Co-ordinator = Alfonso Reyes
- It is useful to see the coupling between modelling to support the policy process
and this process as a series of learning systems. This can be represented by the
attached figure at the end of this document.
- There are double loop learning between the learning systems and between them
and the system in focus.
- Now, within the system in focus there are recursive levels, so the problem that
naturally arises is that of a balance between cohesion and autonomy in each pair
of consecutive recursion levels.
- It seems that ICT has potentially improved the possibility to do recursive
modelling allowing moving this balance towards autonomy.
- In this sense, we could formulate two possible research objectives: as the
development of the models to discover autonomy, or to distinguish the autonomies
that matter to us in the area we are defining.
- Because the modelling and policy making has been formulated now as learning
systems, it is important to realise that learning is more than increasing our
capacity to do distinctions, it is increasing our capacity to effective action.
Therefore, the models and policies produced by the policymaking have to be grounded in the structure of the system-in-focus. This is what in previous meeting
we refer to as the grounding of the informational domain of the policy and modelling domain into the operational domain of the system in focus.
- In organisations we are not closing the loop ourselves (as individuals) that is why
different people are involved in policy-making; but a structure of resources is
needed for producing effective action.
- How can we translate new distinctions into effective action? This is perhaps, one
of the most important questions of policy making.
- The current model, however, is missing four crucial aspects:
- - The System in focus is not necessarily recursive.
- - It seems important to distinguish different policies, between requirements
(orders or demands) and declarations that can increase new distinctions.
- - I don't like to see that the system in focus is something outside there. The
system in focus is embedded and embeds itself. The linearity of the diagram is
- - A necessary condition for a recursive social system is the development of
citizenship. That implies to have a structure of embedded and embedding autonomies units. We will have a recursive modelling of a recursive policy-making system.
- In this sense there is no "system in focus" out there for the policy and modelling
system. You are the systems-in-focus that is self modelling, a self policy-making.
Citizenship will reaffirm itself through the modelling exercise.
- In fact, we are differentiating between modelling and policy making in observed
systems and in observing systems.
- In the first place, notice that the system in focus does embed the policy-group; in
the second place a loop in missing from the system in focus (on the diagram) to
the modelling process to take into account the grounding of distinctions resulted
from the policy making into effective actions. And in the third place, what we
actually have in an organisation is not a clear, linear diagram form the modelling
and policy making but a recursive network of activities that includes modelling,
policy, action distributed at different levels of the organisation. This multiple
levels are lost in the linearity of the diagram.
- Why you are not just using the VSM in diagnostic mode to tackle the problem
instead of developing a new model for this process?
- Why are we being 'conclusion-led' in this group?
- The issue raised here is formalising the modelling effort enhances the organisations potentials to reflect on itself.
- Are ICT's increasing organisation's awareness about themselves; the cohesion
between autonomous recursive units.
- The diagram (including the VSM) tends to be used in a sort of "experts mode"
rather than in a people's "democratic mode". The latter is a way of unfolding the
citizenship of the system.
- In the diagram we have to make explicit the modelling of the environment and
also a model of the modelling process itself. These will make double-loop learning explicit.
- The diagram should have a multiple recursion loops connecting the modelling to
- One question we can ask is how ICT is making a non-expert modelling as a self-reflection process learning to assure effective action.
- This implies that if the modelling is not only a representation of the system in
focus but also takes into account the medium of the system in focus, we are getting in the non-experts from the community that are relevant to the outcome of
the process into the modelling and policy making process.
- Therefore, how do we transform modelling into a 'non-expert' effort whilst, at the
same time, keeping the integrity of the modelling effort?
- ICT offers a useful tool if we use it and design it in an interactive way (i.e. not
forced by technology, or in a demand way) as a conversational tool. In this sense
modelling is becoming a way to co-ordinate 'distributed dialogues'.
- The problem with experts arises when they become institutions, which assume a
monopoly over actions. This applies to experts in a modelling process and perhaps
we need to develop a different approach. We certainly need some tools, but tools
must not become institutional.
- We may synthesised the point by saying that 'experts do modelling but modelling
should produce non-expert knowledge for the operational domain. The expert needs to support the people. But notice that the citizens have knowledge that the
expert needs, so it is a two-way relationship.
- Our conclusion now is that an expert is for sensitively engender encouraging
individuals who constitute the system in focus. Not just for providing expertise.
We provide as an object of reflection a model to clearly incorporate the first
statement within it.
Working Diagram of Policy Making