Transduction – leading transformation – Issue #78

Here’s the Transduction: Leading Transformation newsletter covering a fortnight, during which I’ve had Covid (not recommended) and slowly recovered. Still sleeping at about 5pm most days, and taking it very easy. 

Anyway, see below for my newsletter with selected links from the last two weeks, ably assembled by editorial assistant Amber Griffiths.

Link collection:

My weekly blog piece:

This outlines a new approach to management and human resources in response to 14 years of austerity. The approach includes new concepts such as Missions, Squads, Teams, Guilds, and Tours of Duty, and aims to create flexible job roles and resource-based working. The workforce strategy involves career-grade development and flexible working arrangements. Check the link to read in more detail.

A cybernetic concert review of Midnight Oil in Canberra: system failures, feedback mechanisms and the Indigenous Voice to Parliament – By Tom Chan(through cybernetic ‘Beer’ goggles) Feb 2023

The author acknowledges the Indigenous peoples of the Canberra and Melbourne regions and his own positionality as a Chinese Australian with limited experience in Indigenous affairs. He expresses concern about the quality of public discourse surrounding the recognition of an Indigenous Voice to Parliament in the Australian Constitution and offers a personal reflection on complex dynamic systems and feedback loops. Check the link to read in more detail.

Just another ‘religion’…or something much more? | Squire to the Giants

The author explores the confusion surrounding the use of the phrase ‘systems thinking’ and the difference between theory and method. They argue that ‘systems thinking’ refers to theory and outline fundamental principles. The author cites examples of various approaches and methods and highlights the importance of understanding the theory before choosing a method. Check the link to read in more detail.

Beyond COVID: Reframing the Global Problematique with STiP (Systems Thinking in Practice) – Ison (2023)

Humanity is facing various global challenges, including pandemics, economic disruption, and environmental changes. The current social and governance systems are outdated, and practitioners of knowledge and systems science should critically evaluate their ways of understanding and acting to promote human flourishing in co-evolution with the Anthropocene-Biosphere. Check the link to read in more detail.

John Flach: four approaches to parsing a cognitive system

There are four approaches to understanding the cognitive system: information processing, computational, ecological, and holistic. The more holistic approach, taken by early functional psychologists or pragmatists, views cognition as a self-organizing, adaptive system. Robotics has reinvigorated interest in this approach, emphasizing the need to integrate the four stages of cognition. Check the link to read in more detail.

Systems approaches in the margin, where they don’t belong. | by Philippe Vandenbroeck | The shiftN Papers | Feb, 2023 | Medium

The article discusses the growing demand for systemic approaches to address complex, fuzzy issues within organizations. However, the author notes that clients’ ability and willingness to engage in this type of work may be shrinking due to unrealistic expectations, conflicting demands on internal champions, and the limitations of remote collaboration. The tension between demand and resources poses an existential threat to the consulting profession, and the author seeks input on how to turn the tide. Check the link to read in more detail.

Using ChatGPT to build System Diagrams — Part I | by aruva – empowering ideas | Jan, 2023 | Medium

A software architect explores the use of OpenAI’s ChatGPT for wealth management by defining a use case, data model, and various diagrams. ChatGPT provides useful responses for entity-relationship, sequence, and state transition diagrams, improving its responses when prompted for specific formatting requirements. Check the link to read in more detail.

Whatever Next ? – Psybertron Asks

Complexity Explorer Lecture: David Krakauer • What is Complexity? – YouTube

Sensemaking and Theory-Building | Gary S. Metcalf | ST-ON 2023-02-13 – Coevolving Innovations

SysThink2023: SESC-IFSR Systems Thinking Symposium Systems Thinking in the Post Pandemic Era – Beijing and online, February 21-23, 2023

The 2023 SESC-IFSR Systems Thinking Symposium will explore the systemic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on various domains, such as crisis management, digital economy, education, and societal governance, among others. The symposium will be held through online-offline hybrid mode and will feature worldwide scholars giving keynotes on diverse system perspectives. Abstracts relevant to the symposium’s theme are welcome. Check the link to read in more detail.

EconPapers: The Nondesignability of Living Systems: A Lesson from the Failed Experiments in Socialist Countries – Hu (1991)

Toward a Critical Technical Practice: Lesson Learned in Trying to Reform AI – Agre (1997)

Computers are ubiquitous and have the potential to transform every other site of practice in their own image. The institutional relationships between the computer world and the rest of the world are complicated. The author provides a personal narrative of their intellectual passage from AI to social sciences, and the historical conditions of their path. Check the link to read in more detail.


