Transduction — leading transformation — Issue #103

Benjamin P. Taylor
17 min readSep 29, 2023

This week:

  • Upcoming Events
  • Cognitive Science
  • Artificial Life
  • Systems Thinking

Upcoming events:

Two new commissioning academies: coming this winter!

Exciting News! Introducing two Commissioning Academies.

  • We will be offering a new Virtual Commissioning Academy, launching in October, facilitated entirely online
  • and an In-Person Commissioning Academy launching in January, with in-person sessions held in Nottingham.

Both offer the same great content, accredited by the PSTA and Cabinet Office.

Join our flagship development program to transform outcomes for the communities we serve!

  • Be part of a national network of commissioning practitioners.
  • Learn to initiate and lead change across complex systems.
  • Develop capabilities to drive real transformation.
  • Access expert insights and collaborative learning.
  • Apply innovative ideas and approaches to your work.

Here’s what’s in store for you at the National Commissioning Academy:

  • Foundation concepts: Working as a system, outcomes thinking, collaborative working.
  • Commissioning for outcomes as a system: Systems thinking, asset-based commissioning, trauma-informed practice, prevention and early intervention.
  • Creating conditions for change: Systems leadership, coproduction, innovation, and promoting social value.

Expect a transformative experience with masterclass workshops, action learning, expert speakers, peer challenges, practical action planning, and membership in our nationwide alumni community.

Ready to make a difference? Apply now to secure your spot at the Academy! Contact David Mason at

5–6 October, StretchCon: Compass Tech Summit, 5-in-1 conference


Benjamin Taylor will be speaking this year at StretchCon. StretchCon is an International conference dedicated to engineering leadership as part of the Compass Tech Summit. This year it will be not only organized as an individual conference but as part of something new. Compass Tech Summit will bring together under one roof several tech conferences, such as Reinforce, Crunch, Amuse and Impact with topics like engineering leadership, UX/UI, data, AI and product management. Register now:

We can also offer you a coupon code: use the SpeakerSentMe coupon code for 10% off all Compass Tickets, except Student, Workshop, Combo and Teaser tickets.

Systems Thinking Apprenticeship (2023)

We are delighted to share the news that there is now a Level 7 Systems Thinking Practitioner Apprenticeship available in England.

Systems thinking practice was developed specifically to address highly complex, adaptive, and dynamic situations. It helps you to model each situation as a system incorporating many different parts, dependencies and relationships. Systems thinking practitioners are uniquely equipped for achieving large-scale transformational change.

If you live in England, you can benefit from the scheme. The Apprenticeship is a two-and-a-half year, day release, post-graduate qualification with government funding of up to £18,000 per person. It is fully supported by expert tutors, comprehensive learning materials, and ongoing action learning.

This is a practice-based, portfolio assessed programme which draws on core systems approaches and practice skills. You’ll be supported in your job to actually put the learning to work right away, and you will be evaluated on how you incorporate your continual learning into your practice.

It’s been designed by practitioners for practitioners — the people who have not just read the books, but have written them. More importantly, these are people who have been there, done it, know about all (or at least most) of the pitfalls, and can guide you away from them.

The professional body for systems practice, SCiO, is providing world-class systems practitioner-tutors, and is supporting the curriculum development and overall approach of the programme. They are acting in collaboration with Cherith Simmons Learning and Development, who provide the apprenticeship. Further details are available here.

If you’re not in England, you can still sign up to individual modules here.

And if you are interested in developing your transformation skills, take a look at the RedQuadrant tool shed. This is a small group action learning journey with Benjamin Taylor, founder of the consultancy RedQuadrant, supported by 24 online modules covering all aspects of organisational transformation. Get a 20% discount by mentioning Enlightened Enterprise Academy.

