Transduction — leading transformation — Issue #125

Benjamin P. Taylor
12 min readMar 29, 2024

This week:

  • Upcoming Events
  • Systems and Complexity in Organisation
  • Open Systems Theory
  • AI

Upcoming Events:

SE Stakeholder Engagement — Productive Conversations (0.5d)

This training programme could equally be called ‘honest conversations’, ‘difficult conversations’, ‘constructive conversations’, or ‘challenging conversations’.

Fundamental to the success and flavour of organisational life — and systems practice interventions — are the quality of conversations we are able to have. If we can develop an honest and shared attempt to get at shared understanding — shared ‘truth’ if you like — or at least to fully appreciate each others’ understanding — then we can make true progress.

This interactive session will:

  • Discuss different types of feedback / difficult conversation
  • Understand how the brain rationalises and protect us
  • Increase awareness of our own habits and perceptions
  • Prepare and plan for a difficult conversation
  • Have effective performance conversations
  • Learn how to respond / look after yourself in the moment

And help you to have productive conversations even when it seems most unlikely. You will need to bring a record of an ‘unproductive’ conversation you have had, or fear having, and be prepared to work with others around it and other examples. You will end the session with the ability to surface more productive conversations even when it is difficult.

Trainer
These courses are delivered by Benjamin P Taylor, an expert in systems, cybernetics, and complexity in service transformation.

Pricing Info

£250 +VAT

To enquire please go on this link: https://www.systemspractice.org/courses/ise-stakeholder-engagement-productive-conversations-05d

ILG Large Group Interventions (1.0d)

In a classic 2005 article, ‘Techniques to Match our Values’, Weisbord set out the ‘learning curve’, with a movement from ‘experts solve problems’ to ‘’everybody’ solves problems’ to ‘experts improve whole systems’ to ‘’everybody’ improves whole systems’. Inherent in the development of systems practice from the start has been recognition of ‘the whole’, which comes in various forms from group dynamics to organisational viability.

This programme will give an overview of intervention approaches which ‘bring whole systems into the room’ rather than have a few experts work on individual issues. We will look at some of the history and the wide range of interventions that have been developed, and provide an overview of some of the most interesting.

We will compare and contrast these approaches and provide ‘ways in’ to consider when, and which, large group intervention might be an appropriate part of a systems practice intervention.

Trainer
These courses are delivered by Benjamin P Taylor, an expert in systems, cybernetics, and complexity in service transformation.

Pricing Info

£500 +VAT

To enquire please go on this link: https://www.systemspractice.org/courses/ilg-large-group-interventions-10d

ICS3 Workshop Design (0.5d)

This module provides learners with an understanding of the design of workshops and relevant considerations, taking into account the potentially very different contexts and definitions of what a ‘workshop’ is. It introduces a range of tools and approaches for workshop design, building on the facilitation module. It gives tools to consider evaluation and learning about workshop design, and compares various approaches, enabling learners to better select and apply appropriate workshop design approaches to their context.

A workshop can be distinguished from a meeting (though the boundaries may be blurry at times), by some of the following indicators:

  • intensive discussion and activity, designed to progress thinking and planning
  • intentionally designed activities (rather than simply an agenda), or flow
  • an impact focus, usually above and beyond just a discussion or decision — some kind of output taking an intervention or initiative forward

An alternative use of the work, to workshop (something), refers to taking a product or idea into a period of intense focused experimentation and development, often bringing in fresh or different perspectives than the original developers of the product or idea. This is of course closely related, but implies some partly-developed ‘content’ as the workshop focus, as opposed to simply a product or idea. In either case, some input is expected to a workshop, whether process, content, or both.

The learning will cover:

  • What a workshop is
  • Where and when we might use a workshop
  • A range of tools and approaches
  • How to appropriately select an approach, and design a workshop to fit the requirements in context
  • The importance of reflection and how to evaluate and build a learning loop
  • Workshop design tools, core and conceptual

This is a very practical, hands-on course based on you creating an initial workshop design from your context, using sources offered, and sharing and discussing it in the session.

This course complements the course on Facilitation for systems practice interventions, though they can be done independently or in any order.

Trainer
These courses are delivered by Benjamin P Taylor, an expert in systems, cybernetics, and complexity in service transformation.

