Transduction — leading transformation — Issue #27

Benjamin P. Taylor
15 min readDec 4, 2021

Welcome to the first edition published simultaneously on Revue, LinkedIn, and now… substack (as well as being crossposted on Twitter, Medium, and my blog). Arguably this is getting silly, but it’s just cutting and pasting. And I’m trying to find my audience!

This week saw a post I dashed off on Monday on an ‘employment contract-free future of work’ get an astonishing 314,000 views on LinkedIn, so I’ve blogged on that — and how I ‘hack LinkedIn’.

And we are just days away from Requisite Agility Unleashed — you can still get a special 50% discount off the basic USD49 ticket with code

Oh, and as this is a newish newsletter for LinkedIn, I’ve pulled some content from my original Revue newsletter issues 7–9 (from four months ago).

Enjoy! Feedback welcome…

top phive of the week

Do you want a job in the future? Is my theory crazy?

LinkedIn version of this post with 314,000 views and over 200 comments.

I believe that the future of work is — no jobs. The idea of an ‘employment contract’ will fade away as we realise that the whole way we understand employment is paternalistic, hierarchical, and unequal. A ‘job’ isn’t a contract between equals — it’s ‘tied service and patronage’, where ‘human resources’ exist to protect the …

Will you come to a conference that doesn’t have all the answers?

Will you come to a conference that doesn’t have all the answers? Requisite Agility Unleashed is next week. And while the internationally-renowned speakers and panellists have done deep, committed work to develop their approaches, theories, methods, and practices, we are coming together because it is the questions which are more important. We aren’t asking ‘since …

50% discount on the basic ticket with code RANU50

How to hack
Every Monday and Wednesday I do a LinkedIn post that I put some special effort into. I’ve been doing this religiously for some time and (including a few ‘normal’ posts that got a bit of traction, I’ve now done 176 such posts. The last few have had really good ‘viewing figures’: 34,875 Will you come…

What is work? What’s your definition? — the once-chosen

It’s a deeply cybernetic concept — and it’s incredibly useful to realise this.

Work is: >> ‘effort, to a purpose, using judgement and discretion, within boundaries, over time’. << (This is based on two definitions by Elliott Jaques, given with citations below).…

Exiting from stress — the once-chosen

It’s often *after* the stress that the problems kick in.

How do we exit from stress gracefully? If you’ve ever been to a busy restaurant at 11pm on a Saturday and marvelled at the fluid teamwork…

public | service | transformation

People at the Heart of Care: adult social care reform white paper

How do we develop relational services?

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.

You can’t fit a star shaped tool into a tick-box shaped hole

The critical role of procurement in public value outcomes —
The ‘opening remarks’ from Benjamin Taylor, PSTA Chief Executive, as Chair and session notes from the second day of the Public Sector Show 2021. Comments are personal only and may not reflect official policy of the PSTA.

Service fragmentation in social services — how can ecosystem orchestrators and outcomes contracts help?

Public trust councils over the Government, poll reveals

Full article: Exploring the challenges of system leadership in the voluntary and community sector — Moss (2020) | Systems Community of Inquiry
Exploring the challenges of system leadership in the voluntary and community sector Stephen MossFull article: Exploring the challenges of system leadership in the voluntary and community sector Exploring the challenges of system leadership in the voluntary and community sector Stephen MossPages 125–137 | Received 23 Aug 2019, Accepted 03 Dec 2019, Published online: 23 Jan…

Applied systems thinking: unlocking theory, evidence and practice for health policy and systems research | Kwamie, Ha, Ghaffar (2021) | Systems Community of Inquiry
Applied systems thinking: unlocking theory, evidence and practice for health policy and systems research Aku Kwamie, Solip Ha, Abdul Ghaffar Health Policy and Planning, czab062, Published: 16 June 2021Applied systems thinking: unlocking theory, evidence and practice for health policy and systems research | Health Policy and Planning | Oxford Academic Applied systems thinking: unlocking…

Sarah Hurcombe — What can Australia learn from the public service revolution taking hold in Europe? — PSTA
Reflections on the Human Learning Systems movement and time as design leads for New South Wales Treasury’s commissioning approach

New Demos report: The Social State: From Transactional to Relational Public Services — PSTA

Sponsored by Capita

organisational development and transformation

What would you say if I told you customer intimacy was dangerous? | Government Transformation
If you want to really satisfy your customers, read on.