Link Collection:

My Weekly Blog post:

If I had the opportunity to influence government digital transformation, I’d prioritize citizen outcomes over mere efficiency. I’d promote outcome-focused collaborations, reinstating Public Service Outcome Agreements to drive real change. Investing in digital skills should involve comprehensive training, not just recruiting “rock star” experts. Simultaneously, reforming Civil Service training and incentives is crucial. Empowering digital service experts to streamline core transactional services efficiently is a must. Lastly, significant investment in learning loops would reshape the knowledge management architecture of public services, learning from the aforementioned initiatives. In essence, I’d urge the government to prioritise citizen-centric digital transformation through collaboration, skill-building, and strategic service optimisation. Click on the Link to read more.

The quest for Efficiency through Digital in government is in a doom loop

More is different in real-world multilayer networks — De Domenico (2023)

Nature Physics volume 19, pages1247–1262 (2023)

More is different in real-world multilayer networksManlio De Domenico Nature Physics volume 19, pages1247–1262 (2023)

More is different in real-world multilayer networks | Nature Physics

Heterogeneity Extends Criticality — Gershenon (2023)

Binghamton Center of Complex Systems (CoCo) Seminar

Carlos Gershenson (Systems Science and Industrial Engineering, Binghamton University)
“Heterogeneity Extends Criticality”

Heterogeneity Extends Criticality on Vimeo

The “Adjacent Possible” — and How It Explains Human Innovation | Stuart Kauffman | TED Talk (2023 — yes, 2023)

From the astonishing evolutionary advances of the Cambrian explosion to our present-day computing revolution, the trend of dramatic growth after periods of stability can be explained through the theory of the “adjacent possible,” says theoretical biologist Stuart Kauffman. Tracing the arc of human history through the tools and technologies we’ve invented, he explains the impact human ingenuity has had on the planet — and calls for a shift towards more protection for all life on Earth.

Watch more: • The “Adjacent Possible” — and How It …

0:05 / 12:05•IntroductionThe “Adjacent Possible” — and How It Explains Human Innovation | Stuart Kauffman | TEDTED23.4M

TED Talks channel features talks, performances and original series from the world’s leading thinkers and doers. Subscribe to our channel for videos on Technology, Entertainment and Design — plus science, business, global issues, the arts and more. Visit to get our entire library of TED Talks, transcripts, translations, personalized talk recommendations and more.Watch more: • The “Adjacent Possible” — and How It … TED’s videos may be used for non-commercial purposes under a Creative Commons License, Attribution–Non Commercial–No Derivatives (or the CC BY — NC — ND 4.0 International) and in accordance with our TED Talks Usage Policy:…. For more information on using TED for commercial purposes (e.g. employee learning, in a film or online course), please submit a Media Request at

#TEDTalks #technology

The “Adjacent Possible” — and How It Explains Human Innovation | Stuart Kauffman | TED — YouTube

Andreas Wagner Pursues the Secrets to Evolutionary Success — Greenwood (2023) Quanta Magazine

Why did mammals, grasses and some other groups of organisms explode in diversity only after millions of years? The evolutionary biologist Andreas Wagner plumbs the secrets of those “sleeping beauties.”

How the Brain Makes You: Collective Intelligence and Computation by Neural Circuits — Balasubramanian (2023) — YouTube, Santa Fe Insitute

Santa Fe InstituteVijay Balasubramanian University of Pennsylvania, SFI

The human brain consists of a 100 billion neurons connected by a 100 trillion synapses. In its computational function, each neuron is a simple electrical device. In this sense it is no different, in its conceptual essence, from a transistor or a diode in a silicon microchip, converting input signals into ephemeral voltage pulses that transmit to other neurons. And yet, the collective effect of these tiny electrical flutterings creates the intelligent mind, with its astonishing capacity for perception and action, memory and imagination, affection and indifference. In the words of Ramon y Cajal (1854–1932), a founding figure of neuroscience, neurons are “the mysterious butterflies of the soul, whose beating of wings may one day reveal to us the secrets of the mind.” In this talk, Vijay Balasubramanian will explore current ideas about how this transmutation occurs.

