From Maidstone to Vilnius: A practitioner’s journey into theory with the VSM

Michael Walker
24 April 2017

Mike is a currently a consultant supporting ‘transformational’ projects in UK local government.  His previous career has included roles in the Civil Service, Higher Education and a range of Local Authorities, including as Head of Performance & Risk at Swindon Council and Senior Business Change Manager at Trafford Council.  Mike has also followed the well-trodden path of the Open University STiP course, due to complete the MSc this April.

Mike will be speaking about various transformations in local government which he believed closely aligned with the VSM, and which formed the basis of his paper, ‘The Search for Viability: A practitioner’s view of how the Viable Systems Model is helping transform English local government (and how it has passed unrecognised)’, which Mike presented in August 2016 to a symposium in Vilnius, and which is due to be published in Systems Research and Behavioural Science.

As well as exploring these examples of transformation, and also why the model might still not be viewed positively in local government, Mike would like to consider with the group his personal journey from working in a Kent council to presenting at a conference in Lithuania, and how we might look again at the age-old tension between theory and practice.