Transduction — leading transformation — Issue #18

Benjamin P. Taylor
16 min readOct 9, 2021

Another long one this week — there’s so much interesting and important stuff around!

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Exploring practical systems change: why are we not learning all the lessons we could about fire safety? Join us for a free, open session to explore!

“Institutions established to serve the public can over time, become insular and increasingly focussed on self-preservation. Against this, a changing world posing new risks and opportunities, an absence of competition or change catalysts, and limited public input can then create a growing gap between what is, and what could be. When the gap and cost …

Transduction — a powerful and important concept that few have heard

Have you heard of transduction? A critical systems concept from cellular biology, adopted by Stafford Beer, who described a transducer at the boundary of an organisation, coding and decoding messages between the language outside and the language inside. Complex? The way I explain it is that information never crosses a system boundary unscathed — in …

Tackling violence against women and girls in London — RedQuadrant working with the London Lord Mayor’s Office for Crime and Policing (MOPAC) — Co-operative Councils Innovation
CCIN Case Study: Tackling violence against women and girls in London — RedQuadrant working with the London Lord Mayor’s Office for Crime and Policing (MOPAC)

Somerset Commissioning Academies — The Public Service Transformation Academy working with Somerset County Council — Co-operative Councils Innovation
CCIN Case Study: Somerset Commissioning Academies — The Public Service Transformation Academy working with Somerset County Council

Can you find the unlocking insight?
A friend of mine was charged with analysing empty homes across London — apparently a good measure critical in thinking about the housing market, economy, and homelessness. He found *very* odd signals in the data. Why do you think they occurred? Find out about the mystery and hazard a guess here:

Teacher Tom: To Live In A World Of People Who Think For Themselves
friday, october 08, 2021 To Live In A World Of People Who Think For Themselves Teacher Tom: To Live In A World Of People Who Think For Themselves

systems | complexity | cybernetics

Lisa McNulty — Postrat Reading List |
Link: Arose from Latest update here: ‘Postrat’ is somewhat defined in the tweet thread and also here: I like postrats, though of course I’m not in the ingroup.

Selling Systems Thinking — by Gene Bellinger — SystemsWiki’s Musings
source: Selling Systems Thinking — by Gene Bellinger — SystemsWiki’s Musings Selling Systems Thinking You want me to buy what? Gene Bellinger26 min ago A few years ago, one day when I was feeling more presumptuous than usual, I began the development of a “Systems Thinker Certification” course on Udemy. In case you’re unfamiliar with Udemy, […]

Russell Ackoff ‘on ‘POSIWID”
Classic Ackoff, via Alidad Hamidi, who says HumanSelection (@Alidad Hamidi) Tweeted: POSIWID. Ackoff in this wonderful short video talk about the fact that we have sickness system and not health system and most of our social systems are doing the opposite of what the state they do. (He clarified that the concept of POSIWID is […]

the Tektological҉’s Newsletter — e.g. Common Cybernetic Resources (C\cyb) — by Tektological҉ — Serendipity
A new newsletter (via substack, but currently free) on cybernetics. Main link: I’d particularly draw your attention to: Common Cybernetic Resources (C\cyb) A web of links and resources. Tektological҉ — Serendipity Jul 22 5 12 Common Cybernetic Resources (C\cyb) — by Tektological҉ — Serendipity — Tektological҉’s Newsletter

Systems Thinking: trial and learning — Gene Bellinger as part of the Open University Systems Thinking in Practice Jubilee — Tue 12 Oct 2021 at 12:00 UK Time
Gene Bellinger will present a webinar titled Systems Thinking: Trial and Learning Systems Thinking: trial and learning Tickets, Tue 12 Oct 2021 at 12:00 | Eventbrite “Systems Thinking: Trial & Learning” a presentation by Gene Bellinger on October 12, 2021 12:00 GMT as part of the Open University Systems Thinking in Practice Jubilee

Analogy as the Core of Cognition — Douglas Hofstader (2001)
Stanford Report, February 16, 2006 Noted cognitive scientist asserts that analogy is (almost) the whole enchilada BY BARBARA PALMER Noted cognitive scientist asserts that analogy is (almost) the whole enchilada Paper Analogy as the Core of Cognition (Previously published in: The Analogical Mind: Perspectives from Cognitive Science, Dedre Gentner, Keith J. Holyoak, and Boicho N. […]

Kumu’s suite of network mapping/weaving tools — and how they may help your network of improvers (Zoom) | Q Community — 6 October 4pm UK time
Kumu’s suite of network mapping/weaving tools — and how they may help your network of improvers (Zoom) Cofounder and CEO of Kumu Jeff Mohr will share their suite of network mapping/weaving tools — showing how each might help your network and how to determine which is right for you (including a real-world example of an […]

James Howe 🐭 on
Compare this chart of the easiest, best-understood pathways in biology to any description of a neural network. This is multiple orders of magnitude more complex, and it’s among the simplest phenomena. Anything that makes bio seems easy usually abstracts away nearly every factor.

