Tuesday, January 13, 2004

Engineering - System Viability and Governance

There is an notion of system viability that owes much to Stafford Beer. Some great engineers around the world including Bill Livingstone have used the concept as part of an engineering synthesis that wants to understand whether a complex system will meet its goals. Most analysis of the potential for failure is, precisely, analytic and concerned to understand the parts of a system rather than a synthesis that looks to understand whole system behaviour.

To start this discussion going we can look at the application of such systemic understanding to the very pressing problem of governance. Are these techniques able to say something useful about the present and future state of an organisation that present approaches to regulation can never do?