Transduction — leading transformation — Issue #25

Benjamin P. Taylor
14 min readNov 20, 2021

This is the first issue I’m sharing on ‘native’ LinkedIn as well as GetRevue, so I’m reintroducing myself and also highlighting links from my first three newsletters, back in June…

This newsletter is a collection of links to my social media activity and gatherings, usually for the past week.

If you want to subscribe to the getRevue directly, go to

I also curate everything systems | cybernetics | complexity at the systems community of inquiry, and blog at (or if you prefer, — I post everything to both places and LinkedIn updates at the same time).

All my contact details and social media links (@antlerboy on Linkedin and Twitter) are at I share a lot of things on twitter, but try to keep my postings down on LinkedIn. I also publish relevant items at and on

what I stand for

I’m passionate about the systems | cybernetics | complexity field, and about trying to change things for the better. I work in public service transformation. I love insight porn, but I prefer everything-you-know-is-wrong porn. I enjoy whimsy and wry humour and it turns out I care a lot about ethics, especially in the conduct of public life. I guess I’ll share a lot more as we go on.

An invitation to the RedQuadrant tool shed — the once-chosen
An invitation to the RedQuadrant tool shed Over nearly twenty-four years of service transformation, 15 as a consultant, and twelve years of running RedQuadrant as a network consultancy, I have developed a rich multi-methodology approach which is highly applicable for anyone who wants to transform organisations and their results. The offer I’m offering small group…

The universe is greebling. — the once-chosen
New innovations add more and more layers of details. Those layers of details create new spaces, new possibilities, new ideas. It happens in ecologies, with evolution. In economies, with innovation. And in thoughtspace — every brilliant new meme, every time a critic gets *just* the right phrase to explain the dynamics of a new movie…

Why do they say my country doesn’t exist? — the once-chosen
What did you once have, that can never come back?And what do you want to hold on to, now, as a result? What we build, as people, is so precious. I grew up in a town, in a country, that seemed grey, crushing, often violent, incredibly angry at difference, at uniqueness, at potential, crushing in…

top phive of the week

What do you think is necessary to accelerate #digital #innovation?

I am one of 16 professional advisers interviewed for advice on how to manage accelerating enterprise digital transformation in these uncertain times

The Liminal Web: Mapping An Emergent Subculture Of Sensemakers, Meta-Theorists & Systems Poets — Joe

A really interesting overview of a sort-of field or movement, with my comments and reservations and thoughts (captured on twitter and my blog)

Where is your organisation on the learning ladder of purpose?
How organisations relate to their contexts is critical. I’m talking customers, consumers, and citizens. The purpose of organisation is to create value for them. The learning ladder of purpose (a work in progress) helps us to think about how we are engaging in the world. Most organisations are at level 1.0 — they are focused … Continue reading Where is your organisation on the learning ladder of purpose? →

systems | complexity | cybernetics

Complexity is not a paradigm shift — the once-chosen
Epistemic status: uncertain yet bold (working things out), and part of my thesis that there are no distinguishing fractures in the systems/cybernetics/complexity field, only many relevant and interesting dimensions of difference which cut across the supposed big distinctions. Claims are made such as ‘complexity entails a scientific revolution, hence a radical shift in science’. I…

The Impossibility of Automating Ambiguity | Systems Community of Inquiry
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Second order cybernetics — Glanville (2008) in Systems science and cybernetics. Encyclopedia of life support systems | Systems Community of Inquiry

Iluminate — cultivating the field and practice of systems change | Systems Community of Inquiry We support the emergence of systems change practice, to advance the wellbeing of people and planet Community on Mighty Networks Presentation on Illuminate: cultivating the field and practice of systems change to advance the wellbeing of people and planet Survey for visualising the field and practice of systems change: Follow-up from…

Systems Thinking as if People Mattered Critical Systems Thinking for Citizens and Managers | Ulrich (1998) | Systems Community of Inquiry
Systems Thinking as if People Mattered Critical Systems Thinking for Citizens and Managers [PDF] Systems Thinking as if People Mattered Critical Systems Thinking for Citizens and Managers | Semantic Scholar Systems Thinking as if People Mattered Critical Systems Thinking for Citizens and Managers W. UlrichPublished 1998Political Science This Working Paper offers a revised version of a…

Stuart Kauffman | Full Lecture | KLI — YouTube | Systems Community of
Stuart Kauffman | Full Lecture | KLI 2 Jun 2016 KLI Klosterneuburg Pythagoras’ dream was that all is number, hence entailing law. Newton formulated this in classical physics, whose laws entail the becoming of the universe from given initial (and boundary) conditions. Do similar mathematizable laws entail the becoming of the biosphere? I am convinced…