The Many Careers of Jay Forrester — by Peter Dizikes, The Many Careers of Jay Forrester Computing pioneer Jay Forrester, SM ’45, developed magnetic-core memory. Then he founded the field of system dynamics. Those are just two of his varied Peter Dizikesarchive page June 23, 2015 It is a late March day in Massachusetts. The sky is clear, but the air is frigid […]

Down the Rabbit Hole: Tracking the Humanizing Effect of John Dewey’s Pragmatism on Norbert Wiener — Moorhead (2015)
Down the Rabbit Hole: Tracking the Humanizing Effect of John Dewey?s Pragmatism on Norbert Wiener September 2015IEEE Technology and Society Magazine 34(3):64–71 DOI: 10.1109/MTS.2015.2461231 Laura Moorhead (11) (PDF) Down the Rabbit Hole: Tracking the Humanizing Effect of John Dewey?s Pragmatism on Norbert Wiener

public | service | transformation

How could social provision achieve more? Report from Triangle

Our friends at Triangle, who are behind the Outcomes Star, have produced a very interesting report: The Enabling Help report outlines why a rethink of the ideas that drive the service delivery system is essential for people with complex and long term needs. It provides a new set of ideas to unlock the potential in research, policymaking, […]

How can systems thinking enhance stewardship of public services? And webinar 14 October 2021, 5pm AEDT
How can systems thinking enhance stewardship of public services? 15 OCT 2019 Karen Gardner, Sue Olney, Luke Craven, Deborah Blackman PUBLISHER Public Service Research Group (UNSW Canberra) How can systems thinking enhance stewardship of public services? Not sure how I missed this: How can systems thinking enhance stewardship of public services? 15 OCT 2019Karen Gardner, Sue […]

Co-operative Councils Innovation Network — Case Studies Pack 2021

Proud of the PSTA and RedQuadrant case studies featured here!

Garbage odyssey: San Francisco’s bizarre, costly quest for the perfect trash can — Mission
Here was the plan being described to him, as far as Supervisor Matt Haney could parse it: In late 2018, San Francisco had embarked on a quest to design

Organisational development / transformation

Bob Garratt probably coined ‘the learning organisation’
The Learning Organisation : Developing Democracy At Work was published in 86/7 (obviously developed before that), and the claim is there’s a direct link through an intermediary to Senge. Garratt seems likely to predate de Geus

Designing Hybrid Workshops — Acuity
This workshop decribes a few ways to think about how to design your own online workshops to facilitate sharing knowledge held by a group or to teach a skill or process.

GGI’s reaction to the NHS leadership review | Good Governance Institute | Good
By Darren Grayson, GGI partner and executive director At the weekend, the government announced its intention to conduct what it called the ‘most far-reaching review of health and social care leadership in 40 years’. The review, to be led by the retir…

Framing the crisis — noelito —
In this practical and uplifting blog, Alice Sachrajda says “just as every story has a beginning, middle and an end so does the pandemic…

Ethics in public service

Target culture for backlog could lead to tragedy — former health secretary | Evening
Jeremy Hunt was the longest serving health secretary in Britain.

A federal ICAC must end the confusion between integrity questions and

I wish we had such an organisation in the UK.

The New South Wales ICAC’s remit has changed over the years to investigate more minor breaches by public officials. This can caused confusion and will undermine its effectiveness.

