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EPSRC- Mini-sandpit Scarborough, Sept 10-12, 2007 A. Espinosa.

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Presentation on theme: "EPSRC- Mini-sandpit Scarborough, Sept 10-12, 2007 A. Espinosa."— Presentation transcript:

1 EPSRC- Mini-sandpit Scarborough, Sept 10-12, 2007 A. Espinosa

2 Complexity Management and self-organisation in an evolutionary learning society Research Context: What is wrong in current approaches to sustainable development & regeneration programmes Self-Organisation in Human Social Systems: Research aims & objectives PhD studentship Aims and objectives/ methodology Exploration of field works possibilities Case study: An evolving ELC. Current research Conceptual background Main research questions Current research development and plans

3 Research Context Why this research & Research Background

4 The needs for a strong approach to sustainability We are close to an irreversible global socio-ecological breakdown, unless we dramatically change current trends (e.g. Stern Report, 2006). For a route of breakthrough towards more sustainable development paths, we require a paradigmatic change towards more sustainable eco-social interaction (Laszlo, 2006; Capra, 2003; Wackernagel, 1997; Meadows, 1972; Meadows et al, 2004) Re-think development from a holistic, strong sustainability approach Re-think the ontology of development Redesign the epistemology of programs implementation

5 Structural problems in sustainability. Sustainability requires a more holistic view of: environmental problems; the social and institutional structures responsible for solutions. Failures to reverse current unhealthy trends: Related to ineffective hierarchical structures and traditional management practices Mismatch in the relationship between: government and societies development agencies and implementing bodies.

6 Need for new analytical tools Underlying logic of the available analytical tools is wrong: We need new tools that: embody complexity management principles; see power and control as emergent properties of a system, rather than as drivers of it embrace notions such as co-existence of difference and self- organisation within the context of a network world picture. There are elements of these more holistic tools for sustainability, none yet including all desirable elements. E.g: Max Neefs measuring systems based on measuring welfare e.g. Hendersons design of sustainability indices (Henderson, 2002a). Potocan & Mulejs methods/tools for more sustainable development design Checklands soft approaches for participatory programs design Beers viable system model and Team Syntegrity

7 (see Espinosa,2006) A way forward To re-think the fundamental meaning of development: From the communitys needs -aligned with global/ regional priorities- To re-think the Intervention Paradigm Variety management: Community involvement; self- regulation developed To re-think measurement systems We need to find more appropriate ways to measure sustainability of communities/ societies, including critical social, economical and ecological issues.

8 Research Context Emergence and Complexity EPSRC Network

9 Self-organisation in (human) social systems. Research aims To suggest transferable concepts that might be used in other domains (physics, biology and robotics) to explain principles of task allocation and self-regulation. To describe informal networking patterns and their evolving identities in emerging social structures To develop and test new methodologies and tools based on these ideas, to support design of complex social transformation, the success of which depends on the performance of self-organizing emergent networks (i.e in communities regeneration).

10 Organisations: A Complexity Perspective Organisations: Learning networks requiring access to knowledge resources to convert them into tangible products (Powell et al, 1996) Basis of network cooperation: the need for resource pooling and the need to respond to threat (Axelrod, 1984). Learning: built as a social process; evolves when there is a community of collaboration Nonaka and Takeuchi (1995), Self-organization: distributed cooperation -emerges in the course of reciprocation strategies (Axelrod, 1997) Heterarchies: enormously complex and effective adaptive systems, self-organised by a variety of non- hierarchical principles (Stark, 2000) The main task for management attention in complex evolutionary (organisational) networks is to be the cognitive gate-keeping structure (Mandelli, 2004).

11 Evolutionary learning communities (& society) Banathy developed the Evolutionary Social Systems - that has proved useful in supporting organizational forms that might contribute to a self-guided evolutionary development process (Banathy, 2000). Laszlo & Laszlo then suggest development of evolutionary learning communities (ELC): communities that actively strive toward sustainable pathways for evolutionary development in synergistic interaction with their milieu, through both individual and collective processes of learning. evolutionary learning society resulting as a macro level as the co-evolution of ELC (Laszlo, 2003; Laszlo & Laszlo, 2003). Here we argue, from a perspective of complexity management, that an additional requirement is enactment of the democratic structures that underpin societal evolutionary learning.

12 Cybernetic approaches Organisational Cybernetics (Beer, 1979, 1981) sustainability - an ongoing process constituted through the dynamic relationships between viable organisations and the reality that these relationships lay down into their realisation – Effective solutions massively increase the chances of success when they emerge from an understanding of the mechanism of structurally coupled autonomous (i.e. self- regulated) entities in their natural flow Second order cybernetics (Maturana & Varela, 1980, 1988): views sustainability as a term that is constantly open to negotiation and local definition in dialogue, rather than being some what out-there in the world (Schlindwein & Ison, 2004).

