The Metaphorum Group

Developing Stafford Beer's Legacy in Management Cybernetics

Our Origin

viable syntegration

Last updated 20th. November 2009

SPIN i.m. SB
From the Cottage

be still and know

Thanks to Harry and Simon Beer

"The Chronicles of Wizard Prang" by Stafford Beer with illustrations by Vanilla Beer.

A Wizard of a philosophical turn of mind who lives in a cottage in Wales discusses pranayama, the sentience of stones (a topic much favoured by those of a theoretical turn of mind), pomposity and the purposes of systems that educate to starve, devastate and kill. White wine (who could this fellow be?), the value of criticism and a rather doubtful discussion of gravity or was it gravitas. So enter Magician Logician, do I know this man?- was I his assistant for many years? And what's behind all this tomfoolery with Fibonacci (decent chap modelled rabbit populations not unlike Lord May). Uh where's my messed up experiment- a collapsed straw icosahedron, a very pert golden section orthogonal triple and a Borromean ring. Ah business as usual, turn on the current and another tree grows. The wisdom of knowing it- that liquids may not (be ?) matter but circularity is it! (This almost makes sense in precis.) Now back to ego and assertion: cereal (of toast and rice) seriality?- of guru and sishyah. Bogus questions. Energy and Information- a nod at noise and could it be concurrence? The great thing about thinking is Spells on a computer...

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"Think before you think: Social Complexity and Knowledge of Knowing"

An Anthology of Stafford Beer's writings
edited by David Whittaker
Foreword by Brian Eno

Cover of Think before you Think

From Wavestone Press: Stafford Beer (1926-2002) was one of the foremost holistic thinkers of the last fifty years. He pioneered the application of cybernetics to understanding all complex dynamic systems.

This is a new anthology of his writings, many of which have not been published before. The book also contains a generous selection of his poetry and paintings showing how aesthetics complemented his scientific rigour.

In addition to Beer's account of his work for President Allende in Chile, published here for the first time is his unfinished autobiography.

A chronology of his life is illustrated with many photographs never seen in print before.

This stylish book brings a fresh perspective to the man and his work.

The musician Brian Eno has contributed a foreword confirming the importance of Beer's ideas for his own experiments in the recording studio.

Also see 'Stafford Beer: A Personal Memoir' in the books section.

384 pages including 16 in colour. ISBN: 9780954519469 £20 (£3 postage for single book inland). Contact David for postage rates and information on trade and institutional terms. Payment can be made from anywhere in the world through PayPal, or by sterling cheque.

Journal of Systematic Practice and Action Research: Papers from Metaphorum 2008

We are pleased to announce this Special Issue of SPAR, edited by Allenna and Angela, is in press. Contents include:

  • Allenna Leonard "The Viable System Model and its Application to Complex Organizations".
  • Steve Morlidge "Money, Time and Variety Engineering: the application of cybernetics to the diagnosis and design of Financial Performance Management Systems".
  • Russell Clemens "Applying the VSM to Environmental Scanning and Foresight Development: A system 4 Perspective on the Meta-system Communication Dynamics for Success".
  • Kathryn Knowles and A. Espinosa "Reviewing the Tragedy of the Commons through an understanding of Informal Communication Networks".
  • Michelle Watts "Collaborative implementation network structures: Cultural tourism implementation".
  • Stephen Harwood "The changing structural dynamics of the Scottish tourism industry examined using Stafford Beer's VSM".
  • Research Note: Stefan Wasilewski "Emergence of Viable Businesses from a Complex Economic Landscape in the Banking and Insurance Industries".
  • Book Reviews:

    "Diagnostico y Diseno de Organizaciones Viables: Un enfoque Sistemico" by Jose Perez Rios. Review from Markus Schwaninger

    "The Viability of Societies: Governance and Complexity Today" by Paul A. Stokes. Review from A. Leonard

    "The Fractal Organisation: creating sustainable organisations with the Viable System Model" by P. Hoverstadt. Review from R. Asby

    "Governance: Systemic Foundation and Framework" by Ralf-Eckhard Turke. Review from A. Espinosa.

The Saturday Group: report

After the second Cwarel Isaf Conference, held at Malik MZSG (March 19th-20th 2009), the group met to discuss the realization of the "Cybernetic Revolution". The Report is by Allenna and Angela.

Action Research and Organizational Cybernetics- Metaphorum 2008 Conference Report

Download a short report of the Conference by Dr Allenna Leonard and Dr Angela Espinosa. A further report is in preparation on the third day Vester Sensitivity model workshop.

