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UCD-STAFFORDBEER  October 2008

UCD-STAFFORDBEER October 2008

Subject:

Re: Integration of the VSM with Oracle or SAP

From:

Angela Espinosa <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Forum dedicated to the work of Stafford Beer <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Mon, 6 Oct 2008 22:13:06 +0100

Content-Type:

multipart/mixed

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (338 lines) , text/plain (14 lines)

Roger (and all)
Regarding the -very useful- discussion about the diagram, I do agree that it'd be right and good to come up with something easier to intuition and still respecting the basic meanings. With another way of talking about it. We can be creative about it and find new ways of saying what he originally said without loosing its core meaning. I agree with Russell also that most people find it threatening and it creates distances between non experts and experts. 
My own experience learning and teaching the VSM has been a permanent challenge to try to express in as a simple and close to intuition way as I can the basic principles and distinctions it offers. In particular teaching business people is highly challenging for the reasons Russell well said. Any effort we can make to progress in this direction is worth and a priority for us in the Metaphorum.
I'm up for a further discussion on how we progress in this direction. 
Angela


-----Original Message-----
From: Forum dedicated to the work of Stafford Beer on behalf of Roger Harnden
Sent: Sun 10/5/2008 11:39
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: Integration of the VSM with Oracle or SAP
 
There are a variety of clear introductions to the model, and the Wiki

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Viable_System_Model

although presently quirky in its interpretation, has some really  
useful LINKS. From the WIKI's External Links, the two papers by Jon  
Walker and Patrick Hoverstadt are interesting and useful in quite  
different ways/styles.

Doesn't really address my more general rumination, though...

Roger
On 4 Oct 2008, at 18:24, Nick Green wrote:

