I first became aware of Stafford while studying for my Ph.D. My Ph.D. was on Centralised v Decentralised Control of Economics, in particular the comparison of distributed market based control and centralised socialist control. Stafford’s work was highly appropriate to this in three ways. First his work in Chile was directly relevant. Second the two processes I was studying in a comparative way were arguably both viable systems so his diagnostic and analytical tools were highly relevant. Thirdly for my own simulation modelling of the situation I used a genetic algorithm. The model this used had to be able to evolve with distribution managed either by price competition or by centralised quantitatively based direction. To construct this model I needed to have a value free abstraction of the control system concerned and again Stafford’s work proved relevant.
I then drifted away from this area of work though I did sustain a commitment to a multi-disciplinary general systems evolutionary perspective in all my work. I was involved occasionally in simulation in this period of my life which was spent at the National Police Staff College of the UK. My work there included the creation of an interactive simulation of a police force over a five year period. Again Stafford’s work proved relevant. I then started running interactive events based partially on Stafford’s ideas but mostly on John Warfield’s Interpretive Structural Modelling methodology which I could use working on my own in away that not possible with Team Syntegrity.
I continued studying systems issues and eventually joined the International Society for the Systems Sciences where again I ran into Stafford’s ideas. Most strongly this was through Allena Leonard from whom I learned about Team Syntegrity.
At his time I began working for Cranfield University in its School of Defence Management at the UK Defence Academy where I took my interest in Systems matter even further. Command and control and the use of information and feedback are a keep element of military thinking. Eventually through Allena I met Stafford Beer himself at the ISSS conference in Toronto.
More recently I have agreed to take up a six monthly annual appointment at the Graduate School of Management at the Australian National University in Canberra. This involves running a programme for Senior Australian Civil Servants on what we in Britain call “Joined Up Government” and the study tour that is part of that programme is to involve Canada and the UK. I have enlisted the assistance of Allena on this and intend the students who come on it to have a briefing in Toronto on Team Syntegrity and to consider its effectiveness in generating a meaningful multi-departmental view of policy issues, for example with respect to the environment.
My current research agenda is the study of the Global System currently emerging its governance, distribution and rewards systems particularly as it effects the security of humanity and individual human beings.