Journal launched: Frontiers in Complex Systems

Frontiers in Complex Systems is an open-access journal that publishes quantitative research on complex systems, covering fundamental questions, theories, and cross-disciplinary methodologies. It welcomes submissions from various fields, including physics, mathematics, computer sciences, and social sciences. The journal aims to be the reference publication outlet for the complex systems community, providing a forum for cross-disciplinary communication and enhancing research visibility. Check the link to read in more detail.

Trond Hjorteland introductions to Socio-Technical Systems Theory

Coordinated management of meaning

Coordinated Management of Meaning (CMM) is a theory developed by W. Barnett Pearce and Vernon Cronen in 1980. It explains how communication creates meaning and manages social reality. CMM focuses on coherence, coordination, and mystery, and includes models such as the Daisy, Serpentine, and Luuutt models. Proper use of CMM can improve communication and interpersonal relationships. Check the link to read in more detail.

Fixing The Good Regulator Theorem – johnswentworth

The Good Regulator Theorem, which states that any optimal regulator must be isomorphic with the system being regulated, is misleading. A modification to the theorem shows that any optimal minimal regulator must actually construct a model of the controlled system internally. The key idea is that an information bottleneck can force the use of a model. Check the link to read in more detail.

Nature’s order | #11 – by Christian Lemp

Davide Nicolini on the Tavistock Institute and associated socio-technical systems tradition in Approaches to the Study of Work part 2- Classics AoM PDW LIVE – Talking About Organizations Podcast 93

The 2022 Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management in Seattle, Washington, featured a professional development workshop (PDW) on Organization and Management Theory, which aimed to explore and discuss different approaches to the study of work and related topics such as careers and technological change. The PDW showcased a commitment to re-visiting classic scholarship and promoting new and relevant theories on organizational dynamics. Check the link to read in more detail.

Complexity Explorables | The Prisoner’s Kaleidoscope

The explorable illustrates the Prisoner’s Dilemma game, a classic game theory scenario where players must choose to cooperate or defect for maximum payoffs. The game has implications for the Tragedy of the Commons, where defection can destroy cooperation in a community, but spatial models can generate non-trivial dynamics. Check the link to read in more detail.


RSD12 – Relating Systems and Design – will be October 9-20 at Georgetown University, USA

We have too many MPs and they represent us poorly:

‘Dunbar’s number’ deconstructed | Biology Letters:

Mapped out. The response to illustrating connections in the British media says much more than the original project:

Mobilising Assam’s ‘hargila army’: how 10,000 women saved India’s rarest stork:

Book Review: The Systems Work of Social Change | From Poverty to Power:

Moving beyond the adaptationist paradigm for human evolution, and why it matters:

CybSoc President’s Series 26: Patrick Hoverstadt and Chris Murray Tickets, Wed 8 Mar 2023 at 17:00 UK time – online (£20, members free):

6th Nordic STS Conference 2023 – TIK Centre for Technology, Innovation and Culture – disruption and repair in and beyond STS – June 7-9, 2023, University of Oslo:

The Complexity Paradox | Jennifer Garvey Berger: 

Regulating public and private interactions in public sector digitalisation through procurement — How to Crack a Nut:

All Change | Institute for Government:

New thing! Browse the BBC In Our Time archive by Dewey decimal code:

Day-by-day account of how Prince Charles’s aides fixed a CBE for Saudi billionaire:

Boston and the tragedy of Brexitland:

Alasdair MacIntyre – the Sources of Unpredictability in Human Affairs (1972) – YouTube:

Epistemological crises, dramatic narrative and the philosophy of science / Alasdair McIntyre. – The Monist, 1977:

The universe is greebling:

In world of infinite overlapping possibility and multiple, irreconcilable differences, what does #education mean?

Sensemaking and Theory-Building | Gary S. Metcalf | ST-ON 2023-02-13 – Coevolving Innovations:

Adventures in the crazy world of English planning:

Strikes: Who is taking industrial action in 2023 and when?

Restoration of the CSIRAC Pub Test-O-Meter:

Collusion with denial: Leadership development and its evaluation:

Dr. Jimmy Parker – We Have a Measurement Problem – Phronesis: Practical Wisdom for Leaders:

You Are Not Okay and Tomorrow Will Come:

Better without AI:

Waiting For A Tsunami Of Text – Spend Network:

How Nepal Regenerated Its Forests:

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