies to make informed decisions for your organisation 
  • have the opportunity to ask industry professionals questions and engage in discussion 
  • gain insight on how to navigate a VUCA environment, whether it be the COVID-19 pandemic or another unexpected challenge 
  • be provided with tools to boost your leadership skills.


  • Leadership
  •  / Professional development

Speaker – Brendan McCarron: Senior Consultant

Brendan McCaron

Brendan is a senior leadership and professional consultant for CIPFA consultancy and training. He leads CIPFA’s CFO Leadership Academy in the UK and for the Government of Canada. He is also heavily involved in CIPFA’s finance business partnering work and in change management assignments in the UK and in Europe. He can be contacted on E:, T: 07810 547 226.

Benjamin is chief executive of the Public Service Transformation Academy, a not-for-profit social enterprise which delivers the Cabinet Office Commissioning Academy, and managing partner at RedQuadrant.

Speaker – Benjamin Taylor

He studied philosophy, politics, and economics at Oxford University before becoming co-ordinator of a youth development charity. He has worked in public service transformation since 1998, with seven years at the London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham as Adviser to Leader, eGovernment Manager, and procuring a strategic partner. At PwC and Sector, his work included customer strategy for Birmingham City Council and advice to the Government of Armenia.

Benjamin is a leading thinker on system leadership, culture, and transformation. He holds a lean six sigma black belt and is an accredited power+systems trainer. He is a visiting lecturer in applied systems thinking at Cass Business School, City University, and has lectured at Nottingham Business School and Oxford Said/HEC Paris. He has spoken at LGC Summit, the PSTA’s State of Transformation event, and LGA Conference etc.


Decision-Making In A Vuca Environment | CIPFA

job advert: Complex Systems Consultant | PA Consulting | LinkedIn


Complex Systems Consultant | PA Consulting | LinkedIn

Complex Systems Consultant

Company NamePA Consulting Company Location London, GB

NEW Posted Date Posted 20 hours ago Number of applicantsBe among the first 25 applicants

Show more options
Unsave Complex Systems Consultant at PA Consulting
Become part of the team

Complex Systems Consultant

An exciting new opportunity to join our growing Complex Systems team

London/ Bristol/ Cambridge/ Manchester, UK. Full or Part Time/Permanent.

We’re an innovation and transformation consultancy that believes in the power of ingenuity to build a positive-human future in a technology-driven world. Our diverse teams of experts combine innovative thinking with breakthrough-technologies to progress further, faster.

With a global network ranging from tech start-ups to Fortune 500 clients, we’ll offer you fascinating work, unrivalled opportunities for growth and the freedom to realise your potential excel. Combining strategies, technologies and innovation, we turn complexity to opportunity and deliver enduring results, enabling you to build a successful and rewarding career.

Isn’t it time you joined us?

Become Part Of The Team
    • Do you enjoy solving complex problems using your experience, creativity and interpersonal skills to find ingenious solutions?
    • Are you keen to help organisations design, develop and deliver some of the most innovative and complex systems in the world?
    • Are you comfortable engaging with and becoming a trusted adviser to clients from all levels of seniority?
    • Would you be motivated by working collaboratively with diverse teams of experts and bringing your own unique strengths to develop systems insights that help global organisations?
    • Is being able to shape your own career pathway and support the development of others important to you?

We are growing our Complex Systems team and are looking for talented people with the right expertise and a proven professional track record to join us at all levels. We have a successful cadre of Systems Thinking and Engineering practitioners and we are one of PA’s important growth areas for 2020 and beyond. As a consultant at PA, you will be given the opportunity to take our world-class expertise in disciplines such as systems thinking, systems design, enterprise architecture and systems integration beyond their traditional confines. You will be trusted to work across diverse programmes with our clients in industries such as Defence & Security, Transport, Energy & Utilities, Public Services and Health and Life Sciences, offering a rare opportunity to build unrivalled expertise and experience.

