First edition – transduction: systems/complexity/cybernetics, public/service/transformation

Welcome to the inaugural edition of my newsletter.For some time I’ve been thinking about putting something together which brings together my interests and passions – and can reduce the frequency of my posting on social media.Revue looks like being a good solution for me as it’s easy to add links. Whether you will appreciate my weblogging of links around the field of systems, cybernetics, and complexity, transformation (especially of public services), insight p*rn, ancient history, mysticism, ethics in public life, education and more and more, remains to be seen. Feedback is welcome!All my contact details and social media links (@antlerboy on Linkedin and Twitter) are at www.bentaylor.comcheersBenjamin
What I stand for
An extra section to introduce myself
What’s your mission? How are you bringing it into the world?I have three passions: – transforming public services, rooted in citizen and community outcomes – the field of systems/cybernetics/complexity – understanding deep laws that structure our world, and the insights we can generate – transforming organisations, systems, places, through consultancy, facilitation,
Why do they say my country doesn’t exist?What did you once have, that can never come back? And what do you want to hold on to, now, as a result? What we build, as people, is so precious. I grew up in a town, in a country, that seemed grey, crushing, often violent, incredibly angry at difference, at uniqueness, at potential, crushing …
The universe is greebling – the once-chosen pathNew innovations add more and more layers of details. Those layers of details create new spaces, new possibilities, new ideas. It happens in ecologies, with evolution. In economies, with innovation. And in thoughtspace – every brilliant new meme, every time a critic gets *just* the right phrase to explain the dynamics of a new movie…
Top five of the week
Each week, I’ll choose a top five (or so) – with priority given to events and otherwise ‘timely’ things.
An invitation to the RedQuadrant tool shed – the once-chosen pathSign up now to a free show-and-tell session 23 June 7pm UK time.Over nearly twenty-four years of service transformation, 15 as a consultant, and twelve years of running RedQuadrant as a network consultancy, I have developed a rich multi-methodology approach which is highly applicable for anyone…
The days after: are we building back better? 23 June pmAre we building back better? Are we learning?What’s the biggest thing we need to learn for the future of public services in the days after?
Child exploitation is everyone’s business – contextual safeguarding can help.By Claire Bethel, RedQuadrant consultantChild sexual exploitation (CSE) had a high profile following the public outcry which ensued from the widespread abuse in places such as Rochdale, Rotherham and Oxford. This led to significant changes…Introducing contextual
If you’re in children’s services or early intervention, I’d like to introduce Richard Selwyn who recently led the children’s transformation in Birmingham. Richard and RedQuadrant have a long history of working together including through the Public Service Transformation Academy. Richard and I are available to support radical improvement work and we’d welcome a discussion if helpful.
The Public Service Transformation Academy on LinkedIn: Shift or skid? What are commissioners doing?Richard Field and Clive Miller of the PSTA set out their vision and the current watershed moment.Citizen and community assets offer potentially near-infinite resources, which were released at pace due to Covid 19. Progress that we thought might take…
The Local Government Chronicle – Benjamin Taylor: Tips on making place-based working workFrom ‘doing boring well’ to losing 30-60% of senior leaders, our experience from the Public Service Transformation Academy of what really makes a difference in place-based integrated whole systems
Centre for Public Impact Webinar 17 June 2021 – Human learning systemsA movement we have always supported: Human Learning Systems starts with the complex reality of the lives of people being supported. It enables workers to build relationships and learn together with those they support. Report launch for Human Learning Systems: Public Service for the Real World. A rich, interesting, expansive read produced largely as a labour of love –
The PSTA is excited to announce our collaboration with the Public Sector Show 29-30 June 2021In the absence of our State of Transformation conference due to COVID, we have been able to continue our work with the Public Sector Show and include a radical transformation theme through the heart of the two days of the show. I am hosting the show on 30
Systems / complexity / cybernetics
Illuminate — The Systems SanctuaryAlways worth keeping an eye on all the work and offers from the Systems Sanctuary – – along with the big developments in the ‘developing the field of systems change’
Panarchy and pace in the big back loop | Solving for Pattern | Systems Community of InquiryA great combination of some really deep, interesting, and relevant thinking (panarchy – Buzz Holling) and a consistently excellent writer – Howard Silverman. Worth a
Ecology and Society: From Complex Regions to Complex Worlds – Holling (2004) | Systems Community of InquiryA dive into that ‘big back loop’
But my problem is complex!. How much can you read about any current… | by Aidan Ward | Apr, 2021 | MediumAidan is a consistently challenging and interesting writer. Compare to my piece on ‘technical and adaptive challenges’
ASC2020 – How to Untangle Ourselves: Cybernetic Action for Social Change American Society for Cybernetics on YouTubeCombining cybernetics and social
Network Weaving from June Holley – selected readings (Medium) | Systems Community of InquiryJune Holley and her Network Weaving have always been around, and always respect, but I never took a deep enough dive until