Learn more at

Follow us on social media:… Subscribe to SFI’s official podcasts:

A New Idea for How to Assemble Life — Ball (2023) Quanta Magzine

If we want to understand complex constructions, such as ourselves, assembly theory says we must account for the entire history of how such entities came to be.

ByPhilip Ball

A New Idea for How to Assemble Life

If we want to understand complex constructions, such as ourselves, assembly theory says we must account for the entire history of how such entities came to be.

Assembly theory explains why, given seemingly infinite combinatorial possibilities, we only observe a certain subset of objects in our universe.

A New Theory for the Assembly of Life in the Universe | Quanta Magazine

Kyiv Metro vs the World: An Exploration — Lee (2023)

How can Kyiv Metro run 2–3 minutes peak hour frequency during wartime?


Note the red timers above the platforms…Credit: УНІАН

I have been hunting a white whale for more than a year.

Nearly exactly one year ago, a tweet went viral for noting Kyiv Metro cut back its headways to a train every 2–3 minutes during peak hours and every 6–7 minutes off-peak due to the Russian invasion. Every 6–7 minutes during rush hours would be an unfathomable dream for U.S. and Canadian passenger rail systems. How was this possible, in Kyiv of all places?

Continues in source:


Kyiv Metro vs the World: An Exploration

Note the red timers above the platforms…Credit: УНІАН I have been hunting a white whale for more than a year.Thanks for reading S(ubstack)-Bahn! Subscribe for free to receive new posts and support my work. Nearly exactly one year ago, a tweet went viral for noting Kyiv Metro cut back its headways to a train every 2–3 minutes during peak hours and every 6…

Read more

Women in Systems Thinking Speaker Series — Systems Thinking in Action — Laying the Foundations — September 26, 6pm BST

A series elevating the voices of women systems thinkers to explore how systems thinkers can work together to make the world a better place.

By System of Systems Thinkers

Date and time: Tuesday, September 26 · 6–7:30pm BST

Location: Online

Refund Policy:Contact the organizer to request a refund. Eventbrite’s fee is nonrefundable.

About this event:

  • 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Mobile eTicket

Sociologist Zeynep Tufekci and other scientists have pointed to “asystemic thinking” — or the inability to think about complex systems and their dynamics — as one of the reasons America experienced costly delays that allowed the COVID virus to spread uncurbed for weeks. Why don’t we see more systems thinking? What are some practical ideas making systems thinking actionable for a greater number of people?

In this session, Linda Booth Sweeney and Somava Saha will explore these questions, and also:

  • Surface the forces that inhibit widespread systems thinking
  • Discuss practical, research-based ways to lay a foundation for systems thinking in early childhood and beyond
  • Celebrate the fusion of cultural wisdom and inclusivity in advancing systems understanding
  • Get a sneak peek into Linda’s upcoming children’s book, “Apart, Together” (Bazer & Bray, October 2023)

About Linda Booth Sweeney

As an education innovator, author and strategist for healthy socio-ecological systems change, Dr. Linda Booth Sweeney is internationally recognized for her efforts to make systems thinking actionable by a wide range of audiences. In her Systems Leadership Labs, Linda creates experiences for leaders to think differently, and to experiment with language, inner stance, visualization tools and knowledge architecture that better mirrors the complexity they are navigating.

She has made significant contributions to promoting the use of metaphors like the bathtub model to enhance public comprehension of critical issues such as climate change. She is co-author of The Systems Thinking Playbook, The Climate Change Playbook, and numerous other books and journal articles. Linda is currently developing Curious about Connections Conversations (CCC), a research-based facilitation method for use by families, teachers and professionals in a variety of settings. Linda is also an award-winning children’s book author. Her next book, Apart Together, is a gentle introduction to systems thinking for children and will be published by Balzer & Bray in October 2023.

