Transduction — leading transformation — Issue #31

Benjamin P. Taylor
13 min readDec 31, 2021

Some of my highlights from the last week and a few bits from issue 14 back in September (a short one, as I was enjoying my first holiday in 18 months).

This is a bit lower-effort again, as I am now triple-jabbed (with the ‘powerful’ AZ and Pfizer combo) thanks once again to the generosity and organisational effectiveness of the Serbian government — and already feeling rough.

To end the year business-wise a tender loss by 1.39%, again with no pitch or interview. I honestly feel public sector procurement has got a lot more unpredictable recently! But I am broadly quite optimistic and excited by what 2020-two has to offer, I’m looking forward to taking RedQuadrant forward in exciting new ways, the Public Service Transformation Academy is going well, systems | complexity | cybernetics grows in prominence and some things in that space and in my ‘meta-consulting’ work are looking promising.

I hope you have a wonderful New Year and enjoy all the fruits of your labours in 2022…

Top phive of the week

How are you experiencing what your customers experience?

When leaders have no idea of the real-life experience of their service, finding out can be a hell of a shock. That’s how the Smarter Borough Hotline nearly got me fired. I called the ‘Smarter Borough hotline’, our high-profile, vote-winning new service, as a junior officer at the council, but part of the CustomerFirst Board, …

Self-love can make you

but without it, you’ll be both poisonous and venomous to the world. What generates really deep positive energy for you? What quote do you *actually* stand by as something you live by? I don’t do a lot of seasonal posts — nor a lot of happy-clappy self-help. But I do think the New Year is a good time …

Poor Service Isn’t Always An Accident. It’s Often By Design — Paul

Drawing on my frustrated documentation of my experience trying to speak to someone for advice about care for an elderly relative, Paul (one of the great writers on *true* customer experience) made some acute points…

In markets without much competition, organisations can deliver bad service not because of poor design and management, but simply because they can. Benjamin P. Taylor shared a great thread on Twitter this week outlining the experience of attempting to get some housing support for an elderly relative. I say ‘great thread’ when I really…

Is there a better way? — chosen
They say that amongst the people of the coast, to test if you were really a shaman, you were rowed out into the cold dark ocean, tied to a large rock, and thrown overboard. Those who could shape-shift into a fish, penguin, whale, or seal were the true shamans. We lost a lot of good…

vibecamp (✨,🏕️) (@tpotvibecamp) | Twitter
The latest Tweets from vibecamp (✨,🏕️) (@tpotvibecamp). The first ever vibecamp will be held on the weekend of March 4th, outside of Austin! Are you a rat? Are you not a post-rat? Are you ingroup? Come hang!. Austin

I am, apparently, an androgynous shading feminine

And it seems this is a thing, for one part of twitter. You live and learn.

I didn’t realise how misunderstood and controversial this discussion would be…
Today I want to invite you to meditate on two quotes: “It is a misuse of our power to take responsibility for problems that belong to someone else.” … 99 comments on LinkedIn

Systems: A User Perspective — Belinda Weir | Systems Community of Inquiry

Systems: A User Perspective

Originally posted on Systems Leadership, Lessons & Learning — Belinda Weir: A short reflection on the relevance of cancer to systems thinking Since I was diagnosed with cancer 9 weeks ago I’ve thought a lot about what my experience can teach me about complexity and systems. Not every day. Some days I’ve curled up into a small ball,…

public | service | transformation

Teacher Tom: This Really Hard, Messy, Emotional
Reflections on teaching and learning from preschoolers

The Plight of Cinderella Services | by Cate McLaurin | Dec, 2021 | Medium
For my masters in public administration I wrote an 11,000 thesis on digital transformation and how it should, but mostly doesn’t, focus on enabling services such as procurement, finance, HR. You can…

Efficiency — who’s judging? | NAO
The NAO blog shares our views about the issues and challenges facing government.

UBERIFICATION … NHS mental health therapists pressurised to exaggerate success rates, expert claims | The Independent | arthur~battram…
‘Actual human experience was secondary to creating data that would shore up the evidence base for the model to guarantee further investment,’ says one

Service fragmentation in social services — how can ecosystem orchestrators and outcomes contracts help?
Reflecting on a recent Engaging with Evidence webinar, GO Lab’s Tanyah Hameed examines some cases in which combining ecosystem orchestrators with an outcomes focus has proved effective.