McKinsey and the capacity of business for evil — the once-chosen
Interesting tweet thread about McKinsey here: The claim is that McKinsey is being really smart and transforming itself. But I think that people come over all unnecessary when they talk about McKinsey — both as fanboys and as haters. This isn’t (as Clayton Christensen talked about when on payroll) transforming consulting; this is good…

The 81 women killed in 28 weeks | Femicide | The Guardian
Since Sarah Everard’s brutal murder, only one thing has changed — the death toll

Fury as 26 Met police colleagues of Wayne Couzens committed sex crimes since 2016 — Mirror
Two were jailed a month after Wayne Couzens killed Sarah Everard, five carried out a crime on duty and one flasher gets a job — there are calls for Police Commissioner Cressida Dick to resign and for the Met Police to have a ‘full overhaul’ to end sexist culture

Sarah Ludford 🔶🇬🇧🇪🇺 on
On both my Tube journeys today, the majority were not wearing masks. Johnson’s ‘Freedom Day’ rubbish and the bad example of Tory MPs in the Commons chamber bear a great deal of the responsibility.

Steve Analyst on Twitter
If by ‘drunk’ they mean ‘struggling to survive’ and ‘thanks for all the extra work to keep the economy going during the pandemic, we really appreciate the effort’.

Revolting-Subject on
7 years ago Prince William ‘vowed’ to get rid of Royal Ivory collection. Garnered headlines. Did fuck all. These Ivory & copper leopards — looted from Benin City in Nigeria then given to queen victoria. Still stolen. Still part of royal collection.

Juliette / SussexDetective 🇫🇷 on
The Queen being booed in front of the Scottish Parliament yesterday ( end of the video )

Fear on the ward: UK mothers threatened with social services for refusing maternity care | Childbirth | The Guardian
Women who refuse advice from health service staff say they are being coerced with threats of referrals to agencies and police

Mike Bird on Twitter
Every time I hear people discussing out loud how the government will manage some specious economic policy goal I remember George Osborne’s £1 trillion UK exports by 2020 goal, which everyone wrote up and then never mentioned ever again (actual UK exports were £571.7bn last year)

Britain is trying to shrink its way to prosperity. It doesn’t work. — Freethinking
You may not realise it, but those empty shelves, the unfuelled car of Kirstie Allsopp, and thousands of pointlessly culled pigs all mark the “birth pangs of a new economic model.” Get over it, we are heading to prosperity, this is what it looks like. Prosperity, here we come! The gist of the idea…

Investigation: Lessons from implementing IR35 reforms — National Audit Office (NAO)
Off-payroll working tax rules can apply if a worker (sometimes known as a contractor) provides their services to the client through their own limited company or another type of intermediary. The rules aim to make sure that workers who would have been an employee if they were providing their services directly to the client pay […]

Environmental and social justice

Historical climate emissions reveal responsibility of big polluting nations | Greenhouse gas emissions | The Guardian
Six of top 10, including China and Russia, yet to show ambition on emissions cuts before Cop26

The ‘messy’ alternative to tree-planting — BBC
Trees are excellent at taking carbon out of the atmosphere and trapping it in their trunks, roots and leaves. But what if planting them wasn’t the solution?

More brain food

Hundreds of three-eyed ‘dinosaur shrimp’ emerge after Arizona monsoon | Live
Their eggs can stay dormant for decades, waiting for water.

Neuropragmatism: A Neurophilosophical Manifesto — Solymosi and Shook (2013)
Neuropragmatism: A Neurophilosophical Manifesto Tibor Solymosi and John Shook Abstract Over the past three decades, cognitive science has been making a turn towards pragmatism. Here we outline steps towards completing this turn. As a handful of cognitive scientists and philosophers have been arguing more recently, the insights of William James, John Dewey, and George […]

Column: Yola and Fingalian — the forgotten ancient English dialects of
Yola was a fascinating mediaeval English dialect only spoken in Wexford which, along with Fingallian in Co Dublin, demonstrates the rich, multicultural society that was ancient Ireland, writes Damian Shiels.

Situation and inquiry in Dewey
In a meeting this year, Angus Doulton remarked ‘the concept of situation is a deepy cybernetic one’. This resonated so strongly with my thinking and provided such a powerful set of concepts that I am currently trying to include it properly in my writing, and having a kind of crisis of discovery at how much […]

Lifeworld Analysis — Agre and Horswill (1997?)
Lifeworld Analysis Philip Agre Department of Communication 0503 University of California, San Diego La Jolla, CA 92093, USA and Ian Horswill Northwestern University Computer Science Department 1890 Maple Avenue Evanston, IL 60201, USA Lifeworld Analysis