Is your team or organisation a ‘robust system’? — the once-chosen
Is your team or organisation a ‘robust system’? Do you have the right balance of dynamics to engage with the world with love and power, to be fully yourselves and fully the whole? A robust system is able to meet something new, different, surprising, odd — something ‘a bit off’ — and study, welcome, value and utilise it. The alternative,…

76: Comparative Analysis of Organizations — Charles Perrow — (1967) Talking About Organizations Podcast | Systems Community of
76: Comparative Analysis of Organizations — Charles Perrow76: Comparative Analysis of Organizations — Charles Perrow — Talking About Organizations Podcast Talking About Organizations is a very nice podcast where a mixed, international group of organisation scholars discuss classic works. This is a classic and a half — and mindboggling that Perrow died only in 2019…

Riding the Waves of Change: Developing Managerial Competencies for a Turbulent World — Gareth Morgan (1988) | Systems Community of Inquiry

In developing managerial competencies it s not enough to “look in the rear view mirror”, project past trends, and just do what’s worked in the past. It’s crucial…

systems | complexity | cybernetics

Thirteen dilemmas and paradoxes in complexity | Marco Valente on
Thirteen dilemmas and paradoxes in complexity Published on December 3, 2021 (3) Thirteen dilemmas and paradoxes in complexity | LinkedIn Thirteen dilemmas and paradoxes in complexity Published on December 3, 2021 Status is onlineMarco ValenteConsultant at Cultivating Leadership27 articles Following As readings and reflections on complexity and its applications grew over the years, increasingly my head […]

A schema for better understanding systems leadership and systems change | Systems Community of
I’m pleased to say that I have a piece on ‘six ways to see systems leadership’ in Gabriele Bammer’s excellent Integration and Implementation Insights blog today: That piece sets out an attempt to provide a light classification for the very wide and undefined phrase ‘systems leadership’. In this companion piece, I want to give…

Some things I’ve learned about change (1) — Escaping the invisible asylum — Alex Fox
Some things I’ve learned about change (1) Some things I’ve learned about change (1) — Escaping the invisible asylum

Frame Control — Aella, LessWrong
Frame Control by Aella 27th Nov 2021 Frame Control — LessWrong Frame Control by Aella27th Nov 2021 Social & Cultural DynamicsSocial RealityFramesWorld ModelingPersonal Blog Crossposted from my blog When I mention my dad’s abuse, I mention salient things — physical pain, insults, and controlling behavior. These are “clearly bad” — if I tell you that he often told […]

A Frame for Deframing in Strategic Analysis | Dunbar et al (1996) | Systems Community of Inquiry
A Frame for Deframing in Strategic Analysis R. Dunbar, R. Garud, S. Raghuram Published 1996 Computer Science Journal of Management Inquiry Deframing processes are needed to deal with pervasive change. We describe what is meant by a frame and how strategy analysts develop and rely on frames to help their understanding. We also discuss the…

Software-as-a-Knot. the complexity that prevents change | by Ian Bailey |
Why do established organisations find it hard to change ? Why do so many digital transformations programmes fail ? The consultants have an answer for this — it’s the culture. But it really isn’t, and…

The Human
What does this remind you of? (It’s not kinky or weird — I promise) I love these images from wikihow for it- brilliant and hilarious This is a neat little exercise to get people thinking — in pre- or hopefully post-pandemic times… All you need to do is to get people into groups of at least six to eight (more…


and slime molds

John Von Neuman: Complexity — From Representation to Performativity | Dr. Rinaldi’s Horror Cabinet (2015) | Systems Community of Inquiry John Von Neuman: Complexity — From Representation to Performativity

Entropy | Earth’s Complexity Is Non-Computable: The Limits of Scaling Laws, Nonlinearity and Chaos | Roubin (2021) | Systems Community of Inquiry