Resurgence • Article — Humanising the ‘Machinery’ of
Charlie Jones and Martin Seager outline ways in which health-care staff can be more open to spontaneity and connection, and explain why it matters.

systems | complexity | cybernetics

What complexity science is, and why — Petter Holme
This is a post/essay about understanding complexity science, via some peculiarities of the field, as a meeting place for a special kind of scientist. It is the result of my nostalgia-driven hobby of reading popular-science complex systems books, and builds on notes that have been collecting dust for almost a decade. Definitions and disclaimers A…

The Liminal Web w/ Joe

A really nice presentation from Joe.

The Reality of Informationally Closed Entities: | Harish’s Notebook — My notes… Lean, Cybernetics, Quality & Data Science. | Systems Community of Inquiry

Harish’s Notebook — My notes… Lean, Cybernetics, Quality & Data Science. Menu SKIP TO CONTENT HOME ABOUT ME FEATURED: SHORT STORIES…

Abeba Birhane on Twitter: “Artificial Intelligence, A Guide for Thinking Humans — Melanie Mitchell | Systems Community of Inquiry
Abeba Birhane does good and relevant readalong tweet threads, like this one:

Free Energy Principle — Serious
Free Energy Principle Neuroscientist Karl Friston on the Markov blanket, Bayesian model evidence, and different global brain theories Free Energy Principle — Serious Science

Systems thinking and practice for action research | Ray Ison (2008)
Systems thinking and practice for action research Ray Ison 2008, The Sage Handbook of Action Research Participative … 107 Views 21 Pages 1 File ▾ Show less ▴ Publication Date: 2008 Publication Name: The Sage Handbook of Action Research Participative … (PDF) Systems thinking and practice for action research | Ray Ison —

{complex [systems} theory]
Originally posted on Petter Holme: (This is a light-hearted and ill-researched post. When the infinite amount of free time I ordered on Amazon finally arrives, I might dig into it deeply and be serious.) Everyone who tries to read widely about systemsy stuff will inevitably feel puzzled by the large-scale flow of ideas. In particular,…

ethics in public service

Oklahoma attempts to legislate against books and librarians
“Under Senate Bill 1142, if just one parent objects to a book it must be removed within 30 days. If it is not, the librarian must be fired and cannot work…

‘Don’t forget us’: Covid shielders speak out over lack of government support | Coronavirus | The Guardian
As Omicron spreads, many clinically extremely vulnerable people in England are being forced to isolate in fear of their lives

Freedom of Information; more revelations about ‘IR35’
Off-Payroll: The recent Lords debate — and the evidence HMRC relied upon Some of you may be new to my musings, so a little Xmas present for you, from … 38 comments on LinkedIn

The sad, tragic scandal that probably will not be investigated
Children with learning disabilities offered ‘do not resuscitate’ orders during Covid pandemic See (via Tom Alexander)

“Brexit”: ‘the biggest disaster any government has ever negotiated’ | Food & drink industry | The Guardian

Exclusive: British cheesemaker says “Brexit” and subsequent trade deals have cost his firm £270,000

A “big push” to lift people out of poverty | MIT News | Massachusetts Institute of Technology
One-time capital boosts can help the welfare of the very poor for a decade subsequently, according to new research co-authored by MIT economists Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo.

environmental and social justice

The Future of Transportation Is Not the Hyperloop or the Self-Driving Car. It’s the Bus, the Bike, and the
Getting people around in new, different ways relies mostly on technologies that we have had for a while.

That seductive power of feeling superior (when, actually, you aren’t)
And a cautionary note about Google

A “big push” to lift people out of poverty | MIT News | Massachusetts Institute of
One-time capital boosts can help the welfare of the very poor for a decade subsequently, according to new research co-authored by MIT economists Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo.

more brain food

99-Million-Year-Old Fossil Flower Found Encased in Burmese
A rare flower is finally getting its moment in the sun, almost 100 million years after it blossomed.

Improvisation Blog: Technology has no Curriculum (How to teach fish about water) | Systems Community of Inquiry

If there is a central tension in the wrestling match between technology/digitalization and Universities, it is that the curriculum is the central pillar of educational organisation, and the web organises itself quite differently.…

Ray Douglas on
If you’re still unsure what non-fungible tokens are, here’s South Park to explain…

The virtual, in-game library sneaks news past government censorship and features work from journalists who have been jailed, exiled, or even
Minecrafts’s Uncensored Library is exploiting a loophole in surveillance technology to sneak the news past government censorship.

