Stocktake: Transduction – leading transformation – Issue #61

I’m definitely in a lull with writing posts. What would you do next, if you were me?

For the last two or three years, I’ve been very disciplined about writing one or two intentional LinkedIn posts every week (Monday and/or Wednesday), and then pulling them together with a bunch of the things I’ve shared on Twitter and the Systems Community of Inquiry over the weekend and sending that out as a newsletter. And (as well as Revue and other sites), everything is also located on my blog.

It is, frankly, an odd thing to do. To write not to a fixed audience but with the intention of being widely seen and shared and discussed – but to stick resolutely to obtuse topics of personal obsession – systems | complexity | cybernetics, (public) service transformation, consulting/change and ‘misc’ (deep history, human liberation, inspiring music, and generally the poetry and passion of insight) – well, that’s perverse.

I have certainly made a commitment to ‘stubbornness with regard to the once-chosen path’.

What it has done is to sharpen (I think) my writing and my thinking, and open up all kinds of engagement I wouldn’t otherwise have had.

I think I’ve avoided the hard sell, banging on tediously about hang-ups or frustrations – or being *too* political.

And while I’m very backed up with client work, running my business, other commitments, and I have an enormous trove of unreleased podcasts, a nearly finished book or two, some amazing collaboration offers – all suffering due to lack of time – mostly doing the posts gives me more energy and inspiration to get things done.

Partly I’ve just got lazy about identifying ideas that really tickle me to be prepared to write the posts. Partly I’ve shared a lot of core material already, and don’t want to just be recycling it. And partly life has got in the way.

So… something may need to come next. I might go quiet, I might change tack. Most likely I’ll pop up on Wednesday with a post on some workshop warm-up exercise with allusions to systems thinking 😀

So, in this edition – Australasian Change Days 2022 where I’m speaking THIS WEEK. And from #freethinkerscorner – where I’m also speaking THIS WEEK if we can get dates and times to align (it’s admirably last-minute :-))

One piece from the last week, a few links from my tweets and many more from

And a bunch of my ‘greatest hits’ LinkedIn posts.

