Open Meeting - Winter 2016/17

£10 - pay via eventbrite please
Event date: 
Monday, January 23, 2017
09:30 - 17:00 (09:30 is an introduction to the viable system model. Whole day starts at 10:00)
Open Meeting
BT Centre, 81 Newgate Street, London. EC1A 7AJ. BT Centre is directly across the road from St Paul's underground.
(All Welcome)
Event Details: 

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. Booking now available through Eventbrite:

Session: Ivan McTaggart - Limitations of Systems Approaches, Methods and Models in Addressing Challenges in Complex Environments

Issues such as the Anthropocene are testament to the complexity of the issues with which systems people (Thinkers, Practitioners, and Engineers) are having to address. The nature of the systems we need to create are more interdependent with complexity inherent and require transient and agile approaches. However, no matter the approach, method, methodology or model our interventions often fail to lead to the implementation of systems that resolve these complex problems, even if used appropriately. This does not mean these approaches are wrong or even flawed, simply that no single philosophy, applied in isolation, can address the variety of complexity.
Ivan Mactaggart is currently a Principal Systems Engineer at the Defence Science &Technology Laboratory (Dstl) where his primary role is providing technical leadership, assurance and consultancy across Land Platforms and associated programmes. Ivan’s current portfolio includes:
• Assured Autonomous Resupply
• Mounted Close Combat
• System Engineering Capability Development
• Enterprise Resilience

Ivan has published on the development of systems understanding, organisational resilience, Systems Engineering in Sport and Agile Systems Engineering. Ivan is a Chartered Engineer, an Associate Lecturer at the Open University and since November 2016, President of INCOSE UK.

Session: Stephen Brewis and Stephen Cassidy - Creating living strategies in a complex world: Implementing cybernetics to create the social capital needed for sustainable success.

In a fast-moving and complex world we need to make speedy decisions involving a large number of business perspectives. We need to co-ordinate a large number of activities to deliver on those decisions. We need all these elements to be bound by a common purpose, to ensure the buy-in of all those involved. Rather than, as in the past, sticking rigidly to “strategic” plans defined at the start of a programme, we need the plan to flex continuously in the light of evolving circumstances – under a more stable held purpose. This requires us to combine concepts of human and social capital with cybernetic principles to co-evolve the organisation.
We present work on a massive and complex change programme, where we have co-evolved the team and complex decision tools to create a smart and sustainable balance between costs, customer service, employee engagement, and corporate & social responsibility (CSR).

Stephen Brewis is a Chartered Engineer and a Chief Research Scientist in the ‘Future Organisation’ research practice where he is currently leading on the closure plans for BT’s TDM Network. He has authored many publications and reviewed several books within his field of Management Cybernetics. He is a Research Fellow at the Manchester Business School and a member of the Computer Science Industry Steering Board at Herriot Watt University, Scotland. Stephen is also a conference organiser and regularly gets asked to speak at conferences as well as giving many talks on his subject at top universities including the Judge Business School at Cambridge University and the Sloane Business School at MIT. He provides thought leadership on Management Problems supporting senior operations managers within BT. His current research interest is the organisational move from human capital to social equity using ideas from brain science and biological Stigmergy.

Stephen Cassidy MA MInstP CEng FIET, Chief Researcher, Systems Science, BT Group is leading a strategic research programme on how organisations will transform in the future, taking account the impacts of technology on industry structure and working practices. This combines computer-based modelling and decision support with the human aspects of culture and organisational structure to optimise key behaviours of the organisation as a whole. Having started his career in optical communications, he has published around 60 papers and 4 book chapters on optical technology and organisational modelling, and holds nearly 60 patents. He is an Advisory Board Member of the Cambridge University Arts and Humanities Doctoral Training Partnership.

Session: Niki Jobson - Ladder of Abstraction

This short presentation will give an overview of the Ladder of Abstraction, a simple but effective tool for helping practitioners and their customers identify the most appropriate level at which to tackle a stated problem and explore a broader range of potential solutions. A real example will be worked through to demonstrate its application.

Dr. Niki Jobson is a Principal systems consultant at the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory, a visiting Fellow at Cranfield University (Shrivenham) and a non-executive director of SCiO. She has worked in the Defence and Security environment for 20 years focusing on the design of holistic approaches and frameworks that enable problem owners to explore, define and structure their problem situation and establish options for addressing them. Her philosophy is that the breadth and complexity of the problems experienced demands the application of multiple-methods that span both “soft” and “hard” disciplines (systems thinking to systems engineering) and encourage an appropriate balance of divergent and convergent thinking.

Session: Patrick Hoverstadt and Lucy Loh - Patterns of Strategy

Patterns of Strategy has been described as: “the first major new approach to strategy in a long time.”* It is also the first systems approach developed specifically for understanding and formulating strategy.

This extended session will introduce the Patterns of Strategy approach, some of the systems theory behind it and then we’ll move into a practical workshop where the participants will use the approach working in groups on strategic issues of their choice.

The approach drew on several strands of systems and management science: VSM, Game/drama theory, Bateson, Boyd, but primarily Maturana’s structural coupling. Where conventional approaches to strategy focus on either the market or the organisation, Patterns of Strategy focuses on the relationship between an organisation and its environment and specifically on modelling the dynamics of the strategic fit between the two.

For practitioners, some key differences are the ease of modelling and the speed with which strategic situations can be explored, options developed assessed and chosen and the direct linkage to action planning and success criteria. Patterns of Strategy is equally effective in developing strategy for competitive or collaborative situations.

*Paul Barnett, CEO Strategic Management Bureau

Lucy Loh and Patrick Hoverstadt have over 50 years’ combined experience consulting with private and public sector clients internationally and in organizations of all sizes from small to global. Both have designed and delivered postgraduate courses at several European business schools.

They specialise in using systems thinking and management science approaches to tackle complex, intractable management issues where traditional approaches consistently fail. This includes the development of Patterns of Strategy to provide a fresh and systemic approach to this key organisational challenge.

Event Type (Tag): 
Pauline Roberts