Stefan m wasilewski: Upgrade Report: November 2009April 2010 - 6


Systems
Economics is an emergent function of human societies (Smith 1798; Murphy 1997) whose individual components have their own internal models of the world (Markowitz 1952), know how they fit together and have strategies to navigate it. The Stefan m wasilewski: Upgrade Report: November 2009April 2010 - 6 expression "Corporate Eco-System" accurately describes how these individual, and groups of individuals, combine to create the network of organisations that we call the economy.


An ecosystem is a set of Stefan m wasilewski: Upgrade Report: November 2009April 2010 - 6 closely coupled organisms that form a sustainable whole, (Mingers 1995; Arthur 2005) bounded but capable of absorbing new inputs. Its fitness is measured by how effectively the variety of its inputs is managed Stefan m wasilewski: Upgrade Report: November 2009April 2010 - 6 while still maintaining the whole.


Like organic ecosystems businesses evolve, develop, mutate or die according to this ability to adapt (Mingers 1995; White 2002; Arthur 2005). However there are, like the genetic code, certain telltale indications Stefan m wasilewski: Upgrade Report: November 2009April 2010 - 6 (Beer 1966; Kauffman 1993; Vester 2007) of how businesses will behave by the manner in which it is constructed. Therefore peering into existing business operations can: illuminate the fitness of the business; how vision Stefan m wasilewski: Upgrade Report: November 2009April 2010 - 6 is co-developed then communicated; identify the proper functions and their processes; and how control parameters are shared across the whole.


The tools to do this can generally be categorised as Stefan m wasilewski: Upgrade Report: November 2009April 2010 - 6 'model-bias11', network topology (Jackson 1991; Watts 1999), communication bandwidth (White 2002), coupling (strong/week)(Shannon and Weaver 1998), resonance or information transfer and lastly, how diversity (Ashby 1960; Mingers 2006) is managed including the optimisation of variety Stefan m wasilewski: Upgrade Report: November 2009April 2010 - 6 to a strategy.
^ Stafford Beer: The Viable System Model & Team Syntegrity
In the eight hours that I had with Stafford Beer in 1998 it was impossible to gauge what drove him to create the Stefan m wasilewski: Upgrade Report: November 2009April 2010 - 6 Viable System Model (Beer 1972) “VSM” but what was apparent was the holistic manner in which he approached the world. The objective of the meeting was to find a way to articulate sound Stefan m wasilewski: Upgrade Report: November 2009April 2010 - 6 risk practices within a bank such that potential investors will be able to price their risk. 1998 was the year when Long-Term Capital Management (LTCM) was about to default and the US Stefan m wasilewski: Upgrade Report: November 2009April 2010 - 6 government arranged a bailout (Lowenstein 2000). In this climate it was essential to show that management had a complete control over its context and its component products. By rearranging operations into a set Stefan m wasilewski: Upgrade Report: November 2009April 2010 - 6 of self-similar and nested functions the VSM allowed us to show management gaps in control; how they could create a long-term and sustainable organisation; and counter to market rumours (See Stefan m wasilewski: Upgrade Report: November 2009April 2010 - 6 Appendices: Viable System Model). With the aid of Roger Harnden and Jerry Meek we had been able to isolate all of the system one products and show that many were not connected and that Stefan m wasilewski: Upgrade Report: November 2009April 2010 - 6 correlations in the marketplace were being ignored. Embedded within the VSM was the CyberFilter that provided a simple set of metrics that could be articulated across a variety of products Stefan m wasilewski: Upgrade Report: November 2009April 2010 - 6 within the bank and for the bank as a whole.


The ‘Brain of the Firm’ (Beer 1972) introduced the Viable System Model’ as well as the ‘Cyberfilter’ which was used as the Stefan m wasilewski: Upgrade Report: November 2009April 2010 - 6 basis to explain how the business Organisation was structured and the primary performance metric. In “Beyond Dispute” (Beer 1994) Beer explained how Team Syntegrity’s protocols, his method of gaining and sharing knowledge, were founded, developed Stefan m wasilewski: Upgrade Report: November 2009April 2010 - 6 and integrated to provide a language to interrogate existing, and provide for new, forms of governance: In business terms “a means of addressing and strengthening the links between the internal and immediate Stefan m wasilewski: Upgrade Report: November 2009April 2010 - 6 management functions, and the external and future management functions of the enterprise” (Beyond Dispute 1996; Truss, p333) so that a balance is maintained between investment for the future and the maintenance Stefan m wasilewski: Upgrade Report: November 2009April 2010 - 6 of day-to-day business. Whilst this was of immediate importance of the project the VSM needed to be set in a larger context that “The Heart of the Enterprise” (Beer 1985) did by Stefan m wasilewski: Upgrade Report: November 2009April 2010 - 6 expandingexpanded the understanding of the VSM and introducing Autopoiesis: Maturana & Varela’s work on self-aware renewal. With “Decision and Control” (Beer 1979) put the whole subject matter in the general context Stefan m wasilewski: Upgrade Report: November 2009April 2010 - 6 of control and self organising systems, and “Diagnosing the System” (Beer 1966) provided a workbook that an educated management-cybernetician could use to investigate aany system. To complement the general understanding of Stafford Stefan m wasilewski: Upgrade Report: November 2009April 2010 - 6’s work two books, “How Many Grapes went into the Wine” (Beer 1985) and “The Viable System Model” (Harnden and Leonard 1994), provided me withprovide good examples and relevant applications so that my internal Stefan m wasilewski: Upgrade Report: November 2009April 2010 - 6 model could be developed.. On a meta-level “Designing Freedom” (Espejo and Harnden 1989) and “Platform for Change” (Beer 1975; Beer 1994) shows Beer’s application of his language to technological and political governance.
^ Cyber Filter Stefan m wasilewski: Upgrade Report: November 2009April 2010 - 6
Stafford Beer described the CyberFilter in ‘Brain of the Firm” (Beer 1994; Beer 1994) and in the project described above it was used to provide a metric to price risk. Using terms that any Stefan m wasilewski: Upgrade Report: November 2009April 2010 - 6 treasurer could understand we created metrics from measures of productivity defined as “actuality”, “capability” and “potentiality” according to the definitions laid down by Stafford Beer: Productivity being the ratio of actuality Stefan m wasilewski: Upgrade Report: November 2009April 2010 - 6 to capability, latency ratio of capability and potentiality, and performance being two measures, the ratio of actuality and potentiality, and also the product of latency and productivity.