13 Viability and complexity management Viable System: responds or anticipates environmental changes, through effecting changes in its own dynamics that allow it to maintain an identity over time (Beer 1979, 1981, 1983, 1985). co-existent with the viability of the other organisations or systems to which it is structurally coupled Viable System Model: Sufficient and necessary set of functions for the viable organisation

14 What is a viable system? Remains in touch with a continually changing world. Composed of: a set of operations, a meta-system the environment within which it impacts and sustains itself. Recursive: Contains and is contained within other viable systems Diagnosis of interaction between viable systems: Ross Ashbys Laws of Variety (Ashby, 1964). Variety is a measure of perceived complexity, ascribed by the observer of it. The laws of variety are developed into several laws and axioms of management.

15 Recursion - Complexity Levels System Sub system Sub-Sub System

16 VSM-photo

17 Sustainable (Viable) Structures Autonomy and Cohesion The Role of Higher management Structural coupling with the Environment Variables and Metrics for Sustainability Participation and Re-engagement

18 Viable vs. Evolutionary Learning Societies Societal development: sustained viability (rather than non stop growth) Model a society as a viable system: focus on essencial variables for sustainability Development of self-regulated learning communities (infosets- networks of shared knowledge and understanding on critical issues for sustainability) Effective governance: Increase in: the level of social awareness (access to relevant public knowledge) and individual and institutional participation (engagement in public decisions and following up of public actions).

19 Criteria to design an ELC Clarify organisational identity Identify essential sustainability variables Use systemic methodologies for enabling democratic participation (e.g. Open Dialogue, Team Syntegrity) Develop knowledge clusters as learning organisations with technical support Design variety amplifiers/ attenuators for knowledge sharing and structuring Design accountability mechanisms for pub lic control on sustainability indexes (e.g. Management support systems)

20 Social (human) systems PhD studentship

21 Selection process: about 8 candidates Finalists:Pedro Pablo Cardoso: Colombian, marine biologist, Msc Environmental Management Wide experience in academic and consultancy work in issues of sustainability Expected starting date: October 1st

22 Research aims and objectives Project Aim To design an intervention model with functional basis in bottom-up mechanisms to develop social self-sustainable associative schemes. Research objectives: To study the current body of knowledge explaining self regulation on biological, social and simulated systems to find out differences and similarities in basic concepts, models, and identification of generic rules. To study success and failure in biological and social regeneration programs to find out structural patterns that characterizes successful practices and methods of intervention. To develop and test to validate a model, intervention methodology and tools, inspired by generic rules of self organization, in an agreed real life situation.

23 Research Hypothesis The intervention methodology and tools must have influence in: the number of social interactions, number of involved individuals, number and kind of feedbacks and number of actions (facts) (As noticed in the work with ants of Deborah Gordon (1999) and Edward Wilson &Bert Holldobler (1996)).

24 Conceptual background Sustainable Development: System of production and consumption, capable to generate and improve the equity, life quality, and environmental welfare of present and future generations new perspective of development that includes the rehabilitation of the existing infrastructures and re- incorporation of marginal communities to the economic system adopting the concept of regeneration as driver to develop practices to achieve sustainability

25 Methodology Literature Review: Study the s tate of the art research on issues of self-organisation, sustainability and communities regeneration. Critical review comparing: 1) aims, objectives and conclusions of each document. 2) Conceptual frameworks. 3) Applied definition of self organization. 4) Documented experience of regeneration program. 5) Analytical tools used. 6) Results. Analysis of success and failure in biological and social regeneration programs, using Eisenhardt (1989) and Yin (1989) methodology, as well as cladistics: to explain, identify and understand laws and relationships that explain evolution, existence of establish and emerging (self- organization) configuration (bottom-up behavior).

