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Asia-Pacific Foresight Conference 2012 16-18 th November, 2012 Perth, Western Australia Russell Clemens: independent research: organisational anthropology.

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Presentation on theme: "Asia-Pacific Foresight Conference 2012 16-18 th November, 2012 Perth, Western Australia Russell Clemens: independent research: organisational anthropology."— Presentation transcript:

1 Asia-Pacific Foresight Conference 2012 16-18 th November, 2012 Perth, Western Australia Russell Clemens: independent research: organisational anthropology email: / THE CYBERNETICS OF FORESIGHT FUTURES THINKING FOR THE 21 ST CENTURY

2 PIERRE WACK (1922 – 1997) Futurist; April 1998, Vol. 32 Issue 3, p.43 Obituary Announces the death of Pierre Wack, a pioneer of scenario planning, on December 22, 1997. Comments from futurist Ian Wilson about the planning developed by Wack and his colleagues. ( STAFFORD BEER (1926 – 2002) Futurist Stafford Beer, a leading theorist in the field of management cybernetics, died on August 23 in Toronto following cardiac arrest; he was 75. Beer, who had studied philosophy and psychology at University College in London, pioneered the use of cybernetics for modelling management and operational systems in the steel industry. He is credited with solving complex problems in production, marketing, finance, personnel, and other areas. In 1986 he joined fellow futurists Isaac Asimov, Alvin Toffler, Al Gore Jr., and others at the World Future Society's conference in New York, offering his invaluable insights on crisis management and conflict resolution. (FUTURIST UPDATE, News & Previews from the World Future Society, October 2002, Remembering... F UTURISTS - Past

3 I NTRODUCTION 1.Cybernetics & Foresight 2.Related by common symbols 3.Shared histories 4.21 st century toolkits Introduction

4 C YBERNETICS – FOCUS ON DOING … Cybernetics & Foresight Working Definitions What Stafford Beer & Pierre Wack did! i.e., Management Cybernetics & Scenario Planning, respectively POSIWID: purpose of a system is what it does … (Beer)

5 C YBERNETICS – GENESIS History of Modern Cybernetics Macy Conferences – a set of meetings of scholars from various disciplines held in New York from 1946 through to 1953 on the initiative of Warren McCulloch & the Josiah Macy, Jr. Foundation. Principal Purpose – to set the foundations for a general science of the workings of the human mind. (American Cybernetics Society: Macy Summary) I specifically want to consider the significance of the set of cross-disciplinary ideas which we first called 'feed-back' and then called 'teleological mechanisms' and then called 'cybernetics' -- a form of cross-disciplinary thought which made it possible for members of many disciplines to communicate with each other easily in a language which all could understand. (Margaret Mead, cited in von Foerster 1995).

6 M ANAGING FROM THE FUTURE Paradigm Managing from the Future "Internalising some future goal so the institution can plant its feet in that future and manage the present from there (Pascale, Millemann & Gioja, 1997). The development of a common understanding is essential (van de Heijden, 1988). Planning for a sustainable future means first synchronising watches and the first step towards the unknown is to get agreement on where we are already (James, 1998)

7 I MAGINATION … Sense of Place: Stargating 1912 – 2112 1912 2012 2112 "... six [points] for the destination. But to chart a course, you need a point of origin. ( Daniel Jackson ) Observer

8 R ICH PICTURES: 21 ST DECEMBER 1912 > 2012 > 2112 … (200-year toolkits for 2,000+ year journeys) Forest Philosophers – France, 1923 The Herald of Coming Good Paris, 1933 Arica – Chile,1970s SuperSyntegration® – St Gallen, 2012 "The hour drew nigh & the moon did rend asunder." [Al-Qur'an 54:1] Glocal 2112 Rich Picture: A Short Look @ Long Time Origins B.C.? Moscow 1912 Sufi traditions? Perth 2012 21-Dec Time line recursions: Northern perspectives -- Southern places Eastern origins -- Wester destinations...? 20 th century 21 st century 22 nd century 19 th century 18th Perth 1697 Cygnus atratus New Holland (Willem de Vlamingh) (Wack, WW2) Beyond Dispute – Toronto,1994

9 O VERVIEW 1.Economic trends, climate change, disruptive innovative technologies & geopolitical turbulence continue. 2.9-billion people (2050) needing inclusive, harmonious, equitable & sustainability governance systems. 3.Challenge: Seeing our futures (& complexities) better – without a Crisis! response. 4.Cybernetics in 21 st century foresight toolkits 21 st Century Assumptions