Register now on the Metaphorum Membership List

After registration you will have access to the membership list with contact details (email, at least), language skills, university affiliations, websites and as much of your personal profile as you want to share. Register now.

Angela, Allenna and Ian write.

To join or search the separate Metaphorum email list server click here.

Metaphorum 2008 at Hull University Business School "Action Research and Organisational Cybernetics"

Programme, short CVs and abstracts from speakers. Download in .doc format.

Support document for the Dijkstra and Brewis session from the U.S. Office of Aviation Research Air Carrier Operations Model.


Monday 30th June
9:30 - 10:15Registration and Coffee
10:15 - 10:35 amOpening and introductionsProf. Mike Jackson, A. Espinosa & R. HarndenWelcome
10:35 am - 12:05 pmAction Research in Business and Management I (Chair A Espinosa)Luc Hoebeke (20 mins) Learning the VSM-language from experience, not from the classroom
Steve Morlidge (20 mins) Money, Time and Variety Engineering: the application of cybernetics to the diagnosis and design of Financial Performance Management Systems
Stefan Wasilewski (20 mins) Emergence of Viable Businesses from a Complex Economic Landscape in the Banking and Insurance Industries
Discussion 30 mins
12:05 am � 1:05 pmOrganisational Cybernetics in Education and Learning (Chair A Leonard) Robin Asby Penny Marrington (20 min) Education and learning: creating the autonomous survivor?
Mark Johnson (20 mins) The Viable System Model, Learners and self-efficacy
Discussion (20 mins)
2:00- 3:40 pmComplexity and Sustainability (Chair R Harnden) Angela Espinosa (10 mins)Complexity Management and Sustainability: Research Approaches and ongoing Projects
Russell Clemens (20 mins) Applying the VSM to Environmental Scanning and Foresight Development: A system Four Perspective on the Meta-system Communication Dynamics involved in Success
Discussion 30 mins
Pedro P. Cardoso (15 mins) Self organisation in community regeneration
Kathryn Knowles (15 mins) A Cybernetic Approach to Environmental Management Systems and the Engagement of an Organization's Culture
Discussion 40 mins
3:40�3:55 pmCoffee Break
3:55- 5:30 pmCybernetics, Science and PhilosophyJavier Livas The Kubernetes Universe � Film and discussion
Tuesday July 1st
9:00 � 10:00 amGlobal, national and regional Governance (Chair � R. Harnden) Leonie Solomons (Workshop 1 hour) Governance Issues in Sri Lanka, A Cybernetic Diagnosis and Solution 'Process': Workshop
10:00-11.00 amMichelle Watts (20 mins) Collaborative implementation network structures: Cultural tourism implementation in an English seaside context
Jon Walker (20 mins) A Global Meta-system for a Viable Planet
Discussion 20 mins
11:00- 11:20 amCoffee Break
11:20 - 12:20 pmMethods and Tools I (Chair: L Hoebeke)Arthur Dijkstra & Steve Brewis (Workshop 1 hour)Workshop: VSM Modelling of an airline organisation. Aim: to assign system 1s of the generic airline model. Download the ACOS Model
12:20 - 1:20 pmLunch & AskOpportunities for students to question experienced practitioners at designated tables
1:20- 2:20pmMethods and Tools II (Chair: L Hoebeke)Gabrielle Harrer (20 mins) Systemic and cybernetic planning and management with the Sensitivity Model of Prof. Vester
Mari Runardotter (20 mins) Organizational Issues for Digital Preservation
Discussion 20 mins
2:20 - 3.10 pmConflict resolution (Chair A. Leonard)Dennis Finlayson (Workshop 40 mins)A 'Soft' approach to 'environmental conflict resolution' and other community action research situations: A case study on the Amnesty Group in Arauca, Colombia
3:10 - 3.30 pmCoffee Break
3.30 � 5:30 pmAllenna Leonard & Angela Espinosa Workshop: Metaphorum as a learning community
Hull Business School Derwent Building

Seminar Room 5 (SR5) �all talks/ workshops

Seminar Room 3 (SR3) � break out discussion groups

Download Agenda in .doc format.

30th June to 1st July 2008. £50 including lunches and coffee breaks. The organizers particulary invite more junior researchers (e.g. postgraduate students) wishing to demonstrate the focus and direction of their research. Full announcement. Further details: Booking forms for University accomodation at Ferens Avenue and Salmon Grove. An additional note from Angela and Roger requesting registration by June 18th (fees payable at Conference).

