Roger Harnden
520, Allerton Road
Allerton, LIVERPOOL L18 9UY
rogerh@nascentform.com
Participant
Brown Purple
Critic
Gold Black

After completing secondary education, Roger spent the next fifteen years in various activities, including a lengthy spell as a carpenter/erector in the heavy construction industry.

In 1980 he decided to return to full-time education, which led to a degree in the School of Independent Studies at Lancaster University. It was during this time that he was able to gain a more interdisciplinary understanding, and began to pick up some of the insights from the systems and cybernetics tradition. Working under the supervision of Peter Checkland, Roger looked at the emancipatory claims for systems approaches in management science, from the perspective of ideas in anthropology, history of science and radical philosophy. He was also introduced to contemporary work in second-order cybernetics.

After graduating in 1985, Roger gained a place at Aston Business School, where, supervised by Raul Espejo he attempted to synthesise first and second order cybernetics, largely focusing on the ideas of Stafford Beer and Humberto Maturana. He took as his context for the predominantly theoretical thesis, the imminent arrival of a global and ubiquitous communication infrastructure.

Roger gained his doctorate in 1989, and started working with Denis Adams at the then Liverpool Polytechnic, as part of an initiative to establish Liverpool as a centre for systems-oriented management studies. In the course of this work, he began a collaboration with Roy Stringer on the development of digital materials enable distance teaching and learning. This helped establish the Liverpool John Moores University's Learning Methods Unit under its director, Peter Fowler.

One of the outcomes of this period was the development of 'Theseus' model for complex information delivered over a digital medium, as well as the building of concrete products, such as the 'Cytofocus' Laserdisk.

As a result of the success of 'Cytofocus', the university decided to set up a commercial company to further develop content for digital platforms, and in 1995, both Roy and Roger became founding members of Amaze Limited. Following an MBO in 1997, Roger was a main board member and Development Director, conceptualising and building graphical user interfaces and navigation methodologies derived from a non-page metaphor, for example, variations of the icosahedron as used by Stafford Beer in the team syntegration process.

In May 2000, Roger, together with Roy, left Amaze to establish 'Emergent Form', a company dedicated to explore and build products that better exploit the novel potential of the Internet and future broad-band delivery.