February 20 was the thirteenth meeting for Systems Thinking Ontario. The registration was at http://st-on-2014-02.eventbrite.com .

Theme: Systems Thinking and Entrepreneurial Balance

Entrepreneurs typically start up small organizations where organic coordination amongst individuals becomes inadequate as the scale, scope and speed of the enterprise increase.  The founders are used to having hands-on visibility to every operation in the business, but continuing success makes these ways of working unmanageable.

The Viable System Model can serve as a resource for entrepreneurs to help distinguish between the scopes and timelines of management decisions to be made.  The balanced entrepreneur concentrates his or her efforts on the most essential parts of the business, and can exercise options to delegate or outsource work to other public or private entities.

An appreciation of the basic concepts of variety and channel capacity from the cybernetics literature can provide a framework foundation for organizing.

Suggested pre-reading: 

Jon Walker, "An introduction to the Viable System Model as a diagnostic & design tool for co-operatives & federations" (Version 3.0, 2008) at http://www.scio.org.uk/resource/vsmg_3/screen.php?page=home .

Allenna Leonard, "To Change Ourselves: a Personal VSM Application" at http://www.allennaleonard.com/PersVSM.html .

  • If one wishes to change the world, one must first change oneself.

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.


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?
Convenor:  Peter Jones
6:30 The pre-reading (as an entry point)
  • What did the original author say?
Reviewer: Allenna Leonard
Observer(s):  TBD
6:50 Structure discussion group(s)
6:55 Discussion breakouts
  • Break out in groups of 6 to 10 people, to improve active communications
  • Identify a spokesperson who will summarize the group findings
(Parallel) breakout groups
7:35 Reports on discussion One designated spokesperson for each group
Reporter(s): TBD
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, (the pattern has been for Hana Korea)
  • 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.