Systemic, cybernetic planning and management with Prof. Vester's "Sensitivity Model®"

Wednesday July 2nd Workshop Training

Gabriele Harrer 9:30 am � 4:00 pm
Seminar Room LT3

Hands on Training with the biocybernetic instrumentarium "Sensitivity Model Prof. Vester®" and its computerized system tools on complex problems of economic and political planning and management.

  1. Introduction to Frederic Vester's system oriented approach to tackle complexity.
  2. Practical examples of System Studies, carried out with the Sensitivity Model (e.g.Management, Regional- and Traffic Planning, Social Systems)
  3. Experiencing a first practical example and the nine recursive steps of a System Study by building up a preliminary model (Subject Choice of Participants).
    • System Description
    • Distinguishing variables
    • Criteria matrix
    • Interaction in the Cross-impact-matrix
    • Cybernetic interpretation
    • Visualization and feedback cycle analysis
    • Partial scenario development and "If-Then" questions
    • Transparent and fuzzy simulation
    • Biocybernetic evaluation and development of sustainable solutions

Gabriele Harrer was for many years project manager and research associate of Prof Vester. Since 2006 he has continued his work with Malik MZSG.

Announcement from Angela Espinosa with notes on travel.

The PeacePointe Summit September 10-12

This event is the climax of PEACEPOINTE 2008 September 1st-17th in Stavanger, Norway. This year's core themes:

  1. Facing the Climate Challenge
  2. 9-11: What Has Been Done Since and What Still Has to Be Done?
  3. Media�s Dual Role: Conflict Solver and Conflict Driver

Five Nobel Peace Prize winners will be participating. Contact our member Dr.David Beatty who is co-organising. Further details: The Peace Point Offer, PeacePonte 2008

1st Stafford Spirit Seminar: How to make use of Stafford Beer's legacy in co-operating for our future?

Mid Sweden University, Östersund, Sweden, August 7th-8th, 2008. Speaker abstracts submission deadline is July 1st. Contact Professor Stig C Holmberg. Conference flyer and further details at Conference website.

Sustaining Organizations in Complex Environments

This is a free, EPSRC Emergence and Complexity funded, one day workshop at Hull University Business School on May 14th 2008. Speakers include Professor Ralph D. Stacey, University of Hertfordshire; Elizabeth McMillan, co-founder of the Innovation, Knowledge and Development Research Centre, Open University; Professor Terry Porter , Maine Business School, University of Maine; Dr Angela Espinosa, Centre for Systems Studies,The University of Hull. Further details.

1st Cwarel Isaf Conference

Malik MZSG invited the world's leading management cyberneticians to a two day meeting in St Gallen. Short report from The Cybernetics Society.

Flores, Maturana and Espejo at Cybersyn in Berlin

At the Transmediale 08 conference in Berlin one session was on the "Chilean Network Experience": Project Cybersyn. Professor Raul Espejo has pictures and a short account at Syncho, his consultancy website. Thanks to Leonid Ototsky.

Managing Organization Development in Information Society- Call for Papers

Our member Professor Czeslaw Mesjasz of Crackow University of Economics announces this forthcoming event for 10th- 13th September 2008 in Polanczyk, Poland.

Topics include development of R&D strategy, competition�strategy, flexible�manufacturing�systems�and�logistics,� innovations�and�intellectual�capital�management,�organizational�structures, social�potential�and�competences�management, management�information�systems, information�management�and�e�business. Details. Booking form.

Photos from the Cybersyn installation at ZKM Karlsruhe

At the "YOU_ser. The Century of the Consumer" exhibition Enrique Rivera views his installation of a recreation of one of the seven famous management chairs with Professor Raul Espejo, who was the Cybersyn project manager, from the forthcoming CyberSyn exhibit in Chile.

One of the seven project chairs showing the icon pad.

Raul Espejo and Enrique Rivera at the exhibition.

After almost 35 years Raul sits in a Cybersyn chair again.

More pictures from Leonid Ototsky's group. Wikipedia on Project Cybersyn.

Video of Stafford Talking at Manchester Business School on Project Cybersyn (click on single red triangle at bottom right of the cluster). Short video reminiscences from Fernando Flores, Roberto Cañete, Humberto Maturana, Angel Parra and Raul Espejo.

YouTube video of Cybersyn installation.

Metaphorum meeting at CASS Business Centre

Angela Espinosa and Roger Harnden write:

Dear All,

Several of us met in London in July to consider the communication means open to Metaphorum (Alfredo Moscardini, Nick Green, Paul Stokes, Clive Holtham, Luc Hoebeck, Roger Harnden and Angela Espinosa �with Jose Perez-Rios at distance). We had a useful discussion about the different mechanisms available, as well as ways to coordinate them. Download a summary of the meeting.