Pricing Info

£250 +VAT

To enquire please go on this link: https://www.systemspractice.org/courses/ics3-workshop-design-05d

ICS2 Facilitation Skills for Systems Practice Interventions (0.5d)

This course provides learners with an understanding of the facilitation relationship in the context of systems intervention itself, and of the challenges it brings. It introduces a range of tools and practices for facilitation and provides guidance on workshop planning. Finally, it compares various approaches to facilitation, enabling learners to develop a stronger sense of the kind of facilitator they want to be.

Topics covered include:

  • The facilitraining rainbow — where do you stand?
  • Divergence, emergence, convergence;
  • Differentiation and integration method;
  • Adaptive change;
  • Facilitation for ‘robust systems’;
  • Session planning and session flow;
  • The perceptual positions;
  • Ground rules for workshops and ways into partnership;
  • Maintaining your authenticity;
  • Peter Block’s ‘six conversations that matter’;
  • Chris Corrigan’s ‘seven little helpers’;
  • Hosting and guiding and/or customer services;
  • Context cues;
  • History and three futures;
  • Power tools and making concrete — Naming The Thing.

Trainer
These courses are delivered by Benjamin P Taylor, an expert in systems, cybernetics, and complexity in service transformation.

Pricing Info

£250 +VAT

To enquire please go on this link: https://www.systemspractice.org/courses/ics2-facilitation-skills-systems-practice-interventions-05d

ICS1b Consulting for Systems Practice Interventions — (b) Core (0.5d)

This course provides learners with a deeper understanding of:

  • Discovery and research into the client system;
  • Power questions, layers of analysis, and objectifying ‘the system’;
  • Research and action-based approaches;
  • Third-party and whole systems approaches;
  • Maintaining the balance of responsibility for deep engagement;
  • Structuring analysis and feedback, developing commitment;
  • Choosing dirty or clean consulting.

To maximise your chances of being effective in achieving positive change, you should combine a sound understanding of systems approaches with well-developed intervention skills.

This in turn requires a clear conception of the role of the systems practitioner as ‘consultant’, of their relationships with stakeholders, especially the ‘client’, and the nature of the practitioner’s influence on the organisations they seek to transform.

Drawing on Flawless Consulting, Barry Oshry’s Organic Systems Framework, and more, Consulting for Systems Practice Interventions emphasises a collaborative approach and equal responsibility between the intervention practitioner and the client, navigating a path between the twin traps of ‘consultant as boss’ and ‘consultant as servant’.

These courses are relevant to anyone — consultant or not! — who is engaging in organisational change.

Trainer
These courses are delivered by Benjamin P Taylor, an expert in systems, cybernetics, and complexity in service transformation.

Pricing Info

£250 +VAT

To enquire please go on this link: https://www.systemspractice.org/courses/ics1b-consulting-systems-practice-interventions-b-core-05d

ICS1a Consulting for Systems Practice Interventions — (a) Foundation (0.5d)

This course will provide learners with key principles and a structure for interventions. Topics covered include:

  • The five phases of the consultative process;
  • ‘Techniques are not enough’: relationships in consulting;
  • Dealing with ‘the space of service’;
  • Setting up a clear ‘contract’ for interventions — including triangular and rectangular contracting;
  • Authenticity and setting your assumptions;
  • The client behind the client and the problem behind the problem;

To maximise your chances of being effective in achieving positive change, you should combine a sound understanding of systems approaches with well-developed intervention skills.

This in turn requires a clear conception of the role of the systems practitioner as ‘consultant’, of their relationships with stakeholders, especially the ‘client’, and the nature of the practitioner’s influence on the organisations they seek to transform.

Drawing on Flawless Consulting, Barry Oshry’s Organic Systems Framework, and more, Consulting for Systems Practice Interventions emphasises a collaborative approach and equal responsibility between the intervention practitioner and the client, navigating a path between the twin traps of ‘consultant as boss’ and ‘consultant as servant’.

These courses are relevant to anyone — consultant or not! — who is engaging in organisational change.

Trainer
These courses are delivered by Benjamin P Taylor, an expert in systems, cybernetics, and complexity in service transformation.

Pricing Info

£250 +VAT

To enquire please go on this link: https://www.systemspractice.org/courses/ics1a-consulting-systems-practice-interventions-foundation-05d

Link Collection:

My Weekly Blog post:

If you’re reading this, you probably know what I’m about — obsessive about systems | complexity | cybernetics and public | service | transformation, consultancy, facilitation, #systemschange and all the rest.

