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Dear Steve and All,

The reason Burkinshaw and Mol give for including some management  
innovations and not others is that they should have been "widely  
used". Under this premise it is clear that the VSM has not been widely  
used. We could argue that the VSM has preceded and perhaps provided a  
base for management ideas that became fads later. This is what I meant  
when Gary Hamel says that the US Constitution is a model for  
resiliency. What is the US Constitution but description of a viable  
system, starting with "We the people SYSTEM 5 ? The name is not there  
explicitly but that is what it is.

My best,

Javier Livas

On Dec 3, 2008, at 4:20 AM, Steve Morlidge wrote:

> Dear All,
>
> A propos Javier's comments about Management Innovations - I know  
> Julian
> Burkinshaw and he is aware of Stafford's work (as do the people that  
> he
> works with at London Business School) because I had lunch with him a  
> couple
> of years ago and he scribbled it all down as we ate!
>
> If you were cynically minded you would say that he wouldn't mention SB
> because he represents competition - Julian and Gary Hamel have set up
> something called the Management Innovation Laboratory attached to  
> LBS. Their
> pitch is that the only meaningful innovation in business today is  
> that of
> management models and they have attracted a lot of funding to their  
> venture
> from businesses who think that this is what they will learn about  
> from them.
> I think JB/GH etc realise that the answer lies in biological rather  
> than
> mechanistic models of organisation but I don't think they have the
> intellectual depth (or will) to take this to the next step.
>
> Howvever, I don't think it is right to be quite as cynical as this.  
> I was
> struck by a statement Benoit Mandelbrot made in his video lecture  
> posted on
> the MIT website (thanks for pointing me at them Nick). He said he  
> had been
> studying how new ideas get adopted in science (I am sure he will be  
> familiar
> with Kuhn's stuff on this even though he didn't refer to him.). He  
> claimed
> that the ideas that were adopted quickly were those that were not  
> fully
> formed when they were first launched, since this gives academics the
> opportunity to help create and shape the concepts.  As we know you are
> committed to what you help create, but also this means that the  
> adoption of
> the ideas are consistent with an academics need to build his/her  
> career. On
> the other hand, a fully formed set of ideas gives the intellectual  
> community
> two choices. Either agree (and forsake all but me - including  
> everything
> upon which you have build your career and intellectual identity) or
> disagree. A consequence of agreeing is that you come to identify (or  
> be
> identified) strongly with the creator of the new paradigm, which of  
> course
> gives the nay sayers ammunition (it is a cult etc etc).
>
> It seems to me that this is the position that we are in with  
> Stafford's
> stuff.
>
> What to do about it? Ah...well that is a bit more difficult!
>
>
> Steve
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Forum dedicated to the work of Stafford Beer
> [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Javier Livas
> Sent: 02 December 2008 19:59
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: Re: VSM scope of application (was:RE: is there anyone out
> there????)
>
> Dear friends, Barry,
>
> I make the same question to Roger, what does RC mean?
>
> And I think Javier means me, Javier Livas, mentioned by Stefan W.
>
> Allow me to observe:
>
> There are clearly two paths we (at Metaphorum) have been following
> both belonging to the VSM structure. One is to continue building the
> theory that Stafford and others, as Roger for instance, have been
> doing. This is great. (SYSTEM 4) Learning to do new things.
>
> The other path is to try to make Stafford ideas work for the public in
> general. Applications is what we need. (SYSTEM 3)
>
> The problem is this:
>
> On my way back from Spain last Friday, I bought the book "Giant Steps
> in Management. Creating Innovations That Change the Way We Work." It
> was written by M. Mol and Julian BirKinshaw, from the London Business
> School and associated in some way to Gary Hamel, the management guru
> of Harvard Business Review fame. (I can only smile when I find that
> Hamel recommend organizing large businesses with the resiliency of THE
> US CONSTITUTION!!!)
>
> The point about mentioning this book is that neither STAFFORD or the
> VSM appear as part of this 150 year history of "management solutions".
