Session 35 – 3rd September 2013 notes

Time: 7pm to 9pm

Venue: Friends House, 173-177 Euston Road NW1 2BJ - on the ground floor in the corridor outside the cafe


1. Round up of week's news/events - Syria (20 mins)

2. Systems Thinking with Raul Leal from UCL (80 mins)

3. Free discussion and planning for next session (20 mins)

Session 35 – 3rd September 2013 – notes

1. Syria – following the patterns in Iraq;

2. Complex to model a society. Consider all the variables which influence; what is possible? Systems thinking is not a recipe but framework to think containing a series of suggested perspectives; embraces tools to help think from different perspectives. Requires knowledge and tools to accommodate a diversity of points of view. People with different experience. Five or six perspectives – tools / methodologies. Opinions within perspectives. Focused on one objective/problem. One essential prerequisite – what is a system? it has 4 properties: more than one element, interconnections, at least one emergent property; there must be an architect. Nature is our conceptualisation of what we see – and we can be wrong – so we fix our model/representation of it. For cars there is an architect; implicit that there are boundaries. The idea of the architect is novel to UCL. Boundary is implicit but difficult to define in human systems. Complexity in human systems – soft systems thinking; identify the elements, understand the dynamics; help us control it'; hierarchical aspects of the system; life cycles, heritages and future; what can we learn from the past and how can we plan for the future; partitioning. ST portrayed as holistic thinking – another perspective. Partitioning is the opposite – not to incorporate everything – try to identify its parts. If there are three parts how do you determine what belongs where (sub-systems); super systems of which the specified system is a part. Holistic approach, partitioning; subjectivity – force oneself to take a different perspective. Designer, user, owner of brand, manufacturer, Dept of Transport; think from the others point of view. Soft systems perspective – using soft systems methodology – understanding systems containing human elements; ill-defined problem which is felt; diversity of ways to see life within it; eg. patron and servant. Complex and robust; Peter Checkland Systems thinking/ systems practice – soft skills.ST course taught three times a year to PhD students – different disciplines; using the PhD projects. Agreed to run a 7 hour course at UCL on one day in September using the land issue as the basis for the course. Date to be agreed.

Land issue; holes in Fred Harrison's thesis? Offer a language and windows where to look; make a simple model; Peter Senge, Donella Meadows; 6-7 hours; land; in September.  – after the course it would be worth reading Systems thinking/systems practice. Viable system model – recursive view. Stafford Beer worked with Allende in Chile. Platform for change; human geneticist; artist. Demonstrations against Mexican government; Shock Doctrine – applied globally; heritage – anthropology; systems.

Leadership – as children lead by parents; product of survival; 

Syria – vote; France and America; left of centre government; Occupy conflated over Syria; The Democracy Project: A History, a Crisis, a Movement by David Graeber - recommended.

A brief for the land issue – modelling is beside the point- we want to get out of it; constrain by saying what we want out of it; constrained by time? no. where do we draw the boundaries?

Next week:

International trade – trade barriers



Session 34 – 27th August 2013

Time: 7pm to 9pm

Venue: Friends House, 173-177 Euston Road NW1 2BJ - on the ground floor in the corridor outside the cafe


1. Round up of week's news/events - Syria (30 mins)

2. Help with Systems Thinking from UCL (10 mins)

3. Land, rent and wealth - analysed in Structural Thinking (60 mins)

4. Free discussion and planning for next session (20 mins)

Session 33 – 20th August 2013 - notes

* Please note earlier Time: 6pm to 8pm (for this week only because Friends House is closing early)

Venue: Friends House, 173-177 Euston Road NW1 2BJ - on the ground floor in the corridor outside the cafe


1. Round up of week's news/events (10 mins)

2. Documentation for dropbox - (10 mins)

3. Vensim model of land values - per the Duelling loops videos (1 hour)

4. Free discussion - (30 mins)

5. AOB and planning for next session (10 mins)

NB. Tuesday 17th September 2013 - Linda Kaucher will be coming to talk about international trade, employment, housing and immigration.

Session 33 on 20th August 2013 - notes

1. Balcombe protest split in two – hijacked by the global warming movement. Caroline Lucas arrested for not moving from the road. Passing Clouds: Reinvestigate 9/11. Princess Diana reinvestigation. GCHQ smashing Guardian computers – Edward Snowden. Global Risks Report from the World Economic Forum. Sports – not taxed on advertising revenue. Human rights not extended to finance. 

2. All documents to Alex to be uploaded and then Clive/Alex will organise the links to the materials. Cards. Need to think about system to organise documents – future meeting. Alex2 Twitter and Facebook. 

3. Discussion on how to develop a model of the appropriation of land and consequences. Images of the diagrams were emailed to members of the group for people to work at getting them into a Vensim model. Prerequisite for participation: watch the twelve Duelling loops videos and read Donella Meadows on LeveragePoints.

4. Next week we will continue the development of the models for the new economy.

Review session on Tuesday 11th December 2012

Time: 7pm to 9pm

Venue: Friends Meeting House, 173-177 Euston Road NW1 2BJ - on the ground floor in the corridor outside the cafe



1. Review to date - actions outstanding on materials

2. A new economy

3. Modules for next year:


GMO foods and pharmaceuticals



4. AOB

Year 2 will start on Tuesday 8th January 2013 - same time, same place.