WE ARE AS GODS | Brian Eno & Stewart Brand Discussion on Vimeo
Musician Brian Eno in discussion with Stewart Brand, the subject of a new documentary on Stewart called We Are As Gods. The film profiles Stewart Brand: legendary…

A Stewart Brand Playlist — by Steven Johnson
Here’s a curated list of what to read/watch/listen to from Stewart’s remarkable career so far.


Pharoah Sanders — Upper Egypt & Lower

Same year as ‘The Velvet Underground & Nico’

Rumer — Long Long

One of my favourite Paul Simon songs from one of my favourite albums and movies…

The Orange Funk

Possibly Tlahoun Gèssèssè (Amharic: ጥላሁን ገሠሠ) also Tilahun Gessesse (September 29, 1940 — April 19, 2009) was an Ethiopian singer regarded as one of the most popular of his country’s “Golden Age” in the 1960s.

Paul Simon — Late in the Evening (Official Audio)

“Late in the Evening” by Paul Simon and a playlist of the entire One Trick Pony album.

Ryuichi Sakamoto’s album Beauty is one of the most beautiful

Ryuichi Sakamoto — You Do Me — and full album

The album Beauty
Provided to YouTube by CDBabyDiabaram · Moncef Genoud feat. Youssou N’Dour, Grégoire Maret, Idris Muhammad, and James CammackMétissage℗ 2011 Rollin’ Dice Pro…

Every version of Diabaram is

Live à Gorée.

The song is strangely enhanced, for me, by the claim that nobody has ever managed to translate the lyrics.

Moncef Genoud — Diabaram (Live in Montreux, 2007)
Moncef Genoud, Youssou N’Dour, and the “Return to Gorée” All-Stars performing at the Montreux Jazz Festival.

Ryuichi Sakamoto ft. Youssou N’Dour — Diabaram (Reversed)

It even works backwards

thinking about Desmond Tutu

Tribute to Desmond
I’m truly grateful for this man’s life and energy. I never ‘met’ him but even then I had two great stories. On one of our many Anti-Apartheid Movement…

Tony Blair should face trial over Iraq war, says Desmond Tutu | Tony Blair | The Guardian

Anti-apartheid hero attacks former prime minister over ‘double standards on war crimes’

When Desmond Tutu stood up for the rights of Palestinians, he could not be ignored | Chris McGreal | The Guardian
After visits to Israel and Palestine, Tutu used his moral authority to speak out and, despite abuse, refused to back down, says Guardian journalist Chris McGreal

Thinking about Graceland

I have a specific memory of the Christmas after Graceland came out, decorating the tree and the living, me and my brother both in our pyjamas and highly flammable nylon dressing room, supervised by my mum. My dad comes back from town with a CD for our new CD player, wired to the big box speakers in the living room. It’s Graceland, and it feels like something out of this world, special, and connected to us. I guess thinking about Desmond Tutu also stirred this memory, but I often remember it at this time of year.

The history of Graceland is rich, complex, and fraught with allegations and politics.

The Kleptones — Hectic City Hectic City 15 — Paths To Graceland — The Kleptones — Hectic

Worth reading — the roots of Graceland.

And, especially, listening — you can here so many of the riffs here.

Traditional Mbaqanga Music by Ichwane
Mbaqanga is a style of South African music with rural Zulu roots that continues to influence musicians worldwide today. Mbaqanga is also known as Maskandi mu…

My Baby She’s
Provided to YouTube by The Orchard EnterprisesMy Baby She’s Gone · Rockin’ DopsieA Zydeco Dance Party℗ 1993 GNP Crescendo Record Co., Inc.Released on: 1997–1…

Paul Simon’s ‘Graceland’: 10 Things You Didn’t Know

Rolling Stone:

How singer-songwriter’s landmark LP set off an international firestorm


out of the barrel of a gun.”

[imaginary] Accordion Jive Hits Vol II — The Secret of Paul Simon’s Graceland?
an imaginary version of the real cassette tape that inspired Paul Simon’s controversial Graceland album. all audio except one track from the awesome Electri…

And Garfunkel, Part V — Homeward Bound —

An absurd amount more about Graceland

The Boyoyo Boys — Back in
The cover tune from the Boyoyo Boys out-of-print CD “Back in Town”. Copyright resides with the artists.

Malcolm Mclaren Presents Double

This is one of the better known tracks from Mr Malcolm Mclaren from his ground-breaking album Duck Rock.