26 Example: Against poverty Eastern Yucatan -program Previous efforts in a small community: 1998-2007) 5000 people sponsor - W. K. Kellogg Foundation Important achievements in quality of life for the involved communities (in production, health, micro-finances and self- steem/leadership). Methodology: Based on holistic and complexity approaches to socio-economic development program, supported by internet and massive communication. Structure: Communal Council: Production. Health Micro-finances Self-esteem and leadership

27 Yucatan project Development Against Poverty as a Complex System in a Mayan Village - Heriberto Cuanalo de la Cerda- Eco- Summit 2007 - China (to be uploaded in our wiki) The World Bank estimates that 2.8 billionalmost half of the worlds 6 billion peoplelive on less than U.S. $2 a day. Poverty is pervasive in many areas of the world. This paper introduces a complex model which is built from the ground up as an opportunity to understand poverty from the poor Mayan peoples perspective, to gain a better understanding of the development process. Education, health, production - productivity and level of investment (households basic needs) were identified as dynamic variables that condition poverty through their interactions in time loops. Poverty is a state of activity towards which the system settles. The interactions and loops of these variables require the adoption of a strategy of multiple goals and successive approximations to fight poverty. The results showed improvement in key variables of wellbeing: households level of investment, infants level of nourishment and the amount of monetary savings. Meeting: 1st week September Exploring possibilities of collaboration

28 Welsh project: Sustainable Communities Network Aims : Rebuilding Society Network Integrating co-operative projects on sustainability in Mid Wales Network : Farmers, Schools, Universities, Community Activists, Experts (Local/ national agencies/ industries) Transition Towns (Schumacher College). Focus on developing projects on: Sustainable Food, Energy, Housing, Local Currency Reducing dramatically the footprint (evolutionary learning communities)

29 Regeneration project Generic research questions Which values/ societal regulators each societal network exhibit? How those influence community/ institutions informal network structures? How does specialization affects learning in the community projects? Are there examples in these communities where self-assembly involving self organization has happened ? How can we measure performance of the regenerating community? Which network configurations happen between roles and individuals involved in a regeneration program?

30 Self-organisation & informal networking An example in Communities Regeneration: A developing Eco-Village

31 About The Eco-Village The Eco-Village - September 1999 Company limited by guarantee without a share capital, Primary objective: create and manage a sustainable village on behalf of its members. Charitable purpose of education: to create a model sustainable community from which others may learn (possibly from our mistakes as much as from our achievements!) Unique one-off project combining educational purposes and cooperative practices.

32 1999-2007 Members actions: Researched the concept of sustainable rural housing development located a suitable 67 acre site in Cloughjordan Co. Tipperary. –The residential area comprises 23 acres. –Over 50 acres of land has been allocated for community use, divided between agricultural land and a wildlife area. Masterplan based on sustainable principles prepared for the estate. 2005 detailed planning permission granted for 131 homes ( apartment, terrace, semi-detached and detached house types). Studied and chosen ecological specialised technologies, including reed bed waste water treatment, sustainable urban drainage and a district heating main.

33 Communitys organisation Cooperative organisation: Based on consensus decision-making. Strategy of shared-out responsibilities: About a dozen Self-organised working groups ( e.g. fundraising group, land use group). Group coordinators meeting once a month Members meetings: – Managed by the Process Group, a group formed to facilitate an ongoing learning process concerned with their structures and processes. Four staff employed, responsible for finance, the office, unsold sites, site sales administration and contractual and official relationships relating to the infrastructure.

34 VSM Workshop Agreed organisational identity: Charitable company, founded on cooperative principles to: Create a conscious new approach to a way of life which will benefit the individuals involved, and provide a viable example to plant the seeds for other similar projects, globally To build sustainable community by transforming a grienfield site into a model of sustainable community, using the best of environmental technology and providing sustainable good and services, education and dream houses

35 Primary Activities Establishing Green Infrastructure Building infrastructure Selling Building individual houses Constructing community houses Education/ dissemination/ networking Community creation

36 System 2System 3System 3*System 4System 5 Board Education GBoard E-mails Discussi Boards Coordinators Group Members meeting External Commun. G Members meeting Process group Meetings Road Map Meetings ??? Fund RaisingMemorand. Monthly Coordin Meetngs Finances, Administrat. ??? Site Sale StrtEco-Charter Newsletter Group Process groupLands use GSust Comm Ethos TimetablingWeekly Report Strategy G IT groupLegal IssuesMobility G Planning Group Board

37 Preliminary diagnosis/ recommendations Clear identity & ethos through highly motivated, autonomous members Need to distinguish between the developing project and the Eco-Village Unrecognised systems 1 in the development project (e.g. sales..) Lack of control in the development process! (risk of viability) Most roles concentrated in Systems 3/4/5 NOT enough on Systems 1!!! Need to migrate from current sub-organisations, into more operationally based groupings able to respond to the complexity of current tasks (e.g. sales and infrastructure -monitoring developments-). Overloading variety on non-crucial issues (e-mails…). Non-operational System 4 for environmental monitoring (i.e. political and economical changes that may affect the Eco-Village), financial planning and organisational development. Urgent need to develop the 3/4 Homeostat. Urgent need for meta-systemic management Need to develop a proper System 3*

