Open Meeting - Summer 2017

£20 - pay via eventbrite please
Event date: 
Monday, July 17, 2017
09:30 - 17:00 (09:30 is an introduction to the viable system model. Whole day starts at 10:00)
Open Meeting
London - BT Centre, 81 Newgate Street, London, EC1A 7AJ
(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 £20 for all attendees for these meetings. Places are limited so booking through Eventbrite is recommended to avoid disappointment.


Session: Russell Gundry - An Ecology of Health

We refer to 'healthcare' as a system, suggestive of structures and boundaries.  What can we take health to mean beyond healthcare?  Are our efforts to create 'person centred healthcare' simply a matter of re-drawing organisational charts with patients at the middle?  If we define patient as a person in the care of a health professional, are we increasing reliance on a system geared toward the treatment of illness?  If we assume free supply is met with unlimited demand, do we, intentionally or otherwise, create a system in that image?

Russell argues that our healthcare systems have, by large, failed to take account of the complexity of people, and that our limited approaches to managing complexity have the perverse effect of increasing demand on an ailing system.  He suggests that a radical reconceptualisation of health as an ecological system is necessary - to address the needs of people, rather than the needs of the system.

Session: Jan de Visch - A Map To Think “Systemically” About What Is Not Yet There

The fourth industrial revolution is powered by cognitive computing, which automates many aspects of the human intellect. Algorithms are increasingly capable of identifying connections, patterns and co-evolution in big data, enabling us to make sense from a systemic perspective. At the same time complexity is paralyzing innovation in ecosystems. It is more and more difficult to describe interconnections between parts of an eco-system and while individual behavior can be predicted it becomes difficult to predict aggregate behavior. This calls for fundamental new ways of dialog, thinking and modelling for a complex world.

Our natural emphasis in dialog is predominantly on content, on what is said, with scant attention paid to how it is said, and the movements-in-thought that have led to what is said. Even in thinking systemically we tend to focus on the information, categories and queries used to describe relationships. It is very rare to pay attention to the thought structure of what is said by a dialog partner or oneself. Speaking is not primarily a way of ‘describing’ but actually of ‘creating’ (constructing) reality. Recent cognitive adult developmental research provides us a map to assess how we construct our reality and to identify many different types of systemic thinking. The map helps us to understand how we co-construct a wide variety of systemic realities through dialog.

The focus of this introduction will be on how to discover the predominant structures in one’s own systemic thinking, and how to transcend the limitations of formal logical thinking in making sense of non-linearity, path dependence, feedback-loops, instability and many other characteristics of complex dynamic systems. Jan De Visch will highlight how the top structure of sustainable growth companies think differently, engage in different dialog and how they make sense about what is not yet there. He will close his introduction by highlighting the relevance of the ‘dialectical’ approach for policy design, making sense of the fourth industrial revolution, sustainable organizational growth and facilitating future leadership development.

Jan De Visch is managing director of Connect & Transform ( and Executive professor Human Capital Management at Flanders Business School (Catholic University of Leuven). He has more than 25 years of experience in business model shift facilitation, innovation in human capital processes, and supporting sustainable business development. He works on the alignment of accountability design, performance management, an talent development. His most recent publication is Leadership: Mind(s) Creating Value(s) (2014).

Session: Elizabeth McDonnell - Thinking Systemically - what is it and how might diagramming help?

In this session, I wish to explore 3 themes (1) the nature of 'thinking systemically' (2) the role of critical reflection in thinking systemically (3) the interplay between use of diagramming, critical reflection and thinking systemically.

The approach will be a mix of presentation and participant discussion. I will present some of my own thoughts on each theme, and at intervals ask participants to consider this input and discuss their views on the theme.

Session: Paul King - Making it Personal: Viable Systems, NLP & A Body-Mind of Knowledge

Gregory Bateson’s influence reaches deep into the fabric of NLP which can be defined in essence as ‘the study of the structure of subjective experience’. All its major techniques are based on cybernetic principles. We will explore some key systemic NLP concepts and what these might offer the conversation between the inner world of the individual and the larger systems that form its life conditions. We might also explore why Bateson developed a close friendship and appreciation for the work of my Tai Chi teacher!

Paul is an experienced coach and consultant, and co-founder of The Beyond Partnership. His work and that of Beyond  explores and brings together multiple descriptions addressing the issues arising within and between the inner and outer games of individuals, teams and organisations. This includes collaborating with Nora Bateson, the poet David Whyte, the neuro-biologist Andrew Curran and the disciplines of NLP, Spiral Dynamics, Somatics and Tai Chi plus working with horses – a web of repeating patterns, and metaphors. 

Event Type (Tag): 
Open Director\ Patrick Hoverstadt