> Sure, Roger but I do think the time is ripe for, well, something. A  
> letter from us all to Brown and World Bank telling them how to  
> regulate? We should know and some of us actually know the buzzwords  
> of derivative and secondary markets (not me!) . As a cybernetician I  
> do not really understand the relationship between velocity of money  
> and capital invested. In many ways it seems trivial- in others not  
> so. "How do we add value?" is probably the underlying question. How  
> does a gold statue of Kate Moss in the British Museum play out here?  
> Dissipating risk or delocalising it adds some value. We call it  
> "insurance"- a well spring of socialism or free markets, I suppose.  
> Meanwhile large enterprises of all kinds, including governments,  
> waste our money on a fantastic scale. Finding an optimal mix of  
> redundancy and reliability is possibly the key cybernetic question.
>
> Incidentally Taleb is on wiki at
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nicholas_Taleb
> His book is an odd collection of anecdote and trenchant criticism  
> with serious experience in derivatives trading. I don't see it as  
> implicitly evil- but fraudulent trading certainly is and no doubt  
> bad money drives out good, as Gresham had it.
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: Roger Harnden
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Sent: Saturday, October 04, 2008 5:17 PM
> Subject: Re: Integration of the VSM with Oracle or SAP
>
> Not angst, Nick. There is after all the really interesting challenge  
> as to why Staffords ideas have not reached a greater audience, since  
> most of us find the model powerful and insightful, as do most  
> clients. All I was trying to do is re-assess what a possible barrier  
> to take-up might be.
>
> I was not really, I suppose commenting on the thread  
> 'Integration.....'. Once more indicates possible shortcoming of this  
> sort of coms I suppose.....And my own clumsy interjection!!!
> On 4 Oct 2008, at 16:48, Nick Green wrote:
>
>> All this angst- to what effect?
>>
>> Let us remind ourselves that it is accountability we seek to  
>> increase our viability.  Of course governments and companies resist  
>> being accountable but even the Big Six auditing companies realise  
>> the game's up.
>> http://www.cybsoc.org/#realt
>> When governments have to lend banks money (because of widespread  
>> fraud?) capitalism has died. All we need are products that are fit  
>> for purpose. We don't get them. VSM, unlike any other methodology,  
>> shows us how to get them: real-time accountability and development.
>>
>> By the by re the unreliability of models etc Nicholas Taleb's  
>> "Fooled by Randomness", an extended essay on randomness in markets,  
>> is available at alt.binaries.mp3.audiobooks. It went up on Friday  
>> so it'll likely be there for 5 or 6 more days.
>>
>> It's worth saying that the performance of an optimally managed  
>> enterprise will look random and thus maximally packed with  
>> information. After a few years of analysing time series I was  
>> struck that deterministic periods occurred (when a forecast could  
>> be made) but most of the time- particularly after aggregation, the  
>> series were random. We were using Jones' Gamma Test which is a good  
>> tool for Cyber filtration and has neural net modelling built in.  
>> Stafford's tech stuff in a box and its free.
>> http://users.cs.cf.ac.uk/Antonia.J.Jones/GammaArchive/IndexPage.htm
>>
>> That methodology is about as good as it gets and was published in  
>> Proceedings of Royal Society 2002. I was able to introduce Jones to  
>> Stafford but I think it was his last time in Wales. But moving  
>> averages are enough to get things going...
>>
>> Best
>>
>> N.
>> ----- Original Message -----
>> From: Roger Harnden
>> To: [log in to unmask]
>> Sent: Saturday, October 04, 2008 3:37 PM
>> Subject: Re: Integration of the VSM with Oracle or SAP
>>
>> Yes, once more I agree...........This is bad!!!
>>
>> A flash of maybe really stupid insight....
>>
>>
>> I think we are much of the time bobbing about the waves of a choppy  
>> sea of Maturana's multiverse. The more I think about it - solely  
>> prompted by this tiny thread - it seems to me that it might well be  
>> the 'diagramatic' nature of the model that serves as both its  
>> wonderful seductive quality AND its weakness.
>>
>> I know it might sound heretical, but might it not be that the VSM  
>> (in the sense of Stafford's powerful insights) might be better  
>> conveyed WITHOUT the classical diagramatic tools????? Just a  
>> thought for us all???????????
>>
>>
>> We all endlessly return to the issue of the limited impact of what,  
>> especially practitioners, find a powerful toolset. And we never  
>> seem to come up with convincing answers. Any thoughts on whether  
>> the diagrams might be to blame???????
>>
>>
>>
>> Roger
>>
>>
>> On 4 Oct 2008, at 14:39, R Clemens wrote:
>>
>>> "What then was Cybersyn?" (John) - Yes, I was waiting for that one.
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>> Indeed what was Cybersyn? Some might suggest it was a failure of  
>>> historic magnitude?
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>> Could it be described, perhaps, as an intervention in the  
>>> governance of a country that precipitated subsequent fascist  
>>> reactions leaving a nation under the control of Pinochet's  
>>> military and subsequent Nobel peace prize winners and their  
>>> various supporting not-so-secret agencies for decades? I can see  
>>> SAP and Oracle bidding for that one! BTW, China might be a  
>>> potential new market - the government there is checking all  
>>> skype                calls as well internet traffic these days I  
>>> hear. Scientific management tools are just what they need! I'm  
>>> sure they are working on it right now. Let's hope it fails again.
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>> But my point was not to criticise those who worked at the time in  
>>> Chile towards good ends.  Rather it was to suggest that there is a  
>>> difference between human action undertaken in conformance with  
>>> theory (be it Plato's or the VSM in this case) and any form of  
>>> automated ICT system that purports to be the theory in action.  
>>> What are in place are systems to achieve specific work ends - e.g.  
>>> payroll. If a 'whole' governance system emerges in the minds of  
>>> the architects and designers then that is confirmation of  
>>> alignment with VSM theory.
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>> For example, if Cybersyn was a practical implementation of the VSM  
>>> then we need no more than a few fax machines and a Star Trek  
>>> control bridge to do it right here and now. But we have even more  
>>> these days: I'd assume that the industrial military complex's  
>>> implementation of the modern internet is at least half the  
>>> equation in place.  The key for Cybersyn was there were humans who  
>>> knew what was needed by way of information and knowledge  
>>> management. Their informed decisions were the results in terms of  
>>> human political actions - e.g. strike busting. The wisdom, in hind  
>>> sight, of what they did is another issue altogether.
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>> So, we now have a new world. Payroll systems, HR systems, finance  
>>> systems coming out our collective ears. And what do we see today  
>>> as we look out our windows? Homo Fabre at work to the degree that  
>>> we now apparently have planetary system problems of huge  
>>> unsustainability scales; financial systems meltdowns; credit  
>>> crunches chocking off consumption driven economic systems; experts  
>>> crying in the wilderness for years about the impending crises due  
>>> to a lack of systemic viability and underlying corruption; and to  
>>> top it all, a complete lack of credible leadership or responsible  
>>> restraint by the plutocrats 'in charge'.  (That about covers the  
>>> S1-to-S5 cluster I think).
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>> So, I just get a touch cynical when I see belief in machines  
>>> acting as an opiate for the masses. I get a touch more agitated  
>>> when I sense that the experts are falling for the same story. All  
>>> the data we need is there in truck loads. So, we have a VSM to  
>>> diagnose and audit this situation and reflect on it. Good. But we  
>>> do not have a "VSM system" to replace human cognition and ethics.  
>>> (Roger has since more succinctly put this difference in domain  
>>> issue).
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>> And while I'm at it (it being a good time Saturday night local  
>>> standard time) - I'd question the view that the VSM diagram etc is  
>>> an effective communications mechanism for real world practice. In  
>>> my experience it is not. Yes, it is accurate for use by informed  
>>> experts, however, most people I speak to about it see the VSM  
>>> schematic as an 'Egyptian Hieroglyph' - i.e. largely  
>>> undecipherable.  If cybernetics is about communications and  
>>> hierarchy in the real world today (circa. 2008) then Stafford 's  
>>> works may as well have been written in Sanskrit for today's  
>>> management class.
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>> That should get some teeth gnashing and foam at the corner of the  
>>> mouths of the dear learned believers!
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>> Cheers
>>>
>>> Russell .
>>>
>>> (Good night and good luck ... ;-)p
>>>
>>>
>>> p.s. re: Google groups ... I am not pushing the Google approach --  
>>> just noting the 'keeping of gates' ... yes, if it works then use  
>>> it.... ;-)
>>>
>>> --- On Sat, 4/10/08, John Waters <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>>> From: John Waters <[log in to unmask]>
>>> Subject: Re: Integration of the VSM with Oracle or SAP
>>> To: [log in to unmask]
>>> Received: Saturday, 4 October, 2008, 8:44 PM
>>>
>>> On Fri, 2008-10-03 at 18:55 -0700, R Clemens wrote:
>>>
>>> > 1. I thought the VSM was a model for thinking about the world -  
>>> not so
>>> > much acting within it.
>>>
>>> What then was Cybersyn?
>>>
>>> John :)
>>>
>>> ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
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>>
>> ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ For  
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>> ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
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Archive of CYBCOM eList available at - http://hermes.circ.gwu.edu/archives/cybcom.html
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