February 17 is the thirty-third meeting for Systems Thinking Ontario.

Systems of Governance Across Scales: Heterarchies, Holacracies, Democracies and The Society of Mind.

Inherent in systems thinking is the interdependence of diverse components and their interaction to produce something new – seemingly, something of higher order – a “System”. And despite the diversity of influences attributable to the parts – we nevertheless conceive of the system as a singular whole that moves – in at least some respects – as one. In governing this emergent “movement” of the system toward some effect or outcome - are there discernible patterns of interdependence and interaction of components that transcend the material composition of the system or the scale at which it operates?


Suggested preparatory readings: 

The following readings are drawn from diverse realms and speak in their own ways to this theme of systems governing systems.

Warren McCulloch's paper A Heterarchy of Values Determined by the Topology of Nervous Nets published in the 1945 Bulletin of Mathematical Biophysics.

Media pieces about Holacracy at Zappos:

NPR_July 2015


For supplemental readings - and, in part to note the passing of Marvin Minsky last month - some related excerpts from his book The Society of Mind:



Participants should not feel limited to the suggested readings, but should recognize that other attendees may have not read, or are reading differently, that content.


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:  Tim Lloyd
6:30 Discussion (with pre-readings as an entry point)
  • How are the systems and governance mechanisms the same? How are they different? What insights and observations do they offer in respect of the various systems that govern us?
Presenter: Allenna Leonard
Observer(s):  Peter Rose
7:45 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, which is quiet enough to talk)
  • 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.