Transduction — leading transformation — Issue #19

Benjamin P. Taylor
18 min readOct 16, 2021


This newsletter was completed before the tragic death of Sir David Amess. Shocking, horrific, and yet wonderful to read the tributes to his decency from all sides of the political spectrum; yet another sad loss and another call for us to be better, kinder people.

I say ‘completed’ but, having realised Revue (despite being owned by twitter) doesn’t pull in all my feeds, I had begin going through them and chucking in the ‘most relevant’. I think I only went back about three days and there are far more than anyone is likely to ever read!

One thing I notice is that the ‘ethics’ section just grows and grows. Is that a ‘passion’ like systems ¦ cybernetics ¦ complexity — or is it just the righteous indignation that social media loves to throw at us, that is contribution to divisiveness and loss? I will have to think about that one. And find a way to make this much, much shorter.

Top phive of the week

Practice #systemschange #systemsinnovation #systemsconvening

Come and learn and share ideas about systems change, using citizen fire safety and my some models and ideas as examples: Monday 25 Oct 16:30 UK time Register:

Scenario planning for the

Full presentation Drawing on our engagement with our learning community to build back better in the days after, this presentation focuses on the four scenarios developed in that work: Also covered — our vision for the days after: And the Adaptive Council model: The full document is here

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A whodunnit involving football pitches, desire lines, and a broken
Here’s a puzzle for you. In a district council we worked with, there was a new housing estate nicely situated near to the commuter train station. There were a few council-maintained football pitches in the way (part of a leafy park which was a big attraction for home-owners), but the council had the developers build … Continue reading A whodunnit involving football pitches, desire lines, and a broken arm →

How do you show respect and collect learning when involved in organisational change?
This is a small workshop exercise I call ‘the timeline of respect’.(It can be done online as well). We ask everyone to line up in order of the number of years of relevant experience — making the point that the old hands have seen a lot and have a lot of expertise, and the newer … Continue reading How do you show respect and collect learning when involved in organisational change? →

CCIN case studies, featuring PSTA and RedQuadrant’s work

The 2021 edition of Co-operative Council Innovation Network’s Case Studies pack has been published. It contains 73 Case Studies demonstrating some of the many ways that Co-operative Councils are working with local people to build strong and resilient neighbourhoods. The PSTA and its partern organisation, RedQuadrant, are both featured in the case studies. Our case study […]

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How does a Systems Convening perspective inform your work? Join Bev and Etienne Wenger-Traynor as we convene a Knowledge Cafe to discuss their latest thoughts and experiences. Free registration

public | service | transformation

GO Labs — fifth anniversary report and video

Begun in 2016, GO Lab has just celebrated its fifth anniversary with a report, report “Government Outcomes Lab: The first five years” along with a video to showcase its work and reflect on some of the key achievements and landmarks reached during our first five years. You can find the full report in its website: […]

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Is policy important? Twitter
Great article by ⁦ @ayymanduh but really got me thinking about #localgov as policy makers and the massive lack of a systems approach to policy….. we have a long way to go #thread “The tips and ‘cheat codes’ I’ve one of leading a Policy Lab.” by Amanda

Mel Conway
In the 1970’s Lawrence Weed MD, inventor of the problem-oriented record, pioneered the concept that the patient *owns* his/her data. After a visit at his Burlington, VT hospital I was handed a complete record of what their findings were, using his S.O.A.P. paradigm.

In local government world, it’s easy for reforms to make things worse — Institute For Fiscal Studies —

England may be one of the most fiscally centralised countries in the developed world, but local government still matters. English councils have budgets in excess of £50 billion. Not that you’d know it. Our political leaders seem to forget it all too easily. I’ve read again the prime minister’s statement about reforms to social care funding. He did not even mention local councils. Yet it is they, not central government, that are responsible for providing, funding and administering most social care. Local government has also been in the front line both in the response to Covid and dealing with its sometimes extreme financial consequences. Croydon and Slough have both issued so-called section 114 notices, indicating an inability to balance their budgets and the need to suspend all non-essential services. A number of other councils with specific exposures — Luton because it owns the airport, Eastbourne because of its dependence on tourism and conferences, for example — have had extraordinary additional support and borrowing powers granted…