We'll communicate soon more news on plans for next year's Conference. If anyone else knows about possible interest from an institution to sponsor the Syntegration, we are still open to suggestions. Also if anyone wants to help its organisation please contact us as soon as possible, as we'll be defining the organising team in the next few weeks.

Angela & Roger 12/10/07

March 9th and 10th 2007, University of St Gallen, Switzerland

Metaphorum 2007 Conference Report
Dr Allena Leonard and Dr Angela Espinosa on Metaphorum 2007

Papers and slides from:

Further papers, long and short abstracts.

Professor Dr Fredmund Malik: The way forward

Prof Malik describes his milestone work in the production of the VSM Management Control Room and its application. Download video (.wmv format 49'22'') from the St. Gallen conference. Please excuse the technical shortcomings of the recording.

Dr Karl-Heinz Oeller: Effective Management of Complexity

Dr Oeller, Zentrum Management Board member, talks about the Operations Room and its cybernetic constraints (the four screens, averages destroy varety, the need for alarms (algedonic alerting), the management cockpit, step, slope changes etc). Download video (.wmv format 30'29"). Again apologies, the recording is of poor quality.

Malik Management Zentrum website.

Evolution from and development of the work of Stafford Beer

The Fourth Metaphorum Conference

March 9-10 2007


New Developments of Organizational Cybernetics after Stafford Beer

Metaphorum held its 2007 annual conference at the Waaghaus of St Gallen, Switzerland, March 9th and 10th.

The previous Metaphorum Conferences have revolved around issues of Governance, Society, Enterprise Tools and Approaches, with the focus primarily on current applications. This year we wish to highlight new directions and developments.

The goal of the conference is to push the boundaries of the original work, to explore, disseminate innovative approaches, methodologies and tools, as well as share insight from current research projects in Organizational Cybernetics.

There will be keynotes conveying the international dimension, as well as presentations of individual research. These will be the trigger for discussions to which more space will be dedicated than usual. Professor Markus Schwaninger from The University of St Gallen will host the Conference.

Full details of both agenda and methodology will be provided once we have received proposals from interested participants.


For registration please contact:

Geraldine Frey

Institute of Management

University of St. Gallen

Dufourstrasse 40A

CH-9000 St. Gallen

Phone: (+41) 71 224 39 15

Fax: (+41) 71 224 23 55


For any further (logistic) details on the conference, please communicate to:

Ralf-Eckhard Türke (

Important deadlines for presenters

January 15th, 2007: deadline for abstracts

  • March 1st, 2007: deadline for papers
  • March 9th-10th, 2007: join the conference

Please send abstracts to: and

Tentative Workshop Schedule
Thursday, March 8th

19:00Informal get-together for participants already arrived
Friday, March 9th

Time Activity
09:00 - 12:00 Papers + Discussion
14:00 - 17.30 Papers + Discussion
Ca. 19:30 Conference Dinner

Saturday, March 10th

Time Activity
08:30 - 12.30 Papers + Discussion
13:30 � 15:30 Papers + Discussion
15:30 - 16:00 Parting comments, closure

Travel and accommodation

There are direct connections from Zurich Airport to St. Gallen every 30 minutes. Ryan-air has a cheap connection to the nearby airport Friedrichshafen (FDH), Air Berlin has a cheap connect to Zurich. More information on train, bus and ferry schedules can be found at Travel is via Zurich Airport and train to St Gallen [one hour], and recommended accommodation will be two nights.

Reaching out with System Dynamics: Golden Anniversary

UK Chapter 1st & 2nd February 2007 Harrogate

2007 is the 50th anniversary of System Dynamics created by Jay Forrester at MIT. The UK chapter of the System Dynamics Society is holding its 10th annual conference at Harrogate on 1st-2nd February 2007. The theme this year is "Reaching Out with System Dynamics" and the gathering will be focusing on how System Dynamics can be used by business to engage with potential customers. In addition, we will be looking at Systems Dynamics education for both students and government ministries - reaching out to new practitioners. Further Details

Speakers include Dr Robert Thurlby on BT Business development, Michael Bean on websims, Dr Khalid Saeed on distance learning and Professor Alfredo Moscardini on recent work in Egypt.

Enterprise Tools and Approaches
The Fourth Metaphorum Conference

Liverpool John Moores University May 4th-5th 2006

This Metaphorum conference appeared to be another success for the group.

A number of papers were presented including keynotes by Raul Espejo and by Patrick Hoverstadt, and an invited paper by Neil Stewart.

