Transduction — leading transformation — Issue #11

Benjamin P. Taylor
7 min readAug 21, 2021


An invitation to the RedQuadrant tool shed

New cohorts launching soon: my support and tool shed for your coaching / consulting / facilitation

Welcome to Australasian Change Days

Sarah Glenister and team have again put together an event which is both an outstanding conference and a great experience of being in community. It’s in Australia — if you’re out of time zone, a discount could be available, contact me.

Top phive of the week

Long live commissioning

Benjamin Taylor in the Municipal Journal

Commissioning is dead. So why the hell won’t it go away? In fact, this piece is in a long tradition of articles headlined ‘Commissioning is dead, long live commissioning’, right back to 2012 (and commissioning was only really introduced in its modern form in about 2010). The answer […]

There’s been a kerfuffle about ‘stage theory’. What do you think?

Can we really say that people progress through different levels of ability to deal with #complexity across their life? And that we can measure and identify what level people are at? Predict how they’ll develop? And select and promote people based on that? Or, as Nora Bateson said when she began the tango, will it …

What does ‘the power to transcend paradigms’ mean? | by Benjamin P. Taylor | Medium
Epistemic status — just a rushed response when what I wanted to say became too long for a tweet stream. I agree — this is unlikely to happen unless people (or organisations) are at one of those ‘late…

Why we need

Have you ever seen #consultants deliver the right thing — in the wrong time and place? Go wrong because they were trying to impose their model, not adapt to circumstances? Many consultancies are one-trick ponies, and that kinda works. They do one thing and they do it well, giving people variants of the same approach. The less …

Speaking gigs — what do you think?

Do you have tips how to get the best results out of them? My mission seems to be to spread the good-humoured word about systems | cybernetics | complexity. I wanted to change the world by transforming consultancy and transforming public services, and, well, in the words of Tesla about the ‘self-driving’ myth — ‘the …

Register here … systems convening book launch
September 2, 2021 @ 2:00 p.m. BST

systems | complexity | cybernetics

The Parable of the Blobs and Squares — Ideas
A clever animation which combines humour with honesty and helps explain the culture we are trying to shift.

The Impossibility of Automating Ambiguity | Birhane (2021)
The Impossibility of Automating Ambiguity The Impossibility of Automating Ambiguity | Artificial Life | MIT Press June 11 2021 The Impossibility of Automating Ambiguity Abeba BirhaneAuthor and Article Information Artificial Life (2021) 27 (1): 44–61 Abstract On the one hand, complexity science and enactive and embodied cognitive science approaches emphasize that people, as complex adaptive […]

Lee Kee Kok — Life and thought 20210415 —
In the chat on, David Ing says: Keekok Lee was interviewed in April 2021 by the Global University for Sustainability, at . I listened to the whole talk (while bicycling), and have provided the link with the index to 58m27s of a rather long life history running 1h52m40s. I’m a completist, so […]

Complexity Management Theory: Motivation for Ideological Rigidity and Social Conflict — Peterson and Flanders (2002)
Complexity Management Theory: Motivation for Ideological Rigidity and Social Conflict (10) (PDF) Complexity Management Theory: Motivation for Ideological Rigidity and Social Conflict Complexity Management Theory: Motivation for Ideological Rigidity and Social Conflict December 2002 Cortex 38(3):429–58 DOI: 10.1016/S0010–9452(08)70680–4 Source PubMed Jordan B Peterson Joseph L Flanders We are doomed to formulate conceptual structures that are much […]

The Cybernetics of
Originally posted on Harish’s Notebook — My notes… Lean, Cybernetics, Quality & Data Science.: In today’s post, I am looking the second order view of complexity. While I was thinking of a good title for this post, I went from “A constructivist walks into a Complexity bar” to “The Chernobyl model of Complexity”. Finally,…

Finally — I’m seen! |
source: Finally — I’m seen! | Wenger-Trayner Finally — I’m seen! by Bev Wenger-Trayner | Jun 7, 2020 | All entries, Systems convening | 0 comments Systems conveners: essential workers long term In 2014, we wrote a chapter on what we called “systems conveners,” people who work to increase learning capability across a whole social landscape that includes many practices, institutions, and stakeholders. It’s not […]

public | service | transformation

Programme of Events | Festival of Governance
Find out more about the different events we are hosting this year for the GGI Festival of Governance.

Organisational development / transformation

Why People Like Working From Home — The Atlantic
Like it or not, the way we work has already evolved.

Ethics in public service

U.S. Asks Taliban to Spare Its Kabul Embassy in Coming Fight for Capital — The New York Times
The demand seeks to stave off an evacuation of the embassy by dangling aid to future Afghan governments — even one that includes the Taliban.

Exclusive: Former council leader denies being in ‘developers’ pockets’ after taking on a new public affairs role — Southwark
Campaigners push for new ban on sitting councillors working for lobbying firms

Environmental and social justice

RedQuadrant and the Public Service Transformation Academy — Sustainably Run and proud, making a difference every day

We use SustainablyRun to plant a tree for every meeting attendee at every meeting we set up (subject to some technical limitations on how invites go out).

Sign up at — there is a free seven-day trial, no charge other than per tree, and we will see the total of trees planted through organisations referred through this link.

We also make an annual contribution to offset all the calculated carbon costs of the two businesses at Carbon Offsets to Alleviate Poverty —

This is in addition to other environmental and social initiatives, and social value commitments for contracts we undertake.

Traumatic Brain Injury and the criminal justice system — Russell
Hope Kent and Professor Huw Williams highlight the prevalence of traumatic brain injury (TBI) among people in contact with the justice system, and its links with offending.

Sandra Janoff Chapter: Striving for Wholeness | Future Search

A fascinting piece

Nature Is Not a Machine — We Treat It So at Our Peril | Systems Community of Inquiry

More brain food

Why fruit rots: theoretical support for Janzen’s theory of microbe–macrobe competition | Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
We present a formal model of Janzen’s influential theory that competition for resources between microbes and vertebrates causes microbes to be selected to make these resources unpalatable to verteb…

United on Sunday: The effects of secular rituals on social bonding and
Religious rituals are associated with health benefits, potentially produced via social bonding. It is unknown whether secular rituals similarly increase social bonding. We conducted a field study with individuals who celebrate secular rituals at Sunday Assemblies and compared them with participants attending Christian rituals. We assessed levels of social bonding and affect before and after the rituals. Results showed the increase in social bonding taking place in secular rituals is comparable to religious rituals. We also found that both sets of rituals increased positive affect and decreased negative affect, and that the change in positive affect predicted the change in social bonding observed. Together these results suggest that secular rituals might play a similar role to religious ones in fostering feelings of social connection and boosting positive affect.

2021/08/09 Normal Accidents, High Reliability, Wicked Messes | Coevolving Innovations

Have we learned from brushes with disaster, or have we become complacent about complexities in everyday life? On March 28, 1979, an accident […]

What’s The Diamond Dry Cut? — Michael Van
Imagine your hair doing what it’s supposed to. Moving effortlessly and falling back in to shape. Day in day out. Whether you swing your long hair around, or run your hands through a short hair cut.Easy to style, it helps you feel lighter, freer and younger. Like it’s part of you rather than something sitting on top, or

Musical interlude

Prefab Sprout: Paddy McAloon interview — Classic Pop
With Prefab Sprout, Paddy McAloon established himself as one of the pre-eminent songwriters of his generation. He tells all in this Classic Pop interview