It’s that time of the year — well, it seems to happen about quarterly — where I want to ask people who are reading my stuff what they are getting out of it, what they’d like to see more of, what they would like to hear from me.

So this time I’d like to know — what would you like to ask me?

I’ll answer in the comments if I can, if anything gets a few likes I will definitely write about it… I’d appreciate your input!

Can you set me some exam questions?

The cell is not a factory — Charudatta Navare, Aeon, (2024)

[and see a dissenting view in this tweet:]

Scientific narratives project social hierarchies onto nature. That’s why we need better metaphors to describe cellular life

Charudatta Navare is a science writer and a science education researcher. He holds a PhD from the Homi Bhabha Centre for Science Education at the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research in Mumbai, India.

Edited by Pam Weintraub

Biology is not as hierarchical as most textbooks paint it | Aeon Essays

My Favourite Newsletters — Tijn Tjoelker

[With the generous inclusion of my Substack (I’ll share the perhaps more accessible LinkedIn version directly here in a minute), there’s a lot here that will be of interest to SysCoI readers]

Over 50+ newsletters that help me find signal out of noise 📡

TIJN TJOELKER

MAR 27, 2024

My Favourite NewslettersOver 50+ newsletters that help me find signal out of noise 📡TIJN TJOELKERMAR 27, 2024

My Favourite Newsletters — by Tijn Tjoelker — The Mycelium

The Mycelium

My Favourite Newsletters

My work involves finding signal out of noise. Newsletters play a pivotal role in this. For years I’ve been meticulously subscribing and unsubscribing to hundreds of newsletters to build a meaningful feed with highly diverse and niche content. Now, going through my inbox every Friday is an absolute…

a day ago · 15 likes · 3 comments · Tijn Tjoelker

ALIDAD HAMIDI ON: OPEN SYSTEMS THEORY

Alidad explains Open Systems Theory:

Alidad Hamidi is a consultant who helps guide organizations to their full potential. Alidad is an expert on self-management and offers training and consulting services that enable it. He is passionate about applying Open Systems Theory in service to achieving improved business outcomes through self-management, including faster time to market, better products, and happy customers. Alidad is located in Sydney Australia and you can connect with him on LinkedIn.

The Heart of What Matters: Making Meaning in a Time of Crisis — John Watter and Céline McKeown, Friday, 12 July, Sussex UK [paid]

Connect with self, nature and the heart of what truly matters on this weekend Circle of Trust® retreat deep in the Sussex countryside.

By John Watters & Céline McKeown

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/the-heart-of-what-matters-making-meaning-in-a-time-of-crisis-tickets-765311315747?aff=DWM

This Machine Kills podcast 328. The Universal Science of Advertisement (ft. Lee McGuigan)

[An excellent podcast taking in the origins of adtech, the difference between history and origins, the way any technology of prediction and understanding can become one of control and direction, the connections between advertising and insurance, the challenge of setting the terms of what you optimise (lots about Operations Research), and ‘risk is a metaphysical property’, and more…]

This Machine Kills

We are joined by Lee McGuigan — author of Selling the American People — to discuss the origins of advertising / adtech and how the ad industry has been deeply entangled with operations research and information technology since the 1940s, way longer than the usual stories of when advertising and technology joined together. As Lee’s work shows, the ad industry is a perfect case study for better understanding how the science / ideology of (algorithmic) optimization broke free from its confines in military strategy or economic planning and became a set of universal methods and solutions that should be applied everywhere.

328. The Universal Science of Advertisement (ft. Lee McGuigan)This Machine Kills 8 hours ago8 hours agoLikeRepostShareCopy LinkAdd to Next upMore 2,258 plays2,258This Machine Kills 886 followers886 349 tracks349FollowReportFollow This Machine Kills and others on SoundCloud.Sign inCreate a SoundCloud accountWe are joined by Lee McGuigan — author of Selling the American People — to discuss the origins of advertising / adtech and how the ad industry has been deeply entangled with operations research and information technology since the 1940s, way longer than the usual stories of when advertising and technology joined together. As Lee’s work shows, the ad industry is a perfect case study for better understanding how the science / ideology of (algorithmic) optimization broke free from its confines in military strategy or economic planning and became a set of universal methods and solutions that should be applied everywhere.

Stream 328. The Universal Science of Advertisement (ft. Lee McGuigan) by This Machine Kills | Listen online for free on SoundCloud

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