Public / service / transformation
PSTA partner E3M launches procurement to partnership online toolkitOn Tuesday 11th May, we were delighted to launch our online resource, From Procurement to Partnership: a Practical Toolkit For Commissioners. Developed in association with E3M’s partners, Buzzacott, Stone King, The Change Coefficient and Zurich Municipal, together with colleagues from some of our member organisations, Catch22 and Kibble from the Social Enterprise Leaders Club, and Oldham and […]
‘Superpolicies’ and ‘policy-omnishambles’ – McCartney et al (2020) | Systems Community of InquiryA powerful way in to systems thinking in public policy‘Superpolicies’ and ‘policy-omnishambles’
The Radical Way: shifting the social paradigm – Hilary CottamWhat is the new relationship required between the state and our communities? So often the two seem locked in a zero-sum game, a competition, in which the fate and popularity of one rises as the other falls? But could we instead re-imagine the relationship between the local state and communities in ways […]
Why money spend on public health is a sound investment – Greg FellA very useful blog, and worth a
Love them or hate them, research offers financial case for big city bike lanesOne of the many topics I could get really passionate about (from aquired brain injury in prison to terrible survival rates from accidental burns to food insecurity for us all) – cycling is
Collaborative Approaches for Commissioning and Procurement of Social Care in Scotland – event by CCPSJune 23 by CCPSThe post Collaborative Approaches for Commissioning and Procurement of Social Care in Scotland – event by CCPS appeared first on
Conference agenda announced for Government Outcomes Lab Social Outcomes Conference 2021An annual conference that always has rich and worthwhile
Successful partnerships: science, art or alchemy? Paul Taylor, Tunbridge Wells Borough Council, for the Good Governance InstituteBy Paul Taylor – Director of Change & Communities, Tunbridge Wells Borough Council. A nice companion piece to my LGC piece!
Organisational development / transformation
Technical vs adaptive problemsA core distinction people find really valuable. From a recent session to introduce a group to Adaptive Leadership, working alongside a genuine expert. Participants’ challenge: what to do about home/hybrid working post-pandemic? Should people work from home?
Have you heard of the brown contract? 💩It’s a simple way to work on relationships, introduced to me by our then-company coach. And brown means what you might be thinking but can’t believe I actually mean. So, you sit down with your business partner, client, consultant, colleague, or whatever…
A grid for better customer / citizen led transformationThere is no transformation without insight. Helping actual customer or citizens achieve their purposes is the purpose of organisations. Yet organisations in public and private sector are often like the drunk under the streetlamp – looking where they can see, not where the keys are. It’s important to understand there are two different dimensions in…
Quality Improvement – considered dangerous? – the once-chosen pathVery popular in the NHS, and beyond. Very good, in context. Our clients are doing our systems-flavoured #LeadingTransformation programme, and asked me how it fits with #QI. This isn’t new, and I constantly say: ‘but *really good* QI people look outside the box at this stuff’. But QI should be considered dangerous…
Procurement AND commissioning
Help council commissioning to ‘build back better’ | INLOGOV BlogJason Lowther Local government is digging deep into its financial reserves and hiking council tax bills by double inflation, but still anticipates making further service cuts in 2021–22. The Public Accounts Committee report earlier this month shows how central government support hasn’t matched Covid-related budget reductions. Read more and contribute to a
It will take more than new rules to bring transparency to public procurement in post-Brexit BritainGO Lab Executive Director Nigel Ball reflects on recent events in the UK which have brought transparency in public procurement to the
More than 200 new procurement pipelines to be published by 2023Tussell analyse the impact of future procurement pipelines following the Cabinet Office May 2021
Environmental and social justice
Gosh, I didn’t expect this to be such a big section!
Half of deaths among people with learning disabilities in England in 2020 were ‘avoidable’ | openDemocracyFather tells of son being denied ventilator as report reveals many of those with learning disabilities who died of COVID did not receive good enough
Modesty shorts for 4 year old girls? – VictimFocus Blog‘And what happens when the modesty shorts solve absolutely nothing and the misogyny continues?’ Dr Jessica Taylor
Government acted unlawfully over firm’s £560,000 Covid contract – BBC NewsA judge criticises the awarding of work to a firm run by former colleagues of Michael Gove and Dominic
‘A poor man’s rainforest’: why we need to stop treating soil like dirt | Soil | The GuardianSoil is another cause worth dedicating yourself to.The mysterious world under our feet is under threat. Protecting it is as vital as tackling the climate crisis, scientists
Eat, roam, repeat: Can the bison’s big appetite stop Spain’s forest fires? | Environment | The GuardianConservationists hope the return of the near-extinct herbivore – ‘a living strimmer’ – will clear the undergrowth that fuels
Dear England by Gareth Southgate | The Players’ TribuneGareth Southgate on creating memories, England pride and what’s bigger than
We’re All Mad As Hell, Thanks to Late Capitalism | by Alex Yablon | GENHumanity is richer than it has ever been. We live longer than we ever have; people have access to an endless supply of culture, knowledge, and consumer goods, all from a small device in their pocket…