Using social value principles to commission services and for community wealth building — Webinar with E3M, 19th October

19th October, 2021, and 12:00–13:30 This webinar by E3M will focus on how people in local authorities, social enterprises, charities, and other organisations can seek to maximise public benefit. Through a mix of case study presentations and an expert panel discussion, the webinar will explore how social value imperatives can be placed at the heart […]

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Human Learning Systems: The Role of National Government in Systems
Human Learning Systems is a complexity-inspired approach to public services. It is an alternative approach to public management which embraces the complexity…

The Social Care Sector Faces The Most Unprecedented Workforce Crisis And Needs Urgent Government Support — The Carer
Your description for this link…

@joanneroney outlines our core #SpendingReview ask: Govt to work with the sector to coproduce a workforce strategy similar to that for the NHS and Civil Service so we can create a thriving pipeline #SolaceSummit21

Gosh, people discovering the inverse care law!

The NHS needs more leaders who ‘think in systems’ | Comment | Health Service
The NHS needs more leaders who ‘think in systems’ By Dr Parth Patel8 October 2021 The NHS needs more leaders who ‘think in systems’ | Comment | Health Service Journal The NHS needs more leaders who ‘think in systems’ By Dr Parth Patel8 October 2021 1 Comment Save article For all the welcome aspects of the Health […]

Ethics in public service

The Columnist on
This is I think a rather sad exchange.

UK is with EU
Rory Stewart on #Newsnight explaining why the Tories failed with the covid response

I feel sick

Pete Miles

Recommended (but painful) thread on what’s to come, oh so believable…

Sydney Nash @NashSGC · Oct 11

This will be painful for the UK, but the govt. will lap it up & take the opportunity to blame the country’s economic woes (of which there will be many), on the EU. Show this thread

Life expectancy falling in parts of England before pandemic — study — BBC News
It is alarming, say researchers, that longevity was declining in the north even before the pandemic.

Cabinet policy obliges ministers to delete instant messages | Politics | The Guardian
Legal challenge launched after use of self-destructing messages raises concerns over avoidance of scrutiny

Telegraph Money
“It has been an utter catastrophe.” Rocketing costs and spiralling labour shortages are destroying Britain’s home renovation boom and causing chaos for homeowners.

Matthew Syed
Very interesting from Dominic Lawson arguing that the west lost moral authority due to torture re Guantanamo. This emboldened the CCP over repression of the Uighur Muslims China tortures, and we can say nothing

erin griffith on Twitter: “Reading about white collar crime in the new yorker and this detail is just perfect… “

Reading about white collar crime in the new yorker and this detail is just perfect

Ian Dunt

The police have been broadly interpreting this law since it was passed to interfere with people’s right to speak or express themselves exactly as we see here.

Quote Tweet 𝙱𝚎𝚗 𝙲𝚕𝚊𝚒𝚖𝚊𝚗𝚝 @imajsaclaimant · Jun 6, 2020

Woman wearing a “Fuck Boris” T-shirt stopped by Police in central London & told to cover up, with the officer implying she would be arrested if she refused #BlackLivesMatter

Covid response ‘one of UK’s worst ever public health failures’ | Health policy | The Guardian
Early handling and belief in ‘herd immunity’ led to more deaths, Commons inquiry finds

Adil Ray OBE
UK has highest COVID rate in Western Europe — 40,000 new cases reported yesterday. Other countries performing better due to combo of vaccine uptake and social distancing. Not either/or but both. This should be our leading story today. Take the vaccine, wear masks, save lives.

Heather Rufus Countess of Midlandshire
From clapping Dr’s to naming and shaming Dr’s. All in the space of 18months. What sort of country does this? It’s just shameful.