38 Current organisational challenges at the Village Effective self-organisation, based on members skills & interest, but main organisational problems not properly attended (e.g. infrastructure monitoring, sales..) Missing regulatory and strategic development mechanisms -disparate efforts & responsibilities in both levels- Need for more cohesion & organisational performance in the development stage

39 see (Espinosa, 2006) Summarising: The Viable Systems Model & Sustainable Development Organisational and 2nd order cybernetics: A useful approach to design ELCs and evolutionary learning societies Re- design of development programs: To create structural conditions for improved self-regulation and for guaranteeing realisation of local potentials. Critical issue: the democratic involvement of stakeholders, at all levels of development, from design to implementation of development programs and related monitoring systems. Beers monitoring systems: a more systemic way of handling critical measures for sustainable development that gives the metrics for measuring long term rather than mainly short term development. Strength: for diagnosing complex situations and of innovative sustainable design.

40 Research Outputs 2007-2008 Beyond Hierarchy: A Complexity Management Perspective Invited paper to Kybernetes, special issue on Management Sciences, Published March 2007 Complexity Management, Democracy and Social Consciousness: Challenges for an evolutionary learning society Invited paper, Systemic Practice and Action Research. In press (August 2007) A Complexity approach to Sustainability: revisiting S Beer In press. European Journal of the Operational Research Society. Accepted March 2007. Complexity Management and self-organisation in an evolutionary learning society. A. Espinosa. Paper in progress.- ISSS Conference, Tokio, August 3-7, 2007.

41 Current Research plans Theoretical papers -team proposal- Exploring the different/similar meanings and impact for understanding social systems in each realm (biological, artificial, societal) Self-organisation, generic rules and performance: Modelling complexity: – viewpoint of statistical mechanics to build up complexity models, in each realm –Viewpoint of social cybernetics and other holistic approaches in Learning issues in a self-assembly process; first order (all) and second order (ants/humans) Performance measurement and prediction Understanding of performance in complex adaptive systems Early Warning Systems

42 Book -Complexity and Sustainability (1) Introduction: Sustainability and complexity Why sustainability needs a holistic approach Conceptual platform: complexity management, systems and cybernetics. Holistic and complexity approaches to sustainability Re-visiting the idea of sustainability from a complexity approach The Viable System Model: a recursive model of viable organisations Complexity and Variety Management The Viable System Model – A Brief Overview Methodologies and tools for organisational transformation Viability and Sustainability Societies as Viable Systems Self-organization and societal development –o Measuring systems –o Control and Governance Democracy and participation Re-designing the interaction between individual and society

43 Book -Complexity and Sustainability (2) Environmental Management Revisited Modeling the complexity of interactions in a region Re-designing governmental agencies –o An example from the National Environmental System in Colombia Re-designing industries and institutions –o Example: Re-organisation of an eco-industry –o The Mondragon co-cooperative through cybernetic lens Re-evaluation of socio-economic development programs Development programs: Whats going wrong? What is still missing in Complexity approaches to Development? Managing complexity in development programs –o Design of an educational development program –o Developing a national program against poverty Bridging the gap: towards a more sustainable society Self-organised virtual learning networks The Global Village and democratic knowledge networks Re-thinking government Conclusions

44 References Cuanalo de la Cerda, H. (2007). Development Against Poverty as a Complex System in a Mayan Village. In: Proceedings of the - Eco-Summit 2007 - China. Co-op (2003), Coffee: What a difference a penny makes, The Co-operative Group, available March 30th 2005 in Dube, S.C. (1990), Modernization and Development: The Search for Alternative Paradigms, 2nd Ed, Zed\Books Ltd & The United Nations University, London, UK. Espinosa, A. (2006). A cybernetic re-evaluation of socio-economic development programs. Kybernetes 35 (1/2), pp. 30-44 Espinosa, A, Harnden, R. and J. Walker (2007). Beyond Hierarchy: A Complexity Management Perspective. Kybernetes, special issue on Management Sciences, 2007 Henderson, H. (2002a), A Systems Approach: Calvert – Henderson Quality of Life Indicators, available March 18th 2005 in Potocan, V. and M. Mulej (2003), On Requisitely Holistic Understanding of Sustainable Development from Business Viewpoints, Systemic Practice and Action Research, Vol 16, No. 6. Max -Neef, M.A. (1991), Human Scale Development: Conception, Application and Further Reflections, Apex Press, New York. UNDP. (2005), United Nations for international development cooperation: Effectiveness of the UN development system and its operational activities, available March 15th 2005 in

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