What We’re Looking For

We are looking for candidates with skills and experience in leading work in one or more of the following areas:
    • Systems thinking and complex problem solving
    • Management of complex systems development, taking an enterprise approach
    • Systems definition and design
    • Enterprise architecture
    • Systems modelling and dynamics
    • Specialty engineering in areas such as safety
    • Systems integration, verification and acceptance

The Ideal Candidate Will Have
    • A proven ability to think creatively and solve complex problems for clients in one or more industries such as Defence & Security, Transport, Energy & Utilities, Public Services and Health and Life Sciences
    • Excellent interpersonal and team working skills
    • A drive for personal and professional progression
    • Excellent interpersonal and team working skills

* Please note you must already have the unconditional right to live and work in the EU/UK region*


Complex Systems Consultant | PA Consulting | LinkedIn

Lawrence & Lorsch – Contingency Theory (1967)

summary of: Lawrence, P., and Lorsch, J., “Differentiation and Integration in Complex Organizations” Administrative Science Quarterly 12, (1967), 1-30.

Lawrence & Lorsch – Contingency Theory

Lawrence, P. R., & Lorsch, J. W. (1967). Differentiation and Integration in Complex Organizations. Administrative Science Quarterly, 12(1), 1. doi:10.2307/2391211  url to share this paper: Sci-Hub is a projectSci-Hub | Differentiation and Integration in Complex Organizations. Administrative Science Quarterly, 12(1), 1 | 10.2307/2391211 (full pdf)


Self-organized criticality – Wikipedia


Self-organized criticality – Wikipedia

Self-organized criticality

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopediaJump to navigationJump to search

In physicsself-organized criticality (SOC) is a property of dynamical systems that have a critical point as an attractor. Their macroscopic behavior thus displays the spatial or temporal scale-invariance characteristic of the critical point of a phase transition, but without the need to tune control parameters to a precise value, because the system, effectively, tunes itself as it evolves towards criticality.

The concept was put forward by Per BakChao Tang and Kurt Wiesenfeld (“BTW”) in a paper[1] published in 1987 in Physical Review Letters, and is considered to be one of the mechanisms by which complexity[2] arises in nature. Its concepts have been applied across fields as diverse as geophysics,[3] physical cosmologyevolutionary biology and ecologybio-inspired computing and optimization (mathematics)economicsquantum gravitysociologysolar physicsplasma physicsneurobiology[4][5][6] and others.

SOC is typically observed in slowly driven non-equilibrium systems with many degrees of freedom and strongly nonlinear dynamics. Many individual examples have been identified since BTW’s original paper, but to date there is no known set of general characteristics that guarantee a system will display SOC.


Self-organized criticality – Wikipedia

The Cobra Effect

A famous anecdote describes a scheme the British Colonial Government implemented in India in an attempt to control the population of venomous cobras that were plaguing the citizens of Delhi that offered a bounty to be paid for every dead cobra brought to the administration officials. The policy initially appeared successful, intrepid snake catchers claiming their bounties and fewer cobras being seen in the city. Yet, instead of tapering off over time, there was a steady increase in the number of dead cobras being presented for bounty payment each month. Nobody knew why.

Other sources:

Anne-Laure Le Cunff:

“Delhi, beware of the cobra effect”

Freakonomics podcast:



Mapping the Evolution of Socio-Technical Systems – a rant by @catswetel


Mapping the Evolution of Socio-Technical Systems

[The reference to STS is a reference to ‘Wardley Mapping’, and later, Argyris is transcribed as ArcGIS, which I rather like]

Mapping the Evolution of Socio-Technical Systems



Cat Swetel uses Wardley Maps to examine the evolution of computing and explores potential futures. Wardley Maps are increasingly becoming a key practice in a lean thinker’s toolbox. The Wardley Mapping practice can be used to examine trends and options in context rather than falling victim to the tempting allure of buzzwords.


Mapping the Evolution of Socio-Technical Systems