Transduction — leading transformation — Issue #107

Benjamin P. Taylor
14 min readNov 3, 2023

This week:

  • Commissioning Academies
  • Systems Thinking
  • Systems and Complexity in Organisation
  • Organisational Cybernetics framework

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 david.mason@publicservicetransformation.org

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:

I understand the critical importance of managing the four dynamics within every human organization: segment, blend, empower, and harmonize. Segmentation involves specialisation and expertise, I often find myself in this mode, focused on my professional identity. However, I also embrace the blend, acting as an ambassador between different groups. I recognize the need to empower unique skills and perspectives, occasionally seeing myself as the star of the show. Moreover, I understand the significance of harmonizing common goals, aligning with a greater purpose. Striking a balance between these dynamics is a constant challenge, as an excess of any can disrupt productivity and unity. It’s vital to test and learn how to maintain this equilibrium, as I discussed in my presentation at the Compass tech conference.

There’s a core tension in human organisation.

Job: System Convener, City of London, part time, not well paid — deadline 20 November 2023

System ConvenerLocation: Based at home and in the City of London communityPart time: 29.4 hours per week Up to £31,000 (pro rata) dependent on experienceApplications close at 9am on Monday the 20th of November 2023

Join our team — Coproduction & Community: City of London — Mayday Trust

systems journal — Special Issue “The Systems Thinking Approach to Strategic Management” — deadline for submissions 15 February 2024

A special issue of Systems (ISSN 2079–8954). This special issue belongs to the section “Systems Theory and Methodology“.

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 15 February 2024 | Viewed by 1981

Special Issue “The Systems Thinking Approach to Strategic Management”Print Special Issue FlyerSpecial Issue EditorsSpecial Issue InformationKeywordsPublished PapersA special issue of Systems (ISSN 2079–8954). This special issue belongs to the section “Systems Theory and Methodology”.Deadline for manuscript submissions: 15 February 2024 | Viewed by 1981

Systems | Special Issue : The Systems Thinking Approach to Strategic Management

SCiO monthly events newsletter — November & December 2023

SCiO monthly events newsletter — November & December 2023

http://www.systemspractice.org/events

SCiO UK

SCiO UK Virtual Open Meeting — November 2023

Mon 13 November 2023 18:30–21:00 GMT

Virtual Open Meeting: A series of presentations of general interest to Systems and Complexity in Organisation’s members and others.

Double-loop Learning in Complex Project Environments — Gregory Cupal

Discovering Organisational systems — helping leaders learn to see submerged patterns of co-creation and interdependence — Joan Lurie

All welcome, FREE; Online event; English; Book now

SCiO UK Virtual Development Event — December 2023

Tue 12 December 2023 18:30–20:30 GMT

SCiO’s Development Event offer an opportunity to draw upon the collective expertise of SCiO members in a friendly and supportive atmosphere. By taking Development Events online, using the Zoom meeting platform, we aim to make them accessible to more SCiO members Development Events are both for members who are just starting out on a journey to explore Systems Thinking approaches, and for those who have many years of exploration and practice.

Members only; FREE; Online event; English; Book now

“Turn your attention to nature” — Daoism and Lyupanov Exponents, St. Rev. Dr. Rev. (Tweet thread and links)

[‘Rev’ is one of the most interesting voices on Twitter, and states something very clearly and precisely here]

The classical Daoists were known for turning their attention to nature. Xunzi specifically condemns Zhuangzi for this.

(1) St. Rev. Dr. Rev ⏭️☯️🏴😻 on X: “This is a huge digression, but I want to expand something that I usually only hint at, which I think is very important. So bear with me for a minute. The classical Daoists were known for turning their attention to nature. Xunzi specifically condemns Zhuangzi for this.” / X

Key parts of the tweet thread for the record:

The classical Daoists were known for turning their attention to nature. Xunzi specifically condemns Zhuangzi for this. But the word ‘nature’ is connotatively misleading, particularly for modern westerners. If we translate it instead as ‘reality’, we can see early Daoism as containing a particularly relentless focus on empiricism.

“Empty your mind and turn to nature” sounds like hippie bullshit. Reframe it as ‘discard your preconceived model and just fucking pay attention to what’s going on without imposing what you think is happening’, and it’s something else entirely.

The point is, reality never stops spinning away from our beliefs about it. It’s a lesson that one has to constantly re-learn. It’s hard to hold onto it, it’s a lot of work to keep breaking out of one’s frame.

Reality doesn’t care. It will keep spinning away from you, forever. (There’s a technical sense in which this can be made somewhat precise: living systems should be expected to periodically move near fixed points with positive lyapunov exponents along undetected variables)

(Translated: as long as you’re alive, you should expect to be periodically surprised by blowups from directions you hadn’t noticed before — because a positive lyapunov exponent looks like a negative one in the rear-view mirror)

So if you want a long life, you must ‘attune yourself to nature’, in the practical sense of ‘fucking pay attention and don’t let yourself fall into the trap of imposing your predictions onto the data’

This may sound trite, but it’s really fucking hard. It is. Not forcibly interposing your beliefs between your eyes and the rest of the world is a constant struggle, but when you stop doing it, you start to die.

Reality doesn’t care one way or the other. “Heaven and Earth are not humane. They regard all things as straw dogs.” Reality will always spin away from you. That’s just what it does. Act accordingly.

