Transduction — leading transformation — Issue #8

Benjamin P. Taylor
8 min readJul 31, 2021


I got my twitter feed working properly this month, so this roundup has even more too much than normal of all the good things I shared this week!

Connect to me in all the ways at

Top phive of the week

What is work? What’s your definition?

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 Jacques, given with citations below). This formal definition turns out to be deeply cybernetic, and very helpful…

‘Systems Convening’ book launch —
Join ‘Communities of Practice’ pioneers Etienne and Beverley Wenger-Trayner for the launch of their new book ‘Systems Convening — a crucial form of leadership for the 21st century’, which features the work of some people recommended by PSTA Chief Executive Benjamin Taylor, who has also been part of a small group supporting the development of […]

Register here … systems convening book
September 2, 2021 @ 2:00 p.m. BST

The Human

What does this exercise remind you of? (It’s not kinky or weird — I promise) 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 is ok) and have everyone hand grasp one other hand in …

What pattern are you stuck in? Are you happy with it?
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 … Continue reading What pattern are you stuck in? Are you happy with it? →

Why is Benjamin P Taylor known as @antlerboy? | Racket
Why is Benjamin P Taylor known as @antlerboy? by @antlerboy


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…

Sillitto, Dori et al — a series of papers on defining ‘system’

Over the past decades, the definition of system has eluded researchers and practitioners. We reviewed over 100 definitions of system to understand the variations and establish a framework for a […]

An Assessment of the Adequacy of Common Definitions of the Concept of System — Salado and Kulkarni (2021)

Creative Systemic Research, Susu Nousala + Jelena Sucic (ST-ON 2021–02–08) — Coevolving Innovations

The Creative Systemic Research Platform (CSRP) Institute, led by Susu Nousala and Jelena Sucic, is distinctive in approaching systemic design from a bottom-up, longitudinal perspective. The co-presidents were able to join us […]

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

Share by Michael Garfield in the Complexity Explorer group on Facebook — a recommended join: AbstractCurrent physics commonly qualifies the Earth system as […]

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

Software-as-a-Knot. the complexity that prevents change | by Ian Bailey | Jul, 2021 |
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…


Agenda now finalised for Government Outcomes Lab Social Outcomes Conference 2021

And nominations are now open for visiting fellows of practice 2022

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.

The critical role of procurement in public value

The ‘opening remarks’ from Benjamin Taylor, PSTA Chief Executive, as Chair and session notes from the second day of the Public Sector Show 2021.

Ethics in public service

RNLI sees 2,000% daily increase in donations after criticism of asylum rescues in Channel | The
Charity receives over £200,000 in a day amid surge in support

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…

Queen’s lawyers secured amendment to Scottish green energy law — BBC
The legislation was changed so the monarch’s private estates could not be subject to compulsory purchase orders.

Boris Johnson has reneged on his promise to ensure all girls get an education | The
While increasing spending by £12 million in the Global Partnership for Education, the prime minister has authorised a staggering cut of nearly £300 million to girls’ education this year

Was Dawn Butler right about Boris Johnson ‘lying’ to Parliament? — Full Fact


Mayor of London on Twitter: “Places I’m going to keep wearing my mask 👇🏾 Public transport Shops Queues Indoor crowded spaces Why? Because face masks work, and this pandemic isn’t over. Please do whatever you can to protect yourself, and those around you.”

Environmental and social justice

In which we can no longer afford to be efficient | by Catherine Howe | Jul, 2021 |
Rather than running around our organisation saying ‘we need resilience’ over and over I want to unpack what I mean. I’m doing it here as a way of working and thinking in public — it helps me to…

What might Coordinated System-Wide Climate Emergency Activity look like?
Originally posted on 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…

Dalian Atkinson: Living at speed on and off the pitch — BBC News
Fast cars and girls were of equal importance to football in the early career of Dalian Atkinson.

Research shows that those London boroughs that saw rioting in 2011 had double the number of stops and searches in the previous 30 months compared to those that didn’t.…

More brain food

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.


Vending machines should be the Shopify of physical retail (Interconnected)
Posted on Thursday 24 Jun 2021. 1,121 words, 5 links. By Matt Webb.

Can Welsh Handball Bounce Back From the Brink of Extinction? — Atlas
The ancient sport of Pêl-Law hangs on, barely, at the last court of its kind. A campaign to revive a related game may help bring it back.

Seed Stock — Frank Herbert | Seawrack’s
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…

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.

Starlink review: dreams, not reality — The
Starlink, SpaceX’s new satellite internet service, promises broadband speeds, even to homes in remote areas. It’s viewed as the antidote to America’s broadband problems. But the reality is it’s not a cure for anything yet.


Prancercise: A Fitness

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

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…