10 P ROPHETIC FORESIGHT SYSTEMS? Imaginal Visioning for Prophetic Foresight (Markley 2012)* Markley (2012) believes: 1.Future viable systems will need greater input of higher intuition in situations where systemic disruptions & transformative change abound. 2.Prophetic forms of foresight involving ethics & wisdom are increasingly desirable for wise futures to emerge. 3.Likely scenarios will involve epoch-scale change on spaceship earth with a civilizational tipping-point occurring around 2020. 4.A post-collapse bifurcation point may occur in following decades resulting in either a sustainability era (wise- future) or full civilizational collapse – based on a civilizational reformation or its absence (respectively). 5.Higher level consciousness & approaches are required to extend foresight capacity. ( * Journal of Futures Studies, September 2012, 17(1): 5-24)

11 P ROPHETIC FORESIGHT SYSTEMS? Imaginal Visioning for Prophetic Foresight (Markley 2012, p. 11)

12 1.wēi ( ) roughly means "danger, dangerous; endanger, jeopardize; perilous; precipitous, precarious; high; fear, afraid. 2.wēijī suggests "crucial point" 3.jī ( ) does not necessarily mean "opportunity. [jīhuì ( ) is closer to opportunity] (Wikipedia: Chinese_word_for_crisis) C RISIS! … 2B or not 2B in crisis … is that a question of perception? wēijī (wei-chi) : danger & crucial point C risis! =

13 C AUSAL LAYERED ANALYSIS ( Inayatullah 2004) ( Wikipedia image: Causal_layered_analysis) Analysis CLA: Foresight & Futures

14 M AKING WORK SYSTEMS BETTER A work system is a purposeful definition of the real world in which people spend effort in more or less coherent activities for mutually influencing each other and their environment.(*) DomainTime SpanFunctionMethodFocusStrategic Dilemma 1. Added-value1 day to 1-2 years Transforming product for clients. Production to specifications. Time, volume, quality, price. Waste, efficiency. Using the right means? Adapt to change. 2. Innovation1-2 years to 5-10 years Detect change in operating environment values & create added value for the future. Focus on discovery of new emerging trends. Desirability, feasibility, transferability, systemicity (**). Choices between alternative products & services. Bifurcation point. 3. Value-systems5-10 years to 20-50 years Create elements of new culture through new language, descriptions & prescriptions. Permanent debate between representatives of different world views, traditions & cultures. Generative, tolerant, dialectical, congruent. Irreversible consequences of whole system change. Tension between ideology & value systems. 4. SpiritualBeyond 20 years Deal with personal mortality. Focus on creativity & universality. Art & personal behaviour. Life & death. Work System Domains Summary based on Hoebeke (1994, pp. 169-183) synthesising Checkland; Beer; Maturana & Jaques * Wikipedia: Luc_Hoebeke ** the complex, dynamic behaviour exhibited by systems, or systems-of-systems

15 C LA & CYBERNETICS CLADomainCyberneticistCybernetics Definition Litany1. Added-valueMargaret Mead… a form of cross-disciplinary thought which made it possible for members of many disciplines to communicate with each other easily in a language which all could understand. Social System & Structure 2. InnovationStafford Beer... the science of effective organization. Worldview3. Value- systems Gregory Bateson … a branch of mathematics dealing with problems of control, recursiveness and information focusing on forms and the patterns that connect. Myth & Metaphor4. SpiritualGordon Pask… the science of defensible metaphors. CLA + Work System Domains + Cybernetics

16 C LA & Cybernetic Foresighting Problem Situation – Communication Loops Systems Verbs: 1. Emergence 2. Control 3. Hierarchy 4. Communication 5. Information 6. Ethics Systems Verbs: 1. Emergence 2. Control 3. Hierarchy 4. Communication 5. Information 6. Ethics CLA Verbs: 1. Litany 2. Social systems 3. Worldview 4. Myth & Metaphor

17 V IABLE SYSTEMS MODEL (Wikipedia: Viable_system_model) Beer – VSM

18 V IABLE SYSTEMS MODEL Syntegration ®

19 E COLOGY OF MIND 1.ecological epistemology … recursive epistemology 2.unnamed science 3.Central metaphor – recursion... a recursive vision... … Bateson believed that recursion requires, in addition to cognitive understanding, a perpetual and aesthetic space for its interpretation.... Batesons vision emulates a set of ideas about consciousness and also about order in living systems. The larger argument is that the explanatory space of recursion – in Batesons sense of that phrase – is necessary to any ecological perspective and hence to our own survival.* (Harries-Jones 1995, p. 4) Bateson argues that any framework of recursion which separates human activity from nature is fallacious. Thus any idea of recursion which represents natural order only from the perspective of human agency and social reproduction is anthropomorphic. The larger question is how humans may derive rules about the recursiveness of natural order so that a recursive epistemology includes this knowledge of recursion in natural forms. (Ibid. p. 268) Bateson – Recursion

