Transduction — leading transformation — Issue #9

Benjamin P. Taylor
5 min readAug 7, 2021

The big thing I shared this week was the new #systemscovening book from Bev and Etienne Wenger-Trayner. I’m proud to have been involved in a sort of sounding board for the development of the book.

Register for the launch webinar on 2 September:

Download the book and join the community:

It is fascinating that a real proportion of the responses to this launch have been on the cynical side (something I’m prone to myself!) — and, as I predicted, from all quadrants of the ‘thinking threats’ grid.

I look forward to further discussions on this…

(And for more on my thinking on systems change and systems leadership, see here)

Top phive of the week

Something new has been named:

Do you know systems conveners? Are you one?

The new book from Bev and Etienne Wenger-Trayner starts: “You may not have heard about them; what they do is rarely in their job description. You may not even be aware of what they do; they tend to act as enablers rather than taking credit or seeking …

And comments on how this will be received!

Exiting from

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 (with occasional flare-ups that are instantly resolved), the speed, the accuracy, the effectiveness of the very low-paid staff… then …

Illuminate Luminary Fund | Illuminate

Request for proposal: deadline 9/15

This is an invitation to join Illuminate at a pivotal stage and contribute to our shared learning and inquiries. We invite you to submit a proposal specifically in one of two areas:

  1. New Systems Change Learning Communities: Regional or thematic communities of practice in new geographic locations (outside of the UK, US and Canada)
  2. New Edgy Inquiries: Inquiries about the edges of the field of systems change practice

We invite proposals for $10,000 for each inquiry/learning community

Systems convening: leadership for the 21st century | Centre For Public Impact (CPI)

The @CPI_foundation has partnered w/ @LankellyChase @theRSAorg @WengerTrayner to develop a new book ‘Systems Convening: A crucial form of leadership for the […]

systems | complexity | cybernetics

The Case of the Distinguished Observer:

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…

Boundary critique and its implications for conflict prevention | Midgley and Pinzon (20110)

A really important and interesting article, I think — required reading for all facilitators!

Soft Systems Methodology: Puzzles and Organisations — Neil Richardson

A lovely accessible introduction

Power & Systems Change: A Conversation between Anna Birney & Adam Kahane | Forum for the

9 September 2021 Time: 16:00–17:00 BST | 17:00–18:00 CEST | 08:00 […]

Feedback / Stafford Beer —

public | service | transformation

Centre for Public Impact webinar, community of practice and knowledge base — Meaningful Measurement

Their overview: 17 August 2021 | 5pm — 6.15pm AEST (8am UK) JOIN OUR COMMUNITY OF PRACTICE Our current system of measurement in the public sector is not working. A focus on metrics designed for control can result in gaming, perverse incentives, and ultimately makes the job of public servants harder. For this reason, we need to […]

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

Sponsored by Capita

Organisational development / transformation

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, …

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

Full book pdf — and an excellent book

Ethics in public service

Cop26 president Alok Sharma flew to 30 countries in 7 months | Cop26: Glasgow climate change conference 2021 | The Guardian
Minister responsible for climate conference travelled mainly during winter and spring and did not isolate

Environmental and social justice

New Report: Bridging the fields of feminist and systems practice | Tatiana Fraser and Juniper Glass (2020)

Ecofeminism and Systems Thinking — 1st Edition — Anne Stephens (2015)

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

Nature Is Not a Machine — We Treat It So at Our Peril

From genetic engineering to geoengineering, we treat nature as though it’s a machine. This view of nature is deeply embedded in Western thought, but it’s a…

More brain food

Australian mathematician discovers applied geometry engraved on 3,700-year-old tablet | Archaeology | The Guardian
Old Babylonian tablet likely used for surveying uses Pythagorean triples at least 1,000 years before Pythagoras

Boundary Objects: A Field Guide — Sveta Stoytcheva
source: Part I: What is a Boundary Object?

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.

Nevermind the nectar: Hummingbird beaks evolving for fighting, rather than feeding | Science & Tech News | Sky News
Some male hummingbirds are developing weaponised bills, making them less efficient feeders but more ferocious fighters.

Alan Watts — Being in the Way — Ep. 2 — Dropping Out From Karma — Be Here Now Network 2021


Manhattan Project Voices
“Voices of the Manhattan Project” is a joint project by the Atomic Heritage Foundation and the Los Alamos Historical Society to create a public archive of our oral history collections of Manhattan Project veterans and their families.


The Loving Trap
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…