So, in this edition – Australasian Change Days 2022 where I’m speaking THIS WEEK. And from #freethinkerscorner – where I’m also speaking THIS WEEK if we can get dates and times to align (it’s admirably last-minute :-))One piece from the last week, a few links from my tweets and many more from a bunch of my ‘greatest hits’ LinkedIn posts.
This week
What are the blogs or social media which you learned the most from, early on?A recent comment from Mike Parker had me thinking about #systemsthinking Twitter, in the early days — a great little community of folks sharing, learning, and debating together. Then there was Gene Bellinger’s original Systems Thinking group here on LinkedIn (which I merged my group into) — which still continues in new form at, and is slightly being … Continue reading What are the blogs or social media which you learned the most from, early on? →
Australasian Change Days 2022 – Shifting Balance | 28 commentsWhat are the costs of separating ‘#changemanagement’ from delivery of #change?I’m looking forward to speaking at #ACDC22 – Australasian Change Days 2022… 28 comments on
Welcome to Australasian Change DaysAustralasian Change
#FreethinkersCorner Launch Conference 12-16 September 2022Uniting the World in Dialogue about Good
Core links
An invitation to the RedQuadrant tool shed – chosen pathAn invitation to the RedQuadrant tool shed 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 who wants to transform organisations and their results. The offer I’m offering small group…
Systems Community of Inquiry | An open discussion on systemsAn open discussion on
My blog – the chosen path‘Many are stubborn with regard to the once-chosen path, few with regard to the goal’
RedQuadrant | public service transformation | United KingdomRedQuadrant support public services to transform themselves. Strategic consultancy, change delivery, leadership and organisational development, and capability building. We believe in social and economic justice, cutting edge methods and interventions, and experienced, authentic delivery
The Public Service Transformation Academy – Public Sector Leadership ProgrammesBuilding capacity and capability for public service to transform
Quadrant ResourcingInterim resourcing, digital, agency, contractors, turnaround, strategy, consultants, local government, private equity, social work, central government, programme and project, change, lean, service design, business transformation, leadership development, organisational
Greatest hits, arguably
not the banana | 47 commentsCybernetics 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 … 47 comments on
adaptive public service, the adaptive council | 63 commentsWhat capability do #publicservices most need in 2022 and beyond? <<The degree of stress, pressure, and overwhelm seems to have been growing for the… 63 comments on
five worlds practices for system transformation | 25 commentsWhat does seeing the different worlds that make up an organisation show you?It can unlock #innovation, #creativity, and improve #customerrelations and… 25 comments on
#futureofwork – Benjamin Taylor, RedQuadrant | 44 commentsWhat do you want the #future of work to hold? How will it impact our #careers, #motivation, and #management thinking? How can we maximise #creativity and… 44 comments on
classification and its consequences | 62 commentsDo things fit into neat categories?Is a Jaffa Cake a biscuit or a cake? Is a flapjack? Is a tomato a fruit or a vegetable? Is a worker an employee, a… 62 comments on
8 things to think about systems | complexity | cybernetics | 62 commentsHave you ever been encouraged to ‘see the whole’, or ‘think holistically’?Have you read that it is critical for our #future that we ‘see the whole of… 62 comments on
five key questions and the learning ladder of purpose | 35 commentsTransformation is a load of old b*ll*cks, isn’t it?People often ask me this – or they might put it a bit more politely: ‘what does transformation really… 35 comments on
signals of demandHow does the signal of demand get through to your organisation?Are you actually able to hear where you can create value?I was once in a project to … 93 comments on
don’t give liars power | 72 commentsHave you ever been taken for a mug? Lied to, manipulated?We hired someone into an important #management position, with financial responsibilities.They… 72 comments on
RedQuadrant – discovery for complex services | 30 commentsWhat tools, approaches, perspectives do you reach for when you have to review an organisation, service, team, or department?Here’s my ‘go to’ list when… 30 comments on
down with jobs #futureofwork | 252 commentsDo you want a job in the future? Is my theory crazy?I believe that the future of work is – no jobs.The idea of an ‘employment contract’ will fade away… 252 comments on
‘Freedom day’ – 133 commentsSo, today in England is ‘freedom day’*We all want freedom – but what does it mean?
Honest Guv’nor – change management used for evilHave you ever seen #changemanagement used for evil? To give people a false sense of input into a foregone conclusion?My session at Australasian Change… 56 comments on
The worst projects I’ve ever been on have been doomed to succeed | 121 commentsThe worst projects I’ve ever been on have been doomed to succeedWe’ve all been there. The leaders and politicians/board have literally put their names… 121 comments on
Systems Convening💡 Do you enable learning across boundaries? 💡 Can you connect people across silos? 💡 Are you able to bring a broader view to local settings?   Have… 65 comments on
unreasonable demands and double binds at work | 78 commentsHow do you deal with unreasonable demands at #work? What if there’s no way out? I had a conversation with a client yesterday that I think will stick with… 78 comments on
blame and context | 56 commentsWhen have you seen someone change their position – and suddenly change their perspective?The arrogant superstar suddenly brought low? The ardent Trade… 56 comments on
Requisite Agility unleashed | 40 commentsDo you want to do the work of the future, or the past? Which work are you currently doing?The work of the future is·       to create value for people… 40 comments on
conscious organisation | 100 commentsWhat question would you like to have answered about ‘conscious organisation’?On 7-8 October I’m proud to be hosting an event that brings together 14 … 100 comments on
the pinball organisation – doing the wrong thing right | 43 commentsHave you ever been ‘referred’ or ‘signposted’? How did it feel?We worked with one council to analyse the whole of their customer contact.The council… 43 comments on
Overthrow Capitalisation (An ACRONYMS) | 51 commentsWhy I Am Against Capitalisation (Or, Actually, Capitals)Have you ever been in a #management meeting where everyone used the jargon, but nobody had a … 51 comments on
desire paths and responses to them | 59 commentsHere’s a puzzle for you, another ‘whodunnit’.In a district council we worked with, there was a new housing estate nicely situated near to the commuter… 59 comments on
Adaptive Leadership – technical and adaptive change | 11 commentsTechnical vs adaptive problemsI don’t quite know why this distinction is so valuable to people – but it is!The attached is from a recent session to… 11 comments on
Accelerating Enterprise Digital Transformation | 34 commentsWhat’s your most controversial view about #digitaltransformation?We should all just straight-up refuse to use the phrase “digital transformation” from… 34 comments on