Share by Michael Garfield in the Complexity Explorer group on Facebook — a recommended join:

Abstract: Current physics commonly qualifies the Earth system…

Soft Systems Methodology: Puzzles and Organisations — Neil Richardson | Systems Community of Inquiry

A lovely accessible introduction

The Case of the Distinguished Observer: | Systems Community of Inquiry

Harish Jose:

In today’s post, I am looking at observation. This will be a general overview and I will follow up with more posts in the future. I am inspired by the ideas of George Spencer-Brown (GSB), Niklas Luhman, Dirk Baecker and Heinz von Foerster. In Cybernetics, observation does not mean just to utilize your eyes and look at something. It has a deeper “sensemaking” type meaning. Observation in Cybernetics does not follow the rigid subject-object relationship. Toth Benedek explains this:

W. Ross Ashby — The Origin of Adaptation (1941) — the W. Ross Ashby Digital Archive | Systems Community of Inquiry
January 2021: The previously unpublished 196 page booklet “The Origin of Adaptation”, written in 1941, is available as a PDF. Image of the note of triumph! pdf (hand written)

Absorptive capacity — Wikipedia | Systems Community of Inquiry
Absorptive capacity Absorptive capacity — Wikipedia Absorptive capacity In business administration, absorptive capacity has been defined as “a firm’s ability to recognize the value of new information, assimilate it, and apply it to commercial ends”. It is studied on individual, group, firm, and national levels. Antecedents are prior-based knowledge (knowledge stocks and knowledge flows) and communication. Studies involve…

From Mechanistic to Systemic Thinking — Russell Ackoff
Russell Ackoff FROM MECHANISTIC TO SYSTEMIC THINKING November 1993 Presented at the Systems Thinking in Action conference, Ackoff states that humanity is in the early stage of a transition from the Machine Age to the Systems Age. The Machine Age was characterized by belief in complete understandability of the universe, analysis as a method of […]

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.

ethics in public service

blanket bans on PSC contractors exposes UK to risks — Freelance
In a national crisis, freelance experts will be in high demand. But if blanket bans are placed on PSC contractors, the UK is at extreme risk.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: The danger of a single story | TED
Our lives, our cultures, are composed of many overlapping stories. Novelist Chimamanda Adichie tells the story of how she found her authentic cultural voice — and warns that if we hear only a single story about another person or country, we risk a critical misunderstanding.

IR35 reforms: Contractors report widespread blanket bans and project disruption in impacts
A poll of more than 3,000 contractors about how the roll-out of the IR35 reforms affected them brings to light widespread use of blanket bans.

The Wrong Conversation |
Stick Child has been getting increasingly irritated by the slack methods some adults use to present information about really important stuff, such as how long it takes for patients to be seen in Accident and Emergency (A&E) departments. Many a time recently he’s had to do a facepalm at the way hospitals and other institutions…

environmental and social justice

What might Coordinated System-Wide Climate Emergency Activity look like? | Systems Community of Inquiry Context As we know, the response to the climate change emergency is such a ferociously complicated system problem that no-one can solve it on their own; all must play a part. But the disparate nature of different organisations and the very many different things that need to happen can mean that we end up (potentially) pulling in different directions and confusing the general public who are less close to the whole thing. I wanted to paint a vision of what coordinated action could look like, to provoke discussion.

Boundary critique and its implications for conflict prevention | Midgley and Pinzon (2011) | Systems Community of Inquiry

This paper reviews developments in the theory of boundary critique, which has been used in a number of OR projects to support conflict resolution.…

Sustainably Run and proud, making a difference every day and @ServiceReform work with @SustainablyRun and @COTAP to offset our carbon through trees and communities projects.

We hope it helps.