A few people asking about local government budgets (which aren’t included on chart below for boring technical reasons). But the short version is: in England, council spending down by ~18% in real terms over 2010s (25% in real per person terms)

UK Border Force could be given immunity over refugee deaths | Immigration and asylum | The Guardian
Priti Patel is seeking legal protections for officers who ‘push back’ migrant boats

HS2 northern routes will be shelved. Rail investment in the North will be cut. If anyone supported HS2 on the basis it would benefit the economy of the North, they were suckered. It was never going to happen, Tories will never invest in PT for the North.

Rt Hon Grant Shapps
We plan to temporarily extend cabotage rights in the UK so foreign hauliers can make unlimited journeys for 2 weeks whilst here It’ll mean 1000s more deliveries and comes in addition to the 24 steps we’ve already taken to help industry tackle the global lorry driver shortage

How on earth can we be credible to our communities if we don’t reflect them? Joanne Roney @joanneroney at #SOLACEsummit21

systems | complexity | cybernetics

SCiO’s systems thinking practitioner accreditation
A discussion on Facebook about Gene Bellinger’s self-conscious revival of his ‘certified’ (or, as he says, certifiable) systems thinking course made me think to post this. At SCiO (systems and complexity in organisation —, as the UK professional body for systems thinking practice, we have one accredited offer and have supported another. These are […]

Indy Neogy
Wed Oct 20th 1900 BST 1400 EST — I will be hosting an @interintellect_ Salon — Walking the Pattern Recognition Tightrope — looking to generate conversation about how we handle hunches, knowing, unknowing and proof. — Are we seeing something that is there or not there?

Harish Jose
Epistemology is not separate from ontology and ontology is not separate from epistemology. And both are dependent on the language you use. #languaging

the striking fact is that Ashby’s idea of the variety of a system is amazingly close to many of the ideas that masquerade today under the rubric “complexity.” — Casti #Complexity #Ashby #Cybernetics

How does a systems convening perspective inform your work? | Knowledge Cafe ¦ Wednesday October 20, 2021 4:30pm
Wednesday, October 20, 2021 How does a systems convening perspective inform your work? John Hovell Hosted by John Hovell Knowledge Cafe Public group ? Wednesday, October 20, 2021 4:30 PM to 6:00 PM BST How does a systems convening perspective inform your work? | Meetup

The great Ashby: Complexity, variety, and information — Casti — 1996 — Complexity — Wiley Online

What is cybernetics? Beer (2002)
Stafford Beer Kybernetes ISSN: 0368–492X Article publication date: 1 March 2002 What is cybernetics? | Emerald Insight

Demanding Change: Is there an epistemology of systems? — Richard

Source Demanding Change: Is there an epistemology of systems? Saturday, October 9, 2021 Is there an epistemology of systems? @camerontw is critical of a system diagram published (as an illustrative example) by @geoffmulgan in 2013.

The first prior: From co-embodiment to co-homeostasis in early life — Ciaunica (2021)
ScienceDirect The first prior: From co-embodiment to co-homeostasis in early life The first prior: From co-embodiment to co-homeostasis in early life — ScienceDirect Consciousness and Cognition Volume 91, May 2021, 103117 The first prior: From co-embodiment to co-homeostasis in early life Author links open overlay panelAnnaCiaunicaabAxelConstantcHubertPreissldKaterinaFotopouloue

Bridging the Systems Thinking Capability Gap, Thu 4 Nov 2021 at 14:00 UK time
Bridging the Systems Thinking Capability Gap Bridging the Systems Thinking Capability Gap Tickets, Thu 4 Nov 2021 at 14:00 | Eventbrite NOV 04 Bridging the Systems Thinking Capability Gap by Enlightened Enterprise Academy Event Information Bridging the Systems Thinking Capability Gap: To Improve Decision-Making and Create a Better World About this event Leaders in international […]

More Notes on Constraints in
Originally posted on Harish’s Notebook — My notes… Lean, Cybernetics, Quality & Data Science.: In today’s post, I am looking further at constraints. Please see here for my previous post on this. Ross Ashby is one of the main pioneers of Cybernetics, and his book “Introduction to Cybernetics” still remains an essential read for…