The RedQuadrant tool shed | 47 commentsHave you ever seen #consultants deliver the right thing – in the wrong time and place? Go wrong because they were trying to impose their model, not adapt… 47 comments on
Taylor’s Law | 122 commentsWhat’s your favourite saying that you invented?* What Law would bear your name? Or what’s your favourite Law from someone else?Taylor’s Corollary to… 122 comments on
transaction costs do not predict systems costs | 49 commentsIf you wanted to predict how many customer contacts a council would have, and how much they cost, what factor do you think would best predict?Population… 49 comments on
mystery shopping and customer insight | 23 commentsHow 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 … 23 comments on
RedQuadrant – how to help your change succeed with VECIT | 57 commentsWouldn’t it be good if you could improve your chances of successful change? Is your pattern of change interventions on track for success – or failure? … 57 comments on
stress leaves its marks | 61 commentsIt’s often after the stress that the problems kick in. Are you ‘floundering’? How do we exit from stress gracefully?If you’ve ever been to a busy … 61 comments on
the learning ladder of purpose – RedQuadrant | 33 commentsWhere is your organisation on the learning ladder of purpose?How organisations relate to their contexts is critical. I’m talking customers, consumers… 33 comments on
Systems Community of Inquiry
Patterns — Gordon BranderThis is my bag of tricks — patterns, rules-of-thumb, tools, cheatsheets, gimmicks, leverage points, questions, risks, and unknowns. Patterns — Gordon Brander See also ‘library’ page at
Disciplinarity (Or, Musicology is Anything You Can Get Away With)Originally posted on Dial M for Musicology: I like musicologists. I like books and journals of musicology, musicology conferences and symposia, dinners with musicological colleagues near and far, musicological gossip and chit-chat. I like the concrete manifestations of musicology in the world. But I do not love that abstraction, “the discipline of musicology.” Like every…
Subscendence – Journal #85 October 2017 – e-flux – Timothy MortonSubscendence – Journal #85 October 2017 – e-flux Very good, this. h/t Michael Garfield SubscendenceTimothy MortonA record of a positive discharge of electricity, also known as a Lichtenberg figure, in the text Walter E. Woobury,‟Photographing Electrical Discharges” in Popular Science Monthly, Volume 49, (July 1896). Photo: Wikimedia CommonsIssue #85October 2017 Subscendence – Journal #85 October 2017 –
From first-order to second-order evaluation practice: time to shift the ground – EESFrom first-order to second-order evaluation practice: time to shift the groundby Sharon Scotcher | Aug 30, 2022 | Blog From first-order to second-order evaluation practice: time to shift the ground –
Emergent Engineering: Reframing the Grand Challenge for the 21st Century | Santa Fe InstituteEmergent Engineering: Reframing the Grand Challenge for the 21st Century Emergent Engineering: Reframing the Grand Challenge for the 21st Century | Santa Fe Institute EMERGENT ENGINEERING:REFRAMING THE GRAND CHALLENGEFOR THE 21ST CENTURYDavid C. Krakauer, SFISanta Fe Institute,
Centre for Systems Studies, University of Hull – 30th Anniversary Event, 21 September 2022, 1-4pm @UK time (online and in person)Centre for Systems Studies Anniversary Event Webinar                               The 30th Anniversary Celebration of the Centre for Systems Studies21 September 2022, 12.30-4pmDiscovery Room, Hull University Business SchoolOnline & In-PersonOn 21 September 2022, we are holding an event to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Centre for Systems Studies (CSS) here at the University of […]
A Systemic Perspective on National Preparedness | John Beckford |National Preparedness CommissionA Systemic Perspective on National Preparedness01 September 2022In this article John Beckford articulates a set of themes on applying systemic thinking to the notion of national preparedness. These themes will be explored in a set of subsequent papers commissio A Systemic Perspective on National Preparedness | National Preparedness
Sustainability from ecological anthropology: the second life of trees – Coevolving InnovationsSustainability from ecological anthropology: the second life of trees Sustainability from ecological anthropology: the second life of trees – Coevolving
Integrating a systems approach into Defra – GOV.UKIntegrating a systems approach into Defra Published 23 May 2022 Integrating a systems approach into Defra – GOV.UK Document references: Defra appoints six new Academic Fellows to lead Systems Research Programme (3 May 2019)
Failing Productively in Systems Change: Key Mindsets & Practices – CoCreative on NetworkWeaverFAILING PRODUCTIVELY IN SYSTEMS CHANGE: KEY MINDSETS & PRACTICESBy CoCreative  23 Aug 2022 Failing Productively in Systems Change: Key Mindsets & Practices –
Doughnut Economics: Seven Ways to Think Like a 21st-Century Economist by Kate Raworth – Brave New EuropeBook review by Branko Milanovic My first Summer book to read and review is Kate Raworth’s very successful “Doughnut economics: Seven ways to think like the 21st-century economist”. It is an ambitious book whose objective […]
Development and application of ‘systems thinking’ principles for quality improvement | BMJ Open QualityIntroduction ‘Systems thinking’ is often recommended in healthcare to support quality and safety activities but a shared understanding of this concept and purposeful guidance on its application are limited. Healthcare systems have been described as complex where human adaptation to localised circumstances is often necessary to achieve
Revealed: levelling up fund allocated south-east twice as much as north-east | Politics | The GuardianNew figures raise further questions about failure of government fund to reach the poorest areas of
Why do new cars look like this?? – Blackbird Spyplane“Wet Putty” whips are everywhere. What’s behind it? … a BBSP
Rough sleeping & the inverse reality of social media – Grace + TruthThe plight of another human being sleeping rough is one of the most visceral and obvious expressions of poverty and social exclusion. The instinctive empathy it provokes makes rough sleeping a potent subject on social media. For example, a few years ago a video went viral which showed how Amazon Prime could be used to…
FLASHBACK: Biden promised in 2020 he would ‘never’ use military as a ‘prop’ | Fox NewsPresident Biden promised in 2020 not to use the military as a “prop,” something he is accused of doing in Thursday’s speech outside Independence Hall in
Thomas Leroy 🍣🐈‍⬛ on Twitter: “Now, I can’t resist showing you the intro to the game with Johan Strauss’ famous music, The Blue Danube (Atari ST version) The idea was probably inspired by Stanley Kubrick’s film, 2001: A Space Odyssey! 💫 #Elite #DavidBraben #IanBell #Firebird #Retrogaming #AtariST #Chiptune” / Twitter“Now, I can’t resist showing you the intro to the game with Johan Strauss’ famous music, The Blue Danube (Atari ST version)The idea was probably inspired by Stanley Kubrick’s film, 2001: A Space Odyssey! 💫Elite #DavidBraben #IanBell #Firebird #Retrogaming #AtariST #Chiptune”

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