> This is not to say that we are wasting our time, but only to emphazise
> that Stafford's ideas have a way to go before they will be applied by
> the masses, as was his intention in the Chilean effort, as you all
> know. If we keep building without connecting to the rest of the world
> it won't be long before we disappear completely from sight.
>
> I have been listening into the conversations only to realize that some
> of the exchanges become difficult to follow and understand. At times
> the language used becomes highly obscure. Obviously this is not your
> fault but mine. But then I would conclude that some of us must forget
> about theoritical considerations (SYSTEM 4) must work in the opposite
> direction (SYSTEM 3) which is the popularization of Stafford's ideas
> and of Cybernetics. Do something usefull with them that can be copied
> by others.
>
> In this respect, it is URGENT that we get some things clearified. For
> instance when we talk about Cybernetics and Society I do not see the
> connection to the VSM because societies are more of a complex adaptive
> system with many autonomous agents copying each other's solutions. VSM
> is the map of a STRUCTURE which to me is exactly the same as that of
> the STATE, which makes it official whether we like it or not. The
> problem of course is that beyond the first recursion level, the rest
> of the legal structure is highly reductionistic and a big failure.
>
> ¿What could we say right now about the world financial crisis
> expressed in the language of cybernetics or the VSM? Maybe we should
> try posting our conclusions for everybody to see.
>
> Finally: If the meaning of "RC" is in any way connected with the
> content of UNIVERSO KUBERNETES, let me say that I am not a religious
> man at all and therefore perhaps a mediocre christian. Is anyone is
> interested in discussing the contents of this DVD I be very glad to
> engage in that.
>
> Thank you all for continuing to exchange ideas. I am sure we all try
> to build with whatever resources we have available and within our
> limitations too.
>
> My best to all,
>
> Javier Livas
>
> On Dec 2, 2008, at 1:13 PM, BARRY A CLEMSON wrote:
>
>> What is RC? And who is Javier?
>>
>> Barry
>>
>> On Dec 2, 2008, at 1:41 PM, Roger Harnden wrote:
>>
>>> I am sure Javier would take many issues with me. Isn't he deeply
>>> RC?? I'm not saying that in criticism, but it does lead to a
>>> particular set of social/human fundaments, most of which I would
>>> disagree with,
>>>
>>> Roger
>>>
>>>
>>> On 2 Dec 2008, at 18:17, Stefan Wasilewski wrote:
>>>
>>>> Roger
>>>>
>>>> I think Javier may take issue with you on some elements here as
>>>> his thiird DVD will show.
>>>>
>>>> Stefan
>>>>
>>>> On 2 Dec 2008, at 18:11, Roger Harnden wrote:
>>>>
>>>>> Reading the other responses to you, Harold, I think I now
>>>>> understand your question.
>>>>>
>>>>> I have a somewhat different take on VSM, one that I discussed in
>>>>> some detail with Stafford.
>>>>>
>>>>> In brief - the VSM applies to what I call 'formal social
>>>>> structures'. It DOES NOT apply to something that I call 'human
>>>>> relations'. The formal social is constituted by categories,
>>>>> labels, roles etc. Humanity is constituted by the recurrent
>>>>> interactions of human beings with one another as they cross the
>>>>> barriers and identities of various social forms in their natural
>>>>> flow of living.
>>>>>
>>>>> These are two quite distinct domains of reality. They are
>>>>> complementary necessities for our lived experience. Human does
>>>>> not involve social ORGANISATION, even though our interactions
>>>>> enable the emergence of social infrastructure, and many of our
>>>>> character traits are drastically shaped (or damaged) by our
>>>>> social identities.
>>>>>
>>>>> Exercise: take the VSM at any social scale, and drop levels of
>>>>> recursion to the lowest 'atom' (lowest S1). You will NOT discover
>>>>> a human being. You will find  a constitutive role or a function
>>>>> for the given system-in-focus. You will NOT discover a
>>>>> constitutive element for humankind (ie a human being). And it is
>>>>> impossible to do the same exercise for system-in-focus
>>>>> 'humanity'. There are only just two mutually constitutive
>>>>> elements to this reality - the set of all human beings, and each
>>>>> and every one of the individuals. That is what humanity IS.