Elliott Jaques and sensemaking : ultimate sensemaker or 20th century relic? Groenewald (Phd Thesis, 2012)
ELLIOTT JAQUES AND SENSEMAKING : ULTIMATE SENSEMAKER OR 20TH CENTURY RELIC? Groenewald, Henry James (2012–03) Elliott Jaques and sensemaking : ultimate sensemaker or 20th century relic? Yes. ELLIOTT JAQUES AND SENSEMAKING : ULTIMATE SENSEMAKER OR 20TH CENTURY RELIC? Groenewald, Henry James (2012–03)Thesis (MPhil)–Stellenbosch University, 2012. THESIS ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The thesis considers the work of Elliot Jaques […]

World model learning and inference, Friston et al (2021)
2021 Special Issue on AI and Brain Science: Perspective World model learning and inference Author links open overlay panelKarlFristonaRosalyn J.MoranbYukieNagaicTadahiroTaniguchidHiroakiGomieJoshTenenbaumfg World model learning and inference — ScienceDirect 2021 Special Issue on AI and Brain Science: Perspective — World model learning and inference Author links open overlay panelKarlFristonaRosalyn J.MoranbYukieNagaicTadahiroTaniguchidHiroakiGomieJoshTenenbaumfg


Good sources for ‘music to write to’?

‘Benjamin’s work playlist’ on Apple Music is long but a bit stale now! Sakamoto and Kraftwerk are the touchstones, classical, opera, trad jazz and cool jazz, Divna Ljubojevic, Balearic beats — no English lyrics, a bit of a background vibe?

Assaf Frances
@sarahlonglands at #SolaceSummit21 — quality public service is not a strain on the economy it’s the foundation of a good economy.

Prefab Sprout — When Love Breaks Down (Wogan 1985)
Music video by Prefab Sprout performing When Love Breaks Down. © 1985 Sony Music Entertainment UK Limited

‘It was ridiculous. It was amazing’: the lost pop of 80s Yugoslavia | Music | The Guardian
Pre-civil war, Yugoslavian musicians defied the limitations of technology to make superb electro-pop in an apparent socialist utopia

The Beatles: Get Back | Official Trailer |
The official trailer for #TheBeatlesGetBack is here! The Disney+ original docuseries, directed byPeter Jackson, will be arriving on Disney+ just in time for …

David Henig
Apparently 42 years to the day since the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy was published.
“we demand rigidly defined areas of doubt and uncertainty!” Majikthise and Vroomfondel

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy — How Peter Jones became the Book — BBC
Catch up on your favourite BBC radio show from your favourite DJ right here, whenever you like. Listen without limits with BBC Sounds.

Ryuichi Sakamoto — Diabaram- vinyl
from the album “Beauty”original press Italy 1989involved equipment: turntable: Onkyo cp 1050 cartridge: Sumiko Pearl phono stage: Shiit ManiThis video is not…

Bill Bailey and Billy Bragg sing ‘Unisex Chipshop’
Bill Bailey sings ‘Unisex Chipshop’, his parody of Billy Bragg, with help from Billy himself.

An elk that spent at least two years roaming the Colorado wilderness with a tire around its neck is finally free after wildlife officers removed it.
What a brilliant review of a brilliant show. I sincerely believe that Ted Lasso is part of a cultural shift in narrative. I Want To Believe in Ted Lasso. — by Laurie Penny — Penny Red

More brain food

“The Intersection of Belonging & Organizational Development.” Peter Block and the ATD, 21 October 2021 at 2pm EST
Received by email — the ATD is The Association for Talent Development You’re invited to join Peter Block and the ATD for a powerful discussion titled “The Intersection of Belonging & Organizational Development.” You can expect to… Gain some clarity about your role in fostering a culture of belonging in your organization and with your clients. This […]

The Chichen Itza Pyramid has a rather astonishing and beautiful sonic artifact. If you clap your hands in front of it, you will be presented with the sound of the Quetzal Bird. Consider the amount of planning and engineering this required.

Some I have done myself at Tikal, but never documented, is that at twilight & night, a light aimed from the stage of one pyramid to another diretcly across the plaza from it reveals the “eye” in the pyramid. The band disappears and the peak appears to float as in Annuit Coeptus.


What I liked about this show was the real embodiment of inter-independece. It was clear that it was their world and that the locals had the knowledge and contextual wisdom. And it was also clear that Clarkson had the money and pig-headedness and would not stop being a cock.


The system is in the eye of the beholder

Peter Jones replied:

Both epistemes reveal the other position. Critical realism reveals the validity of cognitive cocreation of systems by agreement. Constructivism reveals that we navigate reality effectively when treated as objective. Embrace the paradox. 2 3


great idea! and this whole thread is great

I’ve been in restautants and places in Germany where they offered “Piratenteller” (pirate plates) on the menu for kids for free. Means the kid gets an empty plate for food they “steal” from their friends/family. Maybe your friend just wanted to be a food pirate.

I’m not a great conspiracy theorist or ‘us and them’ campaigner, but some of the headlines and pronouncements about ‘getting back to the office’ really *do* show the mask slipping.

Oh GAWD I had to contact the council again — adult social care then (in an ‘integration trailblazer’) the CCG — and the council didn’t have the number. Main contact numbers to personal voicemail, Tesco Mobile Voicemail. Don’t get old in the UK, just don’t do it.


This kind of stuff is just incoherent nonsense. Should staff be paid? Market or hair-shirt rates? Stationery vendors — do we expect pens and paper at cost? What if someone invents a lifesaving technology? What about pharmacies? This is the kind of thinking that enabled austerity.

Quote Tweet

Dr Julia Grace Patterson @JujuliaGrace · Oct 13

No one should be profiting from the NHS. It’s a public service.

Siri, show me a visual metaphor for the power of national vs. local/regional government within the UK.

This review of vitamin D and COVID-19 is ENORMOUSLY popular online, so I thought I’d take a look There are serious deficiencies here. I’m actually wondering if the paper is a joke?

We do live in a simulation. It’s called your brain.

Can I just put it out there that I prefer dealing with my GP over the phone or zoom to going to the surgery and sitting around with all the other sick people. It’s a far better use of both my time and the GP’s. The Daily Mail can get stuffed.

Organisational development and transformation

Trends in
Bülent Duagi (IAF Romania), Nathaniel Cadwell (IAF Belgium) and Jan Lelie (IAF Netherlands), cordially invite you to join our transborder facilitated session on Trends in Facilitation As we approach the last days of Facilitation Week 2021, you are invited to share your perspective on trends in facilitation. You’ll leave this session with a synthesis of your own learning, other perspectives on facilitation trends, and next steps on where you would like to take your practice. When? Friday, Oct 22nd, 10am CET / 11am Bucharest time Where? on Zoom

The Integrator Burden — by John Cutler — The Beautiful

Does your role involve being an “integrator” across teams?

Supporting. Connecting. Cohering. Resolving. Balancing. Listening. Translating. Absorbing.

If so, there is a good chance you have a view of your organization that no one has (not even the CEO). You see and hear things most people don’t see. You are taking on an emotional burden that most people don’t take on. And you are shouldering an emotional burden that often goes unrecognized and unappreciated…and unpaid.

Robert Hutton
Sometimes I think about the day in January 2020 when a Number 10 spokesman told us that after the end of that month, they’d never mention “Brexit” again.

Happy Hot Nute Summer
I do sort of wonder what Gordon Brown thinks about the British press’s current near-uniform stance that the existence of economic problems in other countries makes it grotesquely unfair to blame the British government for economic problems in Britain

Eddie Copeland
And herein lies the problem. There’s an incredible amount that councils can do through innovation, better ways of working, better use of digital and data etc. We can and will do all of that. But we can’t innovate on fumes…
First of ’40 new hospitals’ delayed amid “Brexit” workforce disruption