20 S YMBOLS A symbol is something that represents an idea, a process, or a physical entity. The purpose of a symbol is to communicate meaning. * *

21 E NNEAGRAM 1.Symbol for seeing dynamic wholes 2.European history – Moscow circa. 1912 (no prior evidence) 3.Variety reduction – Millers Law of 7 +/- 2 (whole into 9) 4.Incorporates process deviation and distortion risk within systems needing to stay on course. 5.Maps points of hazard (e.g., physical; moral; intellectual). 6.Can represent a 2 nd cybernetic process needed at [4] to adjust the system to achieve continuous dynamic harmony with/within its environment. Cybernetic theory takes into account the possibility of changing the end-points so that the mechanism is not only self regulating but self-improving. (Bennett 1983, p.20)

22 3 INTER RELATED SYMBOLS – for triadic thinking Whole systemsStructuresLoops ++ (Bennett 1983)

23 E NNEAGRAM – Basic Theory (Ouspensky 1949, p.128) (Speeth 1989 p.23 ) (Ouspensky 1949, p.128) Enneagram – Original (1912) Combines 2 Systems: Math & Music

24 C LAUDIO NARANJO – Applied to character typing (Naranjo 1990, inside cover) (Naranjo 1990, p. 17) Based on the Arica systems developed by Oscar Ichazo – Chile, circa. 1960s To Bee, or not to Bee … – an Ancient Order … or modern Myth? – (Bessing et al 1984, p. 145) (Beesing et al 1984, p. 126)

25 E XAMPLES – (Bennett 1983)

26 E XAMPLE – (Markley 2012) Laszlos (2001) 3-Cs (conquest, colonization and consumption) describe three waves during the preceding 10,000 year development cycle as shifts from nomadic era, agricultural era, industrial era and information era respectively; while connection, communication and consciousness describe the transition to a future fourth wave centred on civilizational tipping points within the current information era. Mapping the 6 Cs of Spaceship Earth (Ouspensky 1949, p.128) 1. Hazard- Weakness – Stress – Pivot point 2. Resonance between si-do & 6 a a

27 P ICKERING – The Mangle of Practice … (1995) & The Cybernetic Brain (2010) Images of appreciating Systems @ Work Nomad Sciences … ( in Breathing Universe )

28 C YBERNETIC FORESIGHTING – Future Directions 21 st Century Management Toolkits Viable Systems Practice


30 P ERCEIVING – Beer & Truss (1994) Recursive Enneagram in Icosahedron (© Joseph Truss, 2012)

31 P ERCEIVING – Ethics... (& Beyond?) Dialogics Metaphysics Ethics becomes manifest, without becoming too explicit, through use of its twin sisters – Metaphysics &Dialogics (von Foerster 1995) Note: no specific endorsement is implied for this interpretation/use of the images here – it is a convenient public artistic visualisation of the meta-object and its shadow being case on clouds (cave walls) that is the focus.

32 S UMMARY Summary 1.Foresight Shares common histories & future challenges with cybernetics (as a nomad science). Awareness of its history appears low. Toolkits can benefit from cybernetic perspectives to help understand patterns, rhythms & blindsiding shock-points. 2.Enneagram Helps understand & communicate complex inter-related issues. Provides a whole-systems thinking framework across the CLA 4, 3, 2 & (1- history). Cybernetic interpretations give insight into sustainabilitys triple bottom-line dynamics. 3.Future More research is required into applications & teaching methods – e.g., as history of foresight etc. Markleys (2012) scenarios can be seen as back to the future for C 21 st foresighting based on what has already emerged since 1912.

33 Art@Work ©Clemens: 2006) De Ropps (1972) New Prometheans as leading systems thinkers and futures practitioners who apply knowledge of the arts and the sciences to work in harmony with Nature. thank you

34 T ransformations 21 Syntegration® 101: An Impression (posted: St Gallen, 2011 Quotations from topics/environment/crisis-an-transformation21) Links of interest: Syntegration 101: An Impression (8:38 min) -- Malik Management für Chinesische Universitäten, Juni 2011 (0:35 min) --

35 Q UESTIONS? … Without Fear or Favour … © Clemens 2012 CC BY-NC-ND References – see paper

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