SCiO Open Meeting - Summer 2015 (London)
Monday, 15 June 2015 from 09:30 to 17:00 (BST)
San Francisco, California
London, United Kingdom
An open meeting where a series of presentations of general interest regarding systems practice will be given - this will include 'craft' and active sessions, as well as introductions to theory.
Session: Barry Oshry - What are human systems?
Consequences of system blindness and possibilities of system sight Barry has a unique understanding of human systems, based on four decades of work with the power lab and the organization workshop, experiential educational programs which have also served as his window into human systems. His presentation will focus on the costs of system blindness and the creative possibilities of system sight. He is the author of seeing systems,leading systems, and in the middle.
Session: Dr Niki Jobson - Survival of the fittest (how understanding complex systems can provided insights to a Defence scenario)
Niki Jobson is a Defence Analyst working for the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory, an agency of the Ministry of Defence. The presentation will cover a number of concepts from Complex Systems Science (so includes some general systems concepts!) and how they were used as tools for thinking in a complex and highly dynamic Defence problem and to challenge existing ways of thinking. A key area of discussion will be the role of adaptation in driving system behaviour.
Session: Siôn Cave - Quantifying strategy using system dynamics
System dynamics (SD) is an approach that enables the behaviour of complex systems to be better understood and simulated. SD has been extensively applied to studying and managing complex feedback systems, such as business and other social systems, over the last 50 years. SD models represent changes in system behaviour over time by using the analogy of flows accumulating and depleting over time in stocks. Often these flows and stocks will be highly interdependent and will be linked through feedback processes. Developing SD models enables the unintended consequences policy action to be revealed and explored. During the presentation, Siôn Cave will discuss the SD approach, the benefits of its application and how he has used it to quantify strategic decisions for public and private sector organisations. Siôn has been applying systems modelling and simulation techniques within the public and private sectors for the last 15 years. Siôn has worked across numerous organisations including the Home Office, Ministry of Justice, technology companies, financial institutions and pharmaceutical companies. Siôn is a fellow of the Operational Research society, and was awarded the Steer Davies Gleave award for system dynamics in 2013 for his work with the Centre for Workforce Intelligence modelling the supply and demand of doctors and dentists.
Session: Ed Straw - why organisation and systems theory and practice will solve the enduring problems of government, and politics and more democracy (by itself) will not
Ed Straw says: Having spent a working lifetime in and around government in various roles, I became more and more frustrated with its capacity - regardless of the party in power - to produce much beneficial change. I’ve watched able, well-meaning people themselves frustrated by Westminster and Whitehall. With a consultant’s eye it became evident that the problems lay with the system of government - problems common to most democratic countries. Analysing government as an organisation - albeit a very large one - produced the insights as to why it fails, and the basis for designing a new system. Melding constitutional and political theory with this, a ‘Treaty For Government’ should provide vastly better government than that on which many have turned their backs, taken to independence as the answer, protest voted, or become once again briefly hooked on politicians’ promises. The website is here: www.treatyforgovernment.com . I’d welcome all at the event prodding, poking and testing the Treaty.
When & Where
SCiO - systems and cybernetics in organisations
Pauline Roberts is the SCiO Open Day Director
SCiO is a group for systems practitioners and is based in the UK, but has members internationally.
Two of the features that distinguish SCiO from other systems groups are that it is focused primarily on systems practice and practitioners rather than on pure theory and that it is focused on systems practice applied to issues of organisation.
It has three main objectives:
Developing practice in applying systems ideas to a range of organisational issues.
Disseminating the use of systems approaches in dealing with organisational issues.
Supporting practitioners in their professional practice.
SCiO is a social enterprise and a not for profit organisation which is owned by its members.
Provenance and Purpose.
Created initally by a network of practitioners in the North of England, SCiO acts as an extra channel for disseminating to others their experience of practical applications, education and research in complex problem solving. The name stands for 'Systems and Cybernetics in Organisation' but can also be thought of as short for the 'Science of Organisation'.
Over the last sixty years the new disciplines of ‘Systems Thinking’ and ‘Managerial Cybernetics’ have emerged. The new thinking started from the consideration of complex problems faced during the Second World War; then later in the 1970’s the same patterns of thinking emerged with the new awareness of the complexity of ecological problems. The ideas developed and spread into other areas of science and in particular into management. In the last thirty years new insights and understanding have developed in the way to approach apparently intractable problems in many areas.
At this time the terms ‘whole systems approach’ and ‘systems thinking’ seem to be appearing more frequently in published policy documents and guidance on best practice in the United Kingdom and elsewhere, such as in the UK National Health Service; in documents on public health, sustainable communities, in education, in considerations of the environment, and in corporate governance.
The members of SCiO believe that the use of systems thinking and managerial cybernetics can have major impacts on the well-being of our communities, and our business and social organisations.