Transduction — leading transformation — Issue #6

Benjamin P. Taylor
5 min readJul 23, 2021

Here’s this week’s collection of my articles, links, and other updates.

This newsletter is hand-compiled with links that Revue pulls from my tweets (though it doesn’t quite provide the full stream), my blogs —,,, and also content at — and anything I manually pull in. It seems to be a good system. I’d welcome feedback!

Top five of the week

Cybernetics is not the banana. Wat?

What are we offering the world? Imagine a chimp in a cage. In this cage is a banana on top of a large shelf, out of reach for the chimp. However, there is also a stick in the cage. Of course, the chimp will manage to get the banana using the stick. Von Foerster said ‘Cybernetics is not the banana’.

I’m speaking at Australasian Change Days — ‘Honest, Guvnor’ — how to use manipulation, compliance, and lies to drive change’

Part of the Change Days… family, I guess? with Change Days events happening ‘in’ Toronto and Berlin this year.

This week I spoke at #leanagileUK on ‘five core practices’ for effective

Thanks to Matt Turner — and Dinah Turner did this great piece of graphic facilitation. These are five *generous* practices — they work well for novices and sophisticates alike. They are intentionally *practices*, not claims to excellence, ‘values’, or ‘principles’: ways to work on honest, productive conversations which work towards shared meaning and make both …

Wouldn’t it be good if you could improve your chances of successful change? — the once-chosen
Is your pattern of change interventions on track for success — or failure? I really believe that more than 70% of change fails to achieve its goals. In fact, my former business partner ennis Vergne proved it in his research. He studied ten major change programmes for his MSc — in each, over 40 jobs…

Agenda now finalised for Government Outcomes Lab Social Outcomes Conference 2021 and nominations are now open for visiting fellows of practice 2022


sg on Twitter: “explain cybernetics to me in one tweet”

A lot of good, and a lot of very bad, explanations in this thread! Fascinating stuff. Also I like that her profile pic looks like she’s at a party, asked the question, and is regretting it.

‘Social’ Mitochondria, Whispering Between Cells, Influence
Originally posted on Complexity Digest: Mitochondria appear to communicate and cooperate with one another, both within and between cells. Biologists are only just beginning to understand how and why. Read the full article at:

Observing Systems | Heinz von Foerster (1984)

A classic. I got very into Heinz von Foerster videos when writing not the banana; he’s unusually passionate, very Germanic, and gave some interviews at a very advanced age (but still highly coherent), so the overall effect is very striking. Someone was very rude about him on Twitter this week, and I found myself very defensive! A lot of energy of fascination with the world.

The Cybernetics of Magic and the Magic of Cybernetics:

Another nice one from Harish Jose


what could the role of government and public services look like in the 21st Century and beyond?

Nour Sidawi asked this on Twitter and is building a list — here’s a compilation of my relevant links (in a compilation of links newsletter)

Systems Library — Ray Ison and Ed Straw: The Hidden Power of Systems Thinking (2020) and other books

A great set of reviews by Philippe Vandenbroeck | Ray and Ed’s book is a classic, and I think my mild claim to fame (I may be wrong — must check!) is that they first met when Ed was speaking at SCiO, at my invitation.


We Asked, You Answered: The Kids’ Books You Wish More People Remembered — Atlas

For me, it’s Scott O’Dell’s The Island of the Blue Dolphins — the first ‘proper book’ I ever read.

Chris Barber’s JB 1959 Climax Rag (live)

My dad was and is a huge Chris Barber fan. I was sad to learn Barber died in March this year. This is a classic — and check the date and location.

Tony Wilson > Q Magazine February 1992: Who The Hell Does Anthony H Wilson Think He Is?

An important character in the Manchester of my youth.

David S. Joachim on Twitter: “🚀 The successful bidder in a $28 million auction to go into space with Jeff Bezos has passed up the opportunity due to “scheduling conflicts”

As someone commented — that is a power move.