I did however find Stefan m wasilewski: Upgrade Report: November 2009April 2010 - 6 I had a problem with some aspects of the ‘Potentiality Index’. It was linked to the general market place that to my mind could not be called a viable system (as did Beer) but is Stefan m wasilewski: Upgrade Report: November 2009April 2010 - 6 a melange of different management organisations and investors all of which, including the business in фокус, were trying to correlate events except to the flow of decisions within the network.
^ Tying Stefan m wasilewski: Upgrade Report: November 2009April 2010 - 6 it all together
In the last three years the financial world has shown itself to be a closely coupled set of financial networks (Beer 1994; Lowenstein and Long-term Capital Management (Firm) 2000; Cooper Stefan m wasilewski: Upgrade Report: November 2009April 2010 - 6 2008) that have used common business models with a common flaw: they could not generally differentiate between good or bad management and the attendant operational risks that subsequently destroy value (Bookstaber 2007). If Stefan m wasilewski: Upgrade Report: November 2009April 2010 - 6 they had then they would not be at the mercy of poor credit-worthy businesses nor invested leveraged equity accordingly.


In April 1975 Stafford Beer and John Casti wrote a research memoranda for Stefan m wasilewski: Upgrade Report: November 2009April 2010 - 6 the IIASA titled 'Investment against Disaster In Large Organisations' (Bookstaber 2007).  Within they discuss the then recently published 'Catastrophe Theory' by Rene Thom (Casti 1975) and how it may be applied to optimise in the management Stefan m wasilewski: Upgrade Report: November 2009April 2010 - 6 of risks within large organisations. It identifies homoeostatic loops (Zeeman 1977; Mingers 1995) and many of the criteria that would become central to identifying why boom-bust (Beer 1972) occurs and integral to the Stefan m wasilewski: Upgrade Report: November 2009April 2010 - 6 development of the Stafford Beers' 'viable system model' (Cooper 2008). 


It predated by 20 years the creation of conditions to supply a new form of financial instrument called Contingent Capital that I designed in 1995 with Stefan m wasilewski: Upgrade Report: November 2009April 2010 - 6 Merrill Lynch, that itself has taken another 10-years to market acceptance for the same reasons Stafford identifies (Beer 1972), and also outlines the essential failings in investment decision making processes: A business Stefan m wasilewski: Upgrade Report: November 2009April 2010 - 6 should optimise the return on capital not maximise earnings with non-cash flow assets.


In order to ascertain the veracity of performance within a balance sheet it was necessary to parse the management Stefan m wasilewski: Upgrade Report: November 2009April 2010 - 6 accounts for true operational performance, which was how I met Stafford Beer and was guided back to R Buckminster Fuller and Michael C Jackson’s (Jackson 2003) System Theory for Managers.


An Stefan m wasilewski: Upgrade Report: November 2009April 2010 - 6 essential part of this paper is that management is a dynamic process and ultimately predictable only over short periods and that a business should optimise the return on capital not Stefan m wasilewski: Upgrade Report: November 2009April 2010 - 6 maximise earnings with non-cash flow assets.


Recent developments in network theory can embody much of the mathematics employed by Stafford Beer in the viable system model by adapting certain elements of an Stefan m wasilewski: Upgrade Report: November 2009April 2010 - 6 agents programming and providing dedicated (Casti 1975Beer 1972; Fuller and Applewhite 1986; Watts 1999; Carrington, Scott et al. 2005; Ostrom 2009) ‘cellular automata’ (Wolfram 1994; Arthur 2005; Ostrom 2009; Schweitzer, Fagiolo et al. 2009; Vespignani 2009) parameters with the task of Stefan m wasilewski: Upgrade Report: November 2009April 2010 - 6 governing the boundary conditions. This allows an algorithmic model to be created using feedback and feed-forward parameters along with both the self-similar functionality of the VSM and the creation of other Stefan m wasilewski: Upgrade Report: November 2009April 2010 - 6 systems that may be emergent but not viable in the same sense as the VSM.

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