Daniel Morgan | UK news | The GuardianA summary of the case that makes me worry deeply about the extent of corruption in UK public life and public
Court orders Michael Gove’s office to hand over documents on secretive ‘blacklist’ unit – Mirror OnlineA tribunal judge said there had been a “profound lack of transparency about the operation” of the Cabinet Office’s “Clearing House” for information requests – which has been accused of ‘blacklisting’ journalists and
Grasping for facts while Google lies – Mark HurstGoogle’s latest behavior defies all ethical
Keep them caring – Escaping the invisible asylumIt’s Shared Lives week, so if you live in the UK, look out for your local Shared Lives organisation celebrating the achievements of local Shared Lives households and the lives that people are living as a result. Here is Paul and his household in North Wales talking about love, laughter and belonging: Meet Paul and…
mainly macro: Why neoliberalism’s evolution into a populist plutocracy was inevitableIf anyone gets these blogs via an email alert, unfortunately the platform I use is ending these in July. Sorry about this (outside my contro…
New research: One in six seats in the Commons effectively ‘unearned’ under warped voting system – Electoral Reform
More brain food
Teacher Tom: I Don’t Know What They Are Learning . . . And Neither Do YouA blogger I’m constitutionally unable to not share. So much wisdom from pre-school children, and treating them like
What idea changed the way you see the world? – the once-chosen pathThreshold concepts, or gateway ideas, are ideas that, once you get them, change your way of thinking permanently. There’s no going back. And you’re stuck with it. Realising that ‘you’re not the child your parent had in mind’ (as Peter Block says) is a big one. Deep systems insights like power+systems dynamics or the Viable…
This ingenious duvet cover trick will change your lifeInhabitat editor Yuka Yoneda shows you a cool trick that will make changing a duvet cover much easier. See the full story here:
Old European culture: Eating acornsWhere we came from, how we got here and how (as a consequence) we are so deeply related is an endlessly fascinating subject to
What wipes in Star Wars teach us about the brain and also interface design (Interconnected)Matt Webb is another consistently great
A “welcome to Perth” sign painted on a building rooftop is scaring passengers landing at Sydney airport – AIRLIVEA “welcome to Perth” sign painted on a building rooftop is scaring fliers descending to Sydney
Only a God Can Save Us – Heidegger’s Spiegel Interview (1966, published 1976) | Systems Community of InquiryI got to this from the wonderful Harish Jose thanks to this one reference to
How Maxwell’s Demon Continues to Startle Scientists | Quanta Magazine | Systems Community of InquiryThe thorny thought experiment has been turned into a real experiment — one that physicists use to probe the physics of
Happy 20th Birthday International Futures ForumFascinating reflections on 20 years of this
The Wetware Crisis: the Thermocline of Truth : Bruce F. WebsterA good metaphor for ‘different worlds’ in organisational and wider
Capitalising on incommensurability – Integration and Implementation Insights – Darryn Reid | Systems Community of InquiryThe Integration and Implementation Insights blog is another consistently excellent one – and I’m honoured to be featured there later this month. This is by Darryn Reid: How can we harness incommensurability as a pivotal enabler of cross-disciplinary collaboration? Effective cross-disciplinary research across multiple traditional disparate fields of study hinges on logical incommensurability…
Henry Blodget on Twitter: “Rent control in San Francisco backfired.”“It led to a 25% reduction in the number of rental apartments — and thereby contributed to skyrocketing “market” rents.“
Wise women: six ancient female philosophers you should know aboutWhen we think about ancient philosophers we tend to imagine old men as deep thinkers. Women too have helped shape modern
Musical interlude
David Gray – Birds Without WingsAn artist I really love, from his younger, angrier, more pretentious phase. Very relevant to the ‘why do they say my country doesn’t exist’
Brain ticklers continued
The Totality of Oneself; The Tonal and the Nagual – Toltec School“Don Juan and I met again the next day at the same park around noon. He was still wearing his brown suit. We sat on a bench; he took off his coat, folded it very carefully, but with an air of supreme casualness, and laid it on the…
Experience: I’ve had the same supper for 10 years | Life and style | The GuardianI have two pieces of fish, an onion, an egg, baked beans and biscuits. Being a farmer means every day is the
Bacteria ‘see’ like tiny eyeballs – BBC NewsBiologists discover how bacteria sense light and move towards it: the entire single-cell organism focuses light like a tiny
BANNIK – the Slavic Spirit (Slavic mythology)Godchecker guide to Bannik (also known as Bagiennik), the Spirit from Slavic mythology: the Bathroom
Stuart Kauffman | Full Lecture | KLI – YouTube | Systems Community of InquiryVery deeply connected to
You don’t have a male or female brain – the more brains scientists study, the weaker the evidence for sex differencesRather than distinctly male or female, the human brain is much more like the heart, kidneys and lungs – basically the same no matter the sex of the body it’s
‘Cultural rebirth’: Covid-hit Barrow’s bold vision for the future | Cumbria | The GuardianProject aims to make town often described as one of the unhappiest places in UK a top tourism
‘Punk rock’ hoops: Serbia aims for 3×3 basketball Olympic glory – France 24‘Punk rock’ hoops: Serbia aims for 3×3 basketball Olympic
The Unintended Consequences of Storying Ourselves | by Tom Asacker | MediumStories got us here, as a species, but will never get us there — to an exciting, loving and healthy
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