Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Systems news from publisher Triarchy

From Triarchy Press:

"Our ‘Systems Thinking in practice’ books – like John Seddon’s or Simon Guilfoyle’s on policing – don’t require any previous knowledge of the subject. But many people who've used them do get curious about Systems Thinking and how it works.
In my office, or at conferences, visitors will often pick up Systems Thinking for Curious Managers and say, ‘Ah, this is what I’ve been looking for - short and clear’. It starts from Russ Ackoff’s view of Systems Thinking and sets out 15 Systems Thinking principles with a brief explanation of how each of them works in practice.
  • For example, the section on Change introduces a simple but radical Systems Thinking way to plan and introduce change in any organisation. It also explains why benchmarking and continuous improvement aren’t such good ideas.
  • And the section on Feedback Loops (which are at the heart of all Systems Thinking) explains about unintended consequences, shows why democratic politics often sinks into a populist slanging match and explains how that same downward spiral can happen in any organisation, leaving leaders/managers watching helplessly.
If you or colleagues need a short guide to the basics of Systems Thinking, Systems Thinking for Curious Managers is the ideal place to start. [Use promotion code altThink to get a 20% discount any time before 23rd May.]"

"Pretty much everyone who knows the work of Russ Ackoff agrees that he offers fascinating insights into leadership, management, strategy and business.
Ackoff invites us to look at work and organisations differently, but usually avoids suggesting many practical techniques and approaches. Which is why we’ve encouraged our authors to develop and elaborate his Systems Thinking/Design Thinking approach in very practical ways.
Amongst the Triarchy books that do this best are:
If you or colleagues need clear, practical guides to applying Ackoff's Systems Thinking in practice, do have a look at any of these books. [Use promotion code altThink before 23rd May to save 20%]"

Keep an eye on myEcoCost

Project leader Rob Mostyn writes:

"We are now 7 months into the myEcoCost project. It has been quite challenging building up a momentum and aligning the thoughts of so many contributors but the progress we are making is sound and I am very pleased with the foundation work.

We have an official website now, we have completed our requirements gathering and the system architecture is starting to take very good shape. We are also starting to write papers for academic conferences later in the year.

Several weeks ago one consortium partner addressed a cleaning industry conference. The topic was about the 200 or so eco labels in use around the world and the challenge consumers face in making sense of it all. In brief he said "it isn't going to work". He went on to mention his involvement in myEcoCost and some of the big industry players expressed an immediate interest in the idea. So word is starting to get around.

It would be wrong to think of this as "our" project. With the Commission's financial support it is now a European project and I would like to express my gratitude once again to the Commission and its reviewers who rated our application so highly.

Here is an overall summary of what the project is up to:
*  The theme of the EU Commission's funding call was "Innovative resource efficient technologies, processes and services".
*  The tag line for the project is "Forming the nucleus of a novel ecological accounting system".
*  The ultimate objective of the concept is to inform individual consumers on a day-by-day basis whether they are living sustainably or not, with the intent that people will modify their consumption in order to lead one planet lifestyles.

We believe this is the beginning of society finding its way to living sustainably and ensuring there is a habitable planet for us in 500 years time. Thank you so much for your interest in it to date.

And now I have a favour to ask.

The best way to keep informed is to receive our project newsletter and so I would like to invite you to register on the website to receive it. This will keep you abreast of the achievement of the project in a more timely fashion, with a newsletter being sent every 2 months or so. It will always be brief and to the point and there is no risk of email addresses being passed on to third parties. If you go to (drop the "www." if you are on a Mac using Safari) and then click on "subscribe" in the lower right corner of the window underneath Project Newsletter. And in case you don.t want to register for yourself. you could do it for us! The more people registering for the newsletter has our dissemination statistics look that much better. ;-)"

Only a touch of summer

In 'my' England sunny days have been rare this year.  Fortunately two have fallen on a Sunday or bank holiday Monday. All gardens from Kent to Shropshire are behind what most regard as 'normal'.  A friend in Kent who records the date of his first daffodil said they were later by a month this year.   Sometimes the interactions of temperature and daylength (that can control flowering) produce effects I have not seen before - such as daffodils still flowering among the bluebells at Chirk Castle last week-end.  At Hodnet Hall a day later the lilac, rhododendrons and other flowers were further along.