Mind, Self and Society — GH Mead (1934)
Mind, Self and Society — wikipedia Mind, Self, and Society is a book based on the teaching of American sociologist George Herbert Mead‘s, published posthumously in 1934 by his students. It is credited as the basis for the theory of symbolic interactionism. Charles W. Morris edition of Mind, Self, and Society initiated controversies about authorship because the book was based […]


Rebecca Herbert on
A handful of Otters started appearing in Singapore’s waters couple years back. Today there are Otter gang wars.
Safesurfer · Julian Cope


Benjamin P. Taylor on

Bateson: “We now know, with considerable certainty, that the ancient problem of whether the mind is immanent or transcendent can be answered in favor of immanence, and that this answer is more economical of explanatory entities than any transcendent answer”

Sky News on
Tory fundraiser Ben Elliot refused to answer questions about allegations he solicited charity donations in return for access to Prince Charles.

Science Banana on
Why, in general, are old things beautiful and new things ugly? This is my descriptive answer, but how it got that way is more complicated

Murielle 💜 🇫🇷 🇬🇦🍇 on
As usual, the Daily Fail comments have been moderated for the royal pedophile.

Benjamin P. Taylor on
chick trying to eat something not regurgitated by its parents. A metaphor for something.

Brendan May on
Southern Water’s handy map of everywhere they have pumped raw sewage into the sea in the last 24 hours because during heavy rain they’d rather be fined for that than invest in actual solutions. It’s the whole southeastern coastline, basically. We’re surrounded by shit.

Benjamin P. Taylor on
The Sun: “Home Office bid to criminalise ’ public interest scoops is shameful. …a chilling clamp …wildly out of step with other democracies… a licence for cover-up — of disastrous failures, criminal negligence or career-ending hypocrisies…”

Adam Lent on
Classic management error thinking the solution is just to have the best people in charge (aka the Cummings Fallacy). Without a radical strategy to shift to prevention and community power, the NHS will struggle even with a genius at the top.

Alison Fisk on
A blast from the past. Bronze Age lurs from Denmark are ancient musical wind instruments cast in bronze about 3,000 years ago. Some 12 of the 39 Lurs discovered in Denmark can still be played. It’s thought they were used in religious ceremonies.

The Times on
A Times investigation has found that spending on government agencies reached £29 billion last year, with staff paid six-figure salaries for as little as two days’ work a week

Local Government Association on
Social care, child protection, homelessness prevention, road maintenance, waste & recycling. The vital services we rely on face an uncertain future. If we are to come out of this pandemic with a levelled up society, councils must be at the heart of it A #SpendingReview thread

Andy Hughes on
BREAKING: A Metropolitan Police officer who was in the same unit as PC Wayne Couzens has tonight been charged with the rape of a woman in September last year. PC David Carrick, 46, will appear in court tomorrow morning.

Benjamin P. Taylor on
If anyone from tech or crypto believes they have the necessary experience to run a state, I highly encourage them to take this advice.

Prof. Christina Pagel on
We should have kept protections in schools. We should restore them now! Masks & contact tracing in secondary schools… Ventilation! Where are the promised CO2 monitors? And the support to act on their readings if too high? Govt has had months to prepare & done so little. 12/12

Slow but steady has seen the EU win out in the vaccine race | Coronavirus | The Guardian
Ursula von der Leyen says the union’s vaccination programme is now a success after its stumbling start

HC on
If you’re surprised at the reaction from British government and police following Wayne Couzen’s sentencing, a reminder that Boris Johnson scrapped the investigation into a Tory MP who pinned and grabbed a female protester.

Guinevieve 🪲 on
the best gorilla joke of 1897 is maybe my favorite joke of all time.

Natalie Bennett on
#COP26 reminder World has used 85% of CO2 budget giving 50% chance of limiting heating to 1.5C, the danger limit agreed in Paris in 2015

Forrest Fleischman on
Relatedly, there isn’t enough space on the planet for natural ecosystems to absorb more than a small share of fossil fuel emissions.

Jennifer Adcock 💚 on
this man has to continue working, for his bird wife

Jo Maugham on
Man who advised on a £220m bribe to Uzbekistan extols the virtues of the “privileged relationships” he gets from his donations to the Conservative Party.

Michael Bench-Cauldron on
Nozick asks Leibniz if he’d like to go in the experience machine, and Leibniz says “No thanks; this is the best possible world!” Years later he dies and meets God, and says “wtf God, best possible world my ass,” and God says “What do you mean? I sent you an experience machine!”