>>>>>
>>>>> When taken on board, the above is not a limitation of the VSM,
>>>>> but an enormous strength - which was what underlined my original
>>>>> query to you, Harold. A model such as the VSM (or anything`) HAS
>>>>> TO HAVE limitations, otherwise it is not a model, but an
>>>>> ideology. The VSM concerns SOCIAL forms - whether institutions or
>>>>> more informal organisations, such as clubs. But in any case, they
>>>>> are SOCIAL forms. People ignore this at their peril, and to the
>>>>> detriment of the model.
>>>>>
>>>>> Roger
>>>>>
>>>>> On 2 Dec 2008, at 17:48, Boris G Freesman, Q.C. wrote:
>>>>>
>>>>>> Arthur,
>>>>>>
>>>>>> I think you misunderstood what Barry said.
>>>>>>
>>>>>> Of course the VSM applies to corporations and all kinds of
>>>>>> organizations because it is a model for viability rather than
>>>>>> any specific form or type of organization. It is like one of
>>>>>> those coats that fits everyone in general and no one in
>>>>>> particular... and because it fits no one in particular, fits no
>>>>>> one. [<= feeble attempt at humour!]
>>>>>>
>>>>>> Boris
>>>>>>
>>>>>>
>>>>>>
>>>>>> ----- Original Message ----- From: "Arthur Dijkstra"
> <[log in to unmask]
>>>>>>>
>>>>>> To: <[log in to unmask]>
>>>>>> Sent: Tuesday, December 02, 2008 11:05 AM
>>>>>> Subject: VSM scope of application (was:RE: is there anyone out
>>>>>> there????)
>>>>>>
>>>>>>
>>>>>>> Barry,
>>>>>>> You wrote: IMHO, the VSM applies very well to governments and
>>>>>>> societies. The
>>>>>>> VSM is a framework for viability, not for corporations or any
>>>>>>> other
>>>>>>> particular form of entity.
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>> Why can't the VSM be applied to corporations ? What makes the
>>>>>>> model
>>>>>>> ineffective for a corporation ?
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>> How do others see this ?
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>> Thanks,
>>>>>>> ARthur
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>> -----Oorspronkelijk bericht-----
>>>>>>> Van: Forum dedicated to the work of Stafford Beer
>>>>>>> [mailto:[log in to unmask]] Namens BARRY A
>>>>>>> CLEMSON
>>>>>>> Verzonden: 02 December 2008 16:09
>>>>>>> Aan: [log in to unmask]
>>>>>>> Onderwerp: Re: is there anyone out there????
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>> Harold,
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>> I do not believe that Stafford failed in applying the VSM to
>>>>>>> society.
>>>>>>> In the case of Chile in particular the project only lasted 18
>>>>>>> months
>>>>>>> before the coup and had some notable successes in that short
>>>>>>> time. And
>>>>>>> the coup was instigated and funded by the CIA and was unrelated
>>>>>>> to the
>>>>>>> work Stafford did. Also, Stafford did some very interesting
>>>>>>> work with
>>>>>>> Canadian Indian tribes.
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>> IMHO, the VSM applies very well to governments and societies.
>>>>>>> The VSM
>>>>>>> is a framework for viability, not for corporations or any other
>>>>>>> particular form of entity.
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>> You do raise a good question tho, "Where doesn't Stafford's work
>>>>>>> apply?" The answer to this depends upon which aspects of the
>>>>>>> work: The
>>>>>>> VSM doesn't say much about the process of planning, but
>>>>>>> Syntegration
>>>>>>> does. Neither Syntegration nor the VSM say much about how one
>>>>>>> tries to
>>>>>>> understand the inner workings of some complex process, but
>>>>>>> Decision
>>>>>>> and Control does in the sections on modeling. Staffords work
>>>>>>> provides
>>>>>>> very powerful tools for an immense range of situations and
>>>>>>> purposes.