Rev

Unifying complexity science and machine learning — Krakauer (2023)

[Umm, I dunno, what do you think? ‘Meta-Ockham 1’ seems sensible but (2) seems to move the focus of the ‘science’ potentially from explanation to description? And in “discovering and encoding regularities in irreducibly high dimensional phenomena”, the ‘encoding’ slips in there rather subtly in a way which I think deserves more conversation? Certainly interesting anyway]

Front. Complex Syst., 18 October 2023
Sec. Complex Systems Theory
Volume 1–2023 | https://doi.org/10.3389/fcpxs.2023.1235202

Insights In Complex Systems Theory

David C. Krakauer*

  • Santa Fe Institute, Santa Fe, NM, United States

Complexity science and machine learning are two complementary approaches to discovering and encoding regularities in irreducibly high dimensional phenomena. Whereas complexity science represents a coarse-grained paradigm of understanding, machine learning is a fine-grained paradigm of prediction. Both approaches seek to solve the “Wigner-Reversal” or the unreasonable ineffectiveness of mathematics in the adaptive domain where broken symmetries and broken ergodicity dominate. In order to integrate these paradigms I introduce the idea of “Meta-Ockham” which 1) moves minimality from the description of a model for a phenomenon to a description of a process for generating a model and 2) describes low dimensional features–schema–in these models. Reinforcement learning and natural selection are both parsimonious in this revised sense of minimal processes that parameterize arbitrarily high-dimensional inductive models containing latent, low-dimensional, regularities. I describe these models as “super-Humean” and discuss the scientic value of analyzing their latent dimensions as encoding functional schema.

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fcpxs.2023.1235202/full

NERCCS 2024: Seventh Northeast Regional Conference on Complex Systems — March 20–22, 2024, Clarkson University, Potsdam, NY, USA

NERCCS 2024: The Seventh Northeast Regional Conference on Complex Systems will follow the success of the previous NERCCS conferences to promote the emerging venue of interdisciplinary scholarly exchange for complex systems researchers in the Northeast U.S. region (and beyond) to share their research outcomes through presentations and online publications, network with their peers, and promote interdisciplinary collaboration and the growth of the research community.

NERCCS will particularly focus on facilitating the professional growth of early career faculty, postdocs, and students in the region who will likely play a leading role in the field of complex systems science and engineering in the coming years.

The 2024 conference will be held as a hybrid at Clarkson University in Potsdam, NY on March 20–22.

More at: nerccs2024.github.io

Catastrophe theory — wikipedia

A post from Rev on Twitter reminded me this hasn’t been here explicitly

Catastrophe theory — Wikipedia

Systems, Volume 11, Issue 10 (October 2023) — 41 articles

[I make zero representation concerning which, if any of these, are any good and which, if any, are game-playing, badly transliterated, literature review based messes]

Systems, Volume 11, Issue 10 (October 2023) — 41 articles

Systems | October 2023 — Browse Articles

Li Keqiang and cybernetics, a short thread:

Li Keqiang and cybernetics, a short thread:1/ During the post-Mao era there was a renewed interest in cybernetics which, alongside von Bertalanffy’s systems theory and Shannon’s information theory, was known as the “(old) 3 theories” (老三论).

(1) Tianyu Fang on X: “Li Keqiang and cybernetics, a short thread: 1/ During the post-Mao era there was a renewed interest in cybernetics which, alongside von Bertalanffy’s systems theory and Shannon’s information theory, was known as the “(old) 3 theories” (老三论). https://t.co/wWM90QHwCk” / X

Rationality and Relevance Realization: Metarationality and Generative Rationality — Anna Riedl

Recording of the talk at Fluidity Forum

Rationality and Relevance Realization: Metarationality and Generative Rationality Recording of the talk at Fluidity ForumOCT 26, 2023

Rationality and Relevance Realization: Metarationality and Generative Rationality

“Cybernetic Existentialism” — Ruffo Caselli (artist)

Ruffo Caselli’s “Cybernetic Existentialism” Art Collection Based on Artificial Intelligence and Technology is Now on Display at a Museum in Uraj, RussiaPRESS RELEASEPublished October 25, 2023GetNews

Ruffo Caselli’s “Cybernetic Existentialism” Art Collection Based on Artificial Intelligence and Technology is Now on Display at a Museum in Uraj, Russia

https://www.digitaljournal.com/pr/news/getnews/ruffo-caselli-s-cybernetic-existentialism-art-collection-based-on-artificial-intelligence-and-technology-is-now-on-display-at-a-museum-in-uraj-russia

cyberneticexistentialism.com

The center for the multidisciplinary study of cybernetic existentialismThe ArtistItalian artist Ruffo Caselli paints canvasses representing elegant robots dotted with little squares, sensors and microchips. He is one of the world’s leading interpreters of the changes that have taken place in our lifetime.Since the late 1950s, he has linked his themes to contemporary technology and a mutant humanity searching for answers in a technological universe. From transistors to semiconductors and barcodes Caselli paints with oil colors on canvasses where even the space between people is populated by mysterious, omnipotent chips.The idea behind the art of Ruffo Caselli is one of a progressive mutation of our way of thinking that includes all aspects of our existence, personal relations, communication, work and play as they are intertwined with technology.MORE ABOUT HIMThe CenterThe Center for the Multidisciplinary Study of Cybernetic Existentialism is a presentation platform for TECHNOLOGY IN ART.Carmen Gallo founded the Center in Manhattan in early eighties as a platform to present Art, Philosophy, Technologies and Trends of the Day in Technology.Recently the Center embarked on its most ambitious and visionary journey to date as it presented: “Fifty Years of Robotics in Art”, oil paintings by Ruffo Caselli, the father of Cybernetic Existentialism.The very uniqueness of this exhibit documents an unprecedented interpretation of a journey through the development of robotics in technologies used today.

Cybernetic Existentialism

LIVING IN THE METACRISIS with Jonathan Rowson

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