Ecofeminism and Systems Thinking — 1st Edition — Anne Stephens (2015) | Systems Community of Inquiry

full book pdf

New Report: Bridging the fields of feminist and systems practice | Tatiana Fraser and Juniper Glass (2020) | Systems Community of Inquiry
New Report: Bridging the fields of feminist and systems practice 29 October 2020 We are happy to share a new report by PhiLab member Juniper Glass. She has co-authored a new piece based on 3 years of working with feminist organizations across Canada. New Report: Bridging the fields of feminist and systems practice | Philab…

The Systems Movement: Engaging Communities with Traditions and Diversity, Gary S. Metcalf (ST-ON 2021–01–11) — Coevolving Innovations | Systems Community of Inquiry

To appreciate how systemicists worldwide collaborate, Gary S. Metcalf joined Systems Thinking Ontario for a conversation. Gary served as president of the International Society for the Systems Sciences 2007–2008, and of the International Federation for Sysrtems Research 2010–2016. From 2003 to 2018, he was…

more brain food

What pattern are you stuck in? Are you happy with it? — the once-chosen
I learned from doing a podcast interview that: I have cultivated a massive tendency to ‘openness’ to information and perspectives — because I know I can get set in my ways (and now I’m set in my ways of being open)that I use a set of externalised commitment devices to keep myself consistent and persistent,…

Sikh reveres Muslim couple who defended his family during
Dr Tarunjit Singh Butalia during Pakistan visit.LAHORE: After 75 years, a Sikh, Dr Tarunjit Singh Butalia, is on a visit to Pakistan to visit the…

When “Worldview” Thinking Becomes a Crutch | John Ehrett (2021) | Systems Community of Inquiry
An evangelical Roman Catholic perspective on the idea of interconnecteedness of ideas, worldviews, (in)commensurability and development of interpretation over time.


In the late 1950s, as Soviet society began to shed the legacy of Stalinism, science and engineering became new…

Seed Stock — Frank Herbert | Seawrack’s Song
When the sun had a sunk almost to the edge of the purple ocean, hanging there like a giant orange ball- much larger than the sun of Mother Earth which he remembered with such nostalgia- Kroudar brought his fishermen back to the harbor. A short man, Kroudar gave the impression of heaviness to some, but…

Boundary Objects: A Field Guide — Sveta Stoytcheva | Systems Community of Inquiry
source:Part I: What is a Boundary Object?

Rihanna Is Named National Hero Of Barbados, Unveils Savage X Fenty Butt Crack
As of this morning, Barbados, Rihanna’s homeland, is no longer part of the British monarchy. The UK ruled over the nation of Barbados for 396 years, but last night, at a midnight ceremony in Bridgetown, Prince Charles officially handed over control of the country to Mia Mottley, the first Prime Minister of Barbados. As the planet’s newest world leader, one of Mottley’s first acts was to proclaim Rihanna a national hero of Barbados.

Kuleshov Effect: Everything You Need to Know — NFI

Hot Flashes and Killer Whales: The Evolutionary Advantage of Menopause — YES!
The patriarchy thinks menopause is a problem. A new book is making waves with the argument that “the change” has value for our species and the women who go through it.

The eccentric dog breeds that vanished — BBC
From a vegetarian dog to a walking piece of kitchen equipment, the world was once home to an abundance of strange hounds. Where have they gone — and could we bring them back?

The Astonishing Age of a Neanderthal Cave Construction Site — The
A rock structure, built deep underground, is one of the earliest hominin constructions ever found.


Original — Prancercise: A Fitness
Check out the Prancercise Website Here: http://www.prancercise.comThis video shows the 4 modes of Prancercise® .You can visit me at

Escape to Victory: The Ipswich footballers who made a cult classic — BBC
How did a group of Ipswich Town players end up starring in a film with Pele, Stallone and Caine?

Alan Watts — Being in the Way — Ep. 2 — Dropping Out From Karma — Be Here Now Network 2021 | Systems Community of Inquiry

We need a bit of Watts or Ram Dass here every now and again, I’m contractually obliged or you’ll…

The Loving
In a landmark new documentary produced for YouTube, Adam Curtis has not examined his career and laid bare his style in the light of some confused academic pa…

Bob Dylan — Complete Show, Providence, Rhode Island, 11/4/
This is a complete show (except for the removal of It’s Alright Ma, which was officially released) of the evening concert in Providence on 11/4/1975. Timesta…