Open Meeting - Autumn 2015

£10 - book and pay via eventbrite (see details)
Event date: 
Monday, October 19, 2015
9.30am - 5.30pm
Open Meeting
Alumni Committee Room, Manchester Business School West, Booth Street West, Manchester M15 6PB
(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.
There is a fee of £10 for all attendees for these meetings, and booking is required via eventbrite -
Session: Peter Miles - multi-criteria decision analysis and decision conferencing

Peter will give an introduction to Multi Criteria Decision Analysis (MCDA) and Decision Conferencing: what these techniques are used for; where they came from; and how they are used in combination to support collaborative decision-making. Case studies will be used to illustrate real-world applications, including options appraisal, strategic portfolio optimisation and systems engineering. Underlying core principles and methods such as scoring and weighting will be introduced and explained, with typical outcomes illustrated by visualisations. Finally there will be space for reflection on how MCDA fits within the broader domains of collaborative sense-making, complexity and systems thinking.

Peter is a consultant and facilitator at Catalyze, using software models to help groups with collective sense-making and participatory decision-making. He trained in electronics; worked as engineer, project manager and marketer; and managed a division of a global business. He is interested in complexity science, human behaviour, and tools to assist collaboration and collective action. Peter is a non-exec director of SCiO.

Session: Mike Haber - systems flashcards development

Mike has had a recent introduction to formal systems thinking, backed up by a history of being an systemic-ish internal change agent in educational IT organisations. Having recently completed a year of study with the Open University he's still aware of the journey that people starting learning about systems face, and hopes to use this understanding to help provide some signposts.

The systems cards have many purposes, from providing a quick reminder of key ideas before important meetings, helping learn the landscape of new areas of systems to being shared to help bring ideas to group discussions. The cards will be a free/Creative Commons resource, customisable for practitioners.
This will be an interactive session to discuss the potential uses, scope and content of a set of cards. Mike is SCiO's onlie director, and has been working on the cards with Dr Niki Jobson, a non-exec director of SCiO.
Session: Paul Hollingworth – The Enneagram of Enquiry

 Paul is an independent consultant in strategic organisational development. He is also author of a series of iBooks entitled Leadership for Transformation, and holds an MSc (distinction) in Systems, Learning and Leadership.

The interacting forces between the elements of Authentic Enquiry (AE) are not exposed for consideration by the usual linear 8 or 9 stage process.  Paul's experience is that enquiry is non-linear process, involving several loops and iterations before progressing. He proposes that the elements of AE should form a system from which emerges knowledge generation. 

Might the nine-fold enneagram device provide inspiration for a more dynamic enquiry methodology? 

The Armenian polymath George Gurdjieff introduced the enneagram to the Western world over 100 years ago. Since then, this evocative symbol has influenced the minds of many great thinkers including; Ouspensky, Bennett, Huxley, Priestley, Foster and Beer. It was Stafford Beer who personally introduced Paul to the Enneagram in 1994.

In this presentation, Paul will expose the structure of the enneagram and how the AE process may be deployed across what Beer called the ‘fascinating internal reverberations’ of this model to bring a systemic coherence to Authentic Enquiry.


Session: Elizabeth Donnelly - a case study in VSM as a system tool for managing change

Elizabeth Donnelly was first introduced to systems thinking in 2006 as part of her undergraduate degree with the Open University. Following successful study she was able to introduce elements of systems thinking to her work as the Head of Skills for the aerospace trade association, including an examination of personnel reduction at the Ministry of Defence. In 2013 Elizabeth began an MSc in Systems Thinking in Practice with the OU, which she is due to complete in 2016.

This presentation is based on a systemic inquiry into a declining charitable Society that she conducted as part of her first module: Thinking strategically: systems tools for managing change.

The Society was struggling with conflict at Trustee level despite the recent introduction of professional staff. Management of the Society was identified as a system of interest.

Interviews with four Society Members were conducted using Critical Systems Heuristics to determine boundary judgments and to uncover their visions of an ideal Society. A shared metaphor describing the Society as a bus was also used to further discuss the interviewees’ perspectives. A Viable System Model was then built from the ground up, revealing systemic problems and a critical need to improve governance to prevent failure.


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