These three papers differed significantly, Raul's being centred on the development of theory beyond Beer's VSM in the area of identity, Patrick's being generally reflective, and Neil�s being case study centred while introducing an element of methodological complimentarism.

The nature and relationship of these keynote/invited papers was reflected in the other presentations that were made during the two days of the conference. Together these papers will provide a useful development for the group. Some papers will be selected to appear in the journal of Organisational Transformation and Social Change. Others will likely in due course be structured into a book. Other options include listing case applications on the Metaphorum website.

During the conference two items where brought up. The first concerned the further development of Cybersyn (see below) and their success in obtaining a small amount of funding from the Chilean Government to develop the project, and the other concerned the web development of Leonid Ototsky at

A round table at the end of the conference was useful to enable discussions to develop about the theme of the conference. The VSM software developed by Jose Manuel Perez from University of Valladoloid at Platform for Change website will be made available for Metaphorum membership to use free and freely. Prof Raul Espejo's ViPlan software is available at the Syncho website.

Fourth Conference, details, abstracts and presentations with some full texts.

Chilean multimedia artists to document Project Cybersyn

Stafford in Chile brochure coverIn Chile (1970-1973) Project Cybersyn was the first attempt to apply Stafford Beer's Viable System Model to Government.

Catalina Ossa, multimedia artist, and Enrique Rivera, film maker and audiovisual artist of or_am write:

If you want to help us to develop or learn more about the Cybersyn project, we encourage you to contact us:

  • or_am lab phone: 56-2-6395679
  • cell phone: 56-9-9493368
  • e-mail Catalina:
  • e-mail Enrique:

The ops roomThe Proposal (.pdf format) seeks to contact the participants in Cybersyn, assemble graphical materials, produce animations and interviews and explain the cybernetics which drove the design in all its socio-technical dimensions. An Internet website, an hour long film documentary and a travelling exhibition will be produced. A home in La Moneda Palace, which is Chile's main government building, is proposed. The Operations Room was housed there when President Allende died in the Pinochet military coup which was "helped" by America, according to Henry Kissinger speaking on President Nixon's tapes. Sound management was seen as a threat in those days. Further brief commentary at the Cybernetics Society website.

Forthcoming Kybernetes Special double issue
Cybernetics and Government
A. Espinoza and A. Leonard (Eds)

At a recent joint conference between Metaphorum and the Cybernetics Society, (September 2004) Kybernetes offered us to develop a special issue with papers from this and last Metaphorum Conference (Sunderland, April-May 2004). We are pleased to announce that we have produced a special issue for Kybernetes (Vol 35 Nos 01/02) which is currently in press and will be published in February 2006. The papers include an array of theoretical approaches to issues related to governance as well as applications to analyse structural problems of governance and to illustrate application of these ideas in particular situations like development programs, national accounts, political stability and others. The case studies show situations in contrasting nations, like Sri Lanka, Swaziland, Ukraine, Colombia and the United Kingdom.

Some theoretical considerations are offered to understand ideas of societal identity and structure, organisational closure, political structures and media design. Illustrative cases applying Beer's ideas show a diagnosis of a national economic system, design of a peace process and implementation of socio-economic development programs. Open research paths for the re-design and implementation of multi-national programs are illustrated through analysis of current AIDS policy and structure of programmes. Also addressed are issues like the possibilities that more systemic and cybernetic approaches will offer for improvement of government control philosophy, accountability systems, education bureaucracies, and even decision making on defence technology.

Designing Governance

The Third Metaphorum Conference
VSM as a tool for effective and liberatory governance May 5th & 6th 2005
Institute for the Study of Social Change,
National University of Ireland Dublin
Belfield, Dublin 4

Dr. Paul Stokes and Dr Angela Espinosa write:

Last May 5th and 6th Metaphorum developed the conference "Designing Governance" in National University of Ireland, Dublin. Paul Stokes organized the event.

The first morning the presentations (P. Stokes, L. Hoebeck and A. Espinosa), went into theoretical aspects regarding the framework that organisational cybernetics offers to re-understand society and nation states, to understand self governed communities and to design representative democracies. The last presentation from S. Wright introduced recent research on weapons for social control and open questions on the future and ethics of such developments.

The afternoon we heard L. Solomons research on using the VSM in the Sri Lanka's peace process as well as A. Sergeyev proposal to analyse the transition to a post soviet economy in Ukraine, using the VSM to describe structural constraints and provide criteria for economic re-design. L. Ototsky send us a report on applications of the VSM in Russia's university education; R. Thomas made a critical analysis of the ideas of autonomy inherent to the VSM in comparison to other philosophical and scientific approaches to autonomy in individuals and organisations