How Maxwell’s Demon Continues to Startle Scientists | Quanta Magazine | Systems Community of Inquiry
How Maxwell’s Demon Continues to Startle Scientists The thorny thought experiment has been turned into a real experiment — one that physicists use to probe the physics of information.How Maxwell’s Demon Continues to Startle Scientists | Quanta Magazine

Making sense of systems change and systems leadership — the once-chosen
Systems leadership and systems change — what are we trying to achieve? What does these practices mean to you? I’ve been thinking a lot about this, from place-based change in public services to the systems change and systems leadership movements. I have three pieces out at the moment: Local Government Chronicle: what will it actually…

Do you want to do the work of the future, or the past? — the once-chosen
The work of the future is: · to create value for people (as they experience in their lives) · by shaping complex systems (working across organisations, perspectives, geographies, cultures) · and to capture enough of that value to continue Doing this work will be more effective with an ethical perspective including #sustainability, and with #equalityanddiversity…

public | service | transformation

The adaptive council — from RedQuadrant and the Public Service Transformation | 114
Local public services in the UK face a ‘perfect’ storm The challenges appear insurmountable. Conditions that are truly ‘turbulent, uncertain, novel, and… 114 comments on LinkedIn

Commissioning is an approach to transformation

A core piece from me (pdf)

Spotlighting Shared Outcomes for Social Impact Programs That Work — Stanford Social Innovation Review — Eleanor Carter and Nigel Ball of the Government Outcomes Lab — PSTA
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How can you quickly assess how you are doing as a #leader? — the once-chosen path
And how are you actually doing? Hint: it doesn’t involve navel-gazing, it needs you to #gosee This is a follow-on to my post about ‘ten principles for (public) service #transformation’ (see here for more: It’s about how you run the #organisation in a context of meeting citizen and community needs — or, better, help…

Benjamin Taylor: Tips on making place-based working work | Local Government Chronicle (LGC)
Failure is overdetermined in integration projects but some things really do work, writes the chief executive of the Public Service Transformation Academy.

Keep them caring — Escaping the invisible
It’s Shared Lives week, so if you live in the UK, look out for your local Shared Lives organisation celebrating the achievements of local Shared Lives households and the lives that people are living as a result. Here is Paul and his household in North Wales talking about love, laughter and belonging: Meet Paul and…

Want to help change the story of social care? Follow these basic
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Help council commissioning to ‘build back better’ | INLOGOV
Jason Lowther Local government is digging deep into its financial reserves and hiking council tax bills by double inflation, but still anticipates making further service cuts in 2021–22. The Public Accounts Committee report earlier this month shows how central government support hasn’t matched Covid-related budget reductions. More positively, at the same time, councils and partners…

Child exploitation is everyone’s business — contextual safeguarding can help. | Government Transformation

By Claire Bethel

Child sexual exploitation (CSE) had a high profile following the public outcry which ensued from the widespread abuse in places such as Rochdale, Rotherham and Oxford. This led to significant changes on the back of Professor Alexis Jay’s report into the handling of CSE in Rotherham in 2014. Her report brought to light the previously unknown scale of the problem, estimating that at least 1,400 children in Rotherham experienced CSE over a number of years, largely ignored by those responsible for their care and protection. The response — alongside the work of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse, also chaired by Alexis Jay — has included a far greater focus on CSE. Whereas previously, child sexual abuse was viewed as largely a familial problem, the exploitation of children by perpetrators outside the family including groups and gangs, as well as by their peers, has commanded far wider recognition.

The Radical Way_shifting the social paradigm — Hilary Cottam — PSTA
On her blog, Hilary writes: What is the new relationship required between the state and our communities?

Serving the Citizens — Not the Bureaucracy — Sascha Haselmayer for The Chicago Council on Global Affairs presents a strategic vision for city procurement. — PSTA
Sascha Haselmayer of New America, Ashoka, and City Mart ( is a leading thinker and practitioner on dynamic, citizen-centred procurement

Why money spend on public health is a sound investment — Greg Fell — PSTA

A very useful blog

Left shift. Show me the evidence — Sheffield DPH
we all want “better evidence” on “prevention” Was thinking about that q of “if only we had good evidence on prevention” Apols this is a bit policy wonky …..but sort of important Yes we DO all want “better evidence” on “prevention” Alot call for harder edged evidence on return on investment to back up a…

organisational development / transformation

Why is a bridge and water such a good explanation of how people go wrong with business transformation? | Government Transformation
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Technical vs adaptive problems — the once-chosen
I don’t quite know why this distinction is so valuable to people — but it is! The attached is from a recent session to introduce a group to Adaptive Leadership, working alongside a genuine expert (I’m a sceptical, engaged dabbler). Their challenge:what to do about home/hybrid working post-pandemic? Should people work from home? Be forced…

A grid for better customer / citizen led transformation — the once-chosen
There is no transformation without insight. Helping actual customer or citizens achieve their purposes is the purpose of organisations. Yet organisations in public and private sector are often like the drunk under the streetlamp — looking where they can see, not where the keys are. It’s important to understand there are two different dimensions in…

#39: The ironic leader — by Luke Craven — Pig on the
and why we need them, more than ever.

