April 18 is the fourth meeting for Systems Thinking Ontario.  Registration is at http://st-on-2013-04-18.eventbrite.com/.

Theme: Systems Thinking and Variety

The focus question for the evening is:  "How do systems deal with variety, in physical systems, biological systems and social systems?"

Suggested pre-reading:

To provide a minimal shared context, a foundational (i.e. really old!) article can be helpful.

  • W. Ross Ashby (1958), "Requisite variety and its implications for the control of complex systems", Cybernetica 1:2, p. 83-99. (available at http://pcp.vub.ac.be/Books/AshbyReqVar.pdf,republished on the web by F. Heylighen—Principia Cybernetica Project)

As supplements, more applied versions are available by Ashby proponents, in video and written form.

  • Stafford Beer (1990), "The Law of Requisite Variety" (web video), The Intelligent Organization Conference, Monterrey, Mexico at http://youtu.be/bDRudRhNgy4.
  • Michael C. Geoghegan and Paul Pangaro (2009), "Design for a Self-regenerating Organization", International Journal of General Systems, Special Issue on the Intellectual Legacy of W. Ross Ashby, Volume 38 Issue 2, at http://pangaro.com/ashby/

Participants should not feel limited to this suggested pre-reading, but should recognize that other attendees may have not read, or are reading differently, that article.

Agenda, April. 18, 2012

Time Activity Role(s)
6:15 Self-introductions (15 seconds each)
  • Who am I?
  • Which affiliations do I have that might be relevant to systems thinking?
  • How did I come to systems thinking?
6:30 The pre-reading (as an entry point)
  • What did the original author say?
Reviewer: Sean Coutts
6:50 Commentary
  • What have others said since the article was published?
  • How does this article fit in with my thinking on the theme of systems thinking and futures?
Commenter #1: Lucia Kopilcakova
Commenter #2: (TBD)
7:05 Discussion breakouts
  • Break out in groups of 6 to 10 people, to improve active communications
  • Identify a reporter who will summarize the group findings
  • Respond to the question:  What is the relation between Systems Thinking and Futures?"
Parallel breakout groups of 8 to 10 people
7:35 Reports on discussion One designated reporter for each group
7:55 Double loop learning: Revisions in meeting format? Suggestions welcomed
8:00 Adjourn
  • Walk to Baldwin Street (north on McCaul Street, 0.5 km, Hana Korea, 45 Baldwin, reservation under David Ing's name)
  • Continue discussion over dinner and/or drinks.
No host

Post-meeting artifacts

Bloggers are encouraged to write about their learning and experiences at the meeting. Links will be added to this page.