About Somava Saha

Somava Saha, MD, MS (aka Soma Stout) has dedicated her career to improving health, wellbeing and equity through the development of thriving people, organizations and communities. She has worked as a primary care internist and pediatrician in the safety net and a global public health practitioner for over 20 years. She has witnessed and demonstrated sustainable transformation in human and community flourishing around the world.

Currently, Soma serves as President and CEO of Well-being and Equity in the World (WE in the World), as well as Executive Lead of the Well Being In the Nation (WIN) Network, which work together to advance inter-generational well-being and equity. Over the last five years, as Vice President at the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, Dr. Saha founded and led the 100 Million Healthier Lives (100MLives) initiative, which brought together 1850+ partners in 30+ countries reaching more than 500 million people to improve health, wellbeing and equity. She and her team at WE in the World continue to advance and scale the frameworks, tools, and outcomes from this initiative as a core implementation partner in 100MLives.

This series will take place throughout the second half of 2023, so please stay tuned for additional event announcements.

Please support the work of Women in Systems Thinking through a donation when joining the series. However, we do have scholarships available for the whole series and we encourage you to reach out to us at if you are in a position where it is not possible for you to donate.

We are feeling powerfully called to remind ourselves of women’s wisdom in this moment and to attempt to model our aspiration of inviting systems thinkers to work together. We invite you join us.

We would also like to thank our wonderful partners and encourage you to learn more about the meaningful work and contributions they make to the field of systems thinking on a daily basis.

Academy for Systems Change



Forum for the Future

Megan Fraser Coaching

Systems Thinking Marin

Global Regeneration CoLab


Club of Rome

Bridgeway Partners


Zebras Unite


Water Bear Collaborative

Systems Thinking in Action — Laying the Foundations Tickets, Tue, Sep 26, 2023 at 10:00 AM | Eventbrite

DAOs and the Viable System Model with Angela Espinosa and Jon Walker — hosted by Daniel Ospina


DAOs and the Viable System Model

Recorded Tue, Jul 12, 7:00 AM — 8:30 AM PDT

Systems Thinking offers us a wealth of insights to design better DAOs. For this session, we have invited two experts in Cybernetics to share their learnings. Angela Espinosa Angela has three decades of experience in Cybernetics in the Centre of Systems Studies, Hull University. She’s now an Emeritus Fellow at the Centre for Systems Studies, a Fellow in the British Cybernetics Society, and an invited professor in several universities in Latin-America and the UK. She’s also devoted to the Metaphorum, an NGO aiming to continue developing Stafford Beer’s legacy. Jon Walker Jon has worked for over 35 years in the co-operative business sector. He has established and co-managed a range of businesses including retail outlets, a manufacturing plant, and a chain of supermarkets. He pioneered the use of the Viable Systems Model, in both large cooperatives and an eco-community, co-authored the book “A Complexity Approach to Sustainability” with Angela, and consulted and run workshops for 4 Universities (in Colombia, Cuba, Spain, Oman, Romania and for the Government of Victoria, Australia) on the use of The Viable System Model. RnDAO Host — Daniel Ospina @_Daniel_Ospina — Twitter @RnDAO__ empower humane collaboration Video produced by David R. Allen

DAOs and the Viable System Model with Angela Espinosa and Jon Walker — YouTube

Project Cybersyn: Chile’s Radical Experiment in Cybernetic Socialism — Medina (2023, I think)

[Are you bored of Cybersyn yet?! Every damn piece has the same — I now learned, computer-generated — image of the control room, and >50% of them are by either Eden Medina or Evgeny Morozov…. but, to be fair, if I had to choose just one article on Cybersyn, it might be this one!]

Fifty years ago, a military coup violently ended Chile’s political experiment with socialism, and with it the nation’s technological experiment with cybernetic management.

A computer-generated image of Project Cybersyn operations room. Image: Gui Bonsiepe

Project Cybersyn: Chile’s Radical Experiment in Cybernetic Socialism | The MIT Press Reader

Digital transformation in government: addressing the barriers to efficiency — Committee of Public Accounts