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>> Having said that, i also think that there are other critical
>>>>>>> tools/
>>>>>>> frameworks that need to be used. For instance, Ackoff's  
>>>>>>> idealized
>>>>>>> planning is a critically important methodology. And Ackoff's
>>>>>>> circular
>>>>>>> organization is a way to make large organizations both more
>>>>>>> effective
>>>>>>> and more democratic. Further, both idealized planning (as a VSM
>>>>>>> system
>>>>>>> 4 methodology) and the circular organization (as a way of
>>>>>>> organizing a
>>>>>>> corporation or government entity) are completely compatible
>>>>>>> with the
>>>>>>> VSM. I don't know of anyone ever trying this, but I have
>>>>>>> thought for
>>>>>>> years that the circular organization would be a management
>>>>>>> structure
>>>>>>> that would facilitate the use of the VSM.
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>> Barry
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>> On Dec 2, 2008, at 2:36 AM, Garderen, Harold van wrote:
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>> Like many others that responded thus far, I'm interested and
>>>>>>>> try to do
>>>>>>>> some collaborative work at time.
>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>> One thing worries me and that is the - at times - almost
>>>>>>>> fundamentalistic focus on Stafford. A few questions:
>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>> * Where doesn't Staffords work apply?
>>>>>>>> * What progress have other made in the meantime.
>>>>>>>> * What of that work can we integrate to make more VSM ideas
>>>>>>>> readable
>>>>>>>> in
>>>>>>>> todays terms.
>>>>>>>> * Isn't VSM used outside its validity boundaries when applied  
>>>>>>>> to
>>>>>>>> society
>>>>>>>> (Stafford failed there)
>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>> And the most vital one:
>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>> * How do we achieve 200,000+ page views a day on the wiki?
>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>> One suggestion: find better names (and use them) for S1-S5.
>>>>>>>> Nobody
>>>>>>>> will
>>>>>>>> understand that for a long, long time.
>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>> This work is in dear need of newbies. So go and wiki!
>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>> Harold
>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>> Now blogging at http://fragmentedliving.blogspot.com/
>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>> -----Original Message-----
>>>>>>>>> From: Forum dedicated to the work of Stafford Beer
>>>>>>>>> [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of
>>>>>>>>> Roger Harnden
>>>>>>>>> Sent: maandag 1 december 2008 23:21
>>>>>>>>> To: [log in to unmask]
>>>>>>>>> Subject: is there anyone out there????
>>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>> Is anyone interested in the wiki??? I know the few who are,
>>>>>>>>> but how about others?? Or is it just not of interest; is it a
>>>>>>>>> pile of shit; is it irrelevant to other people's needs; is it
>>>>>>>>> difficult to engage in??????
>>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>> Best wishes,
>>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>> Roger
>>>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>>> ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
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>>>>>>>
>>>>>>> ===================================================
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>> BARRY A CLEMSON
>>>>>>> [log in to unmask]
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>> 757-692-6673
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>> Cybernetica Press at www.cyberneticapress.com
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>
>>>>>>>
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>>>>>>> it.... Do
>>>>>>> small things with great love."
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>>>>>>>
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>>>>>>> --- my paraphrase of Sensei Hamada ---
>>>>>>>
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>>>>>>>  -- Inspired by the prophet Amos 5:24--
>>>>>>>
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>>>>>>>      -- Gene Knudsen Hoffman --
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>>
>> ===================================================
>>
>> BARRY A CLEMSON
>> [log in to unmask]
>>
>> 757-692-6673
>>
>> Cybernetica Press at www.cyberneticapress.com
>>
>>
>>
>> "It's not how much you do - it's how much love you put in it.... Do
>> small things with great love."
>>           --- Mother Teresa ---
>>
>> The true warrior may be killed, but he can not be defeated.
>>  --- my paraphrase of Sensei Hamada ---
>>
>> And peace rolled down like a mighty river.
>>      -- Inspired by the prophet Amos 5:24--
>>
>>
>> "An enemy is a person whose story we have not heard."
>>          -- Gene Knudsen Hoffman --
>>
>> ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
>> For more information go to: www.metaphorum.org
>>
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