Have you heard of the brown contract? 💩 — the once-chosen path
It’s a simple way to work on relationships, introduced to me by our then-company coach. And brown means what you might be thinking but can’t believe I actually mean. So, you sit down with your business partner, client, consultant, colleague, or whatever. Try to do this early on in the relationship (done late, it would…

ethics in public service

Prince Charles’s former aide quits as charity boss amid cash-for-honours claims | Prince Charles | The Guardian
Michael Fawcett resigns from The Prince’s Foundation after accusations he offered to help secure a knighthood for Saudi donor

New research: One in six seats in the Commons effectively ‘unearned’ under warped voting system — Electoral Reform Society —
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Government’s deceitful and bullying attempt to target a critic — Good Law
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Police corruption and the unsolved murder of Daniel Morgan — podcast | News | The Guardian
The brutal murder has become Britain’s most investigated killing — but 34 years later it remains unsolved and mired in findings of police corruption

It will take more than new rules to bring transparency to public procurement in post-Brexit
Our Executive Director Nigel Ball reflects on recent events in the UK which have brought transparency in public procurement to the fore.

environmental and social justice

‘A poor man’s rainforest’: why we need to stop treating soil like dirt | Soil | The Guardian
The mysterious world under our feet is under threat. Protecting it is as vital as tackling the climate crisis, scientists warn

Half of deaths among people with learning disabilities in England in 2020 were ‘avoidable’ |
Father tells of son being denied ventilator as report reveals many of those with learning disabilities who died of COVID did not receive good enough care

more brain food

In world of infinite overlapping possibility and multiple, irreconcilable differences, what does #education mean? — the once-chosen
I was invited to speak to #Gilbfest, an annual conference that’s been running for many years. The topic this year was Education, not something I really know about as a field. But my presentation was on how to educate people who are dealing with true #complexity — the space of my work in systems |…

The Magnification of Small Differences — Akimbo: A Podcast from Seth Godin — Overcast | Systems Community of Inquiry
Seth Godin in a brilliant rant on his home turf; the sociological impact of power laws and the consequent impact on human cretivity and possibilities. Akimbo: A Podcast from Seth Godin The Magnification of Small Differences May 19, 2021The Magnification of Small Differences — Akimbo: A Podcast from Seth Godin — Overcast Akimbo: A Podcast…

View from the Left Eye — Modes of Observing: | Systems Community of
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What idea changed the way you see the world? — the once-chosen path
Threshold concepts, or gateway ideas, are ideas that, once you get them, change your way of thinking permanently. There’s no going back. And you’re stuck with it. Realising that ‘you’re not the child your parent had in mind’ (as Peter Block says) is a big one. Deep systems insights like power+systems dynamics or the Viable…

Wise women: 6 ancient female philosophers you should know
When we think about ancient philosophers we tend to imagine old men as deep thinkers. Women too have helped shape modern thought.

The Wetware Crisis: the Thermocline of Truth : Bruce F.
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My Spiritual Awakening — Sicong
All the ways I had been hurt… the ways I had fucked up… all the time I had wasted… yes, people suffer and they hurt each other. They live in confusion and do awful things. Terrible things happen for no reason at all. But also, I was just following the natural course of my unfolding, which relates to the unfolding of all things.

Opinion | What’s the Best Way to Stop Tragic Accidents? — The New York
source: Opinion | What’s the Best Way to Stop Tragic Accidents? — The New York Times What’s the Best Way to Stop Tragic Accidents? Oct. 27, 202 By Peter Coy Opinion Writer Tragic accidents have been in the news recently. The actor Alec Baldwin unintentionally shot and killed someone on a movie set after firing a gun that […]


A “welcome to Perth” sign painted on a building rooftop is scaring passengers landing at Sydney airport —
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Prince, Tom Petty, Steve Winwood, Jeff Lynne and others — “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”

At the 2004 Hall of Fame Inductions.

Miriam Makeba

David Gray — Birds Without Wings (Official Video)

Taken from the album — A Century Ends