The University of Hull

Staffordian Syntegration

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Denis Adams

Infoset Member

Name: Denis Adams
Telephone: +44 (0)1352 740067


Studied mathematics and statistics at University of Wales, inspired by an interest in measuring and predicting sport performance including my own involvement in athletics, swimming and betting on horses.

Became the first OR/statistican to be employed in the production end of Lever Bros. (Unilever Group) in 1962. Applications included:

  • Design of measurement systems and indices for use in monitoring and audit.
  • Understanding process variability, and explaining product quality drivers.
  • A systems view of the total supply chain; we produced most of our own crises.
  • Development of a ‘new approach to management’ based on low tech real-time information and realignment of communication flows; application to three business divisions produced dramatic and unforeseen results - ‘look no hands’, everybody is happy except for the accountants.

Then a top consultancy company was hired using a dumb approach, so I left in 1968.

Stafford’s Decision and Control arrived during my resignation period. WOW. There was a science behind what I had been doing - cybernetics. I had been redesigning homeostatic loops using statistical filters and had produced algedonic systems, but from first principles.

I joined Liverpool Polytechnic (now Liverpool John Moores University) with the aim of demonstrating science in action rather than just a theoretical approach to stats /OR. I created an OR Group that serviced courses across the whole Polytechnic. The Group developed on the basis of an integrated approach to professional practice, research and education delivery.

A high proportion of my teaching became geared to facilitating people in the use Stafford’s ideas but didn’t meet the maestro until 1980. I had the privilege of hugging, listening, eating, drinking and laughing with him for over 20 years.

During this time the gang at JMU supported and managed a number of events for Stafford; the Masterclass, the Requiem exhibition, Festschrift presentation, honorary awards, workshops, video tape products and courses.

After taking early retirement from JMU and starting a new business, applying my horse racing decision support system has become more important in increasing my freedom to help people on the basis of their need rather than my income.

My current interests include:

  • Collating the principles that Stafford used to produce his insights (For example, in ‘I am the Emperor – and I Want Dumplings’ Stafford says ‘I have taught myself how to see’),
  • Managing the woodland at home with the guidance of the Forestry Commission for Wales,
  • and trying to find the winner of the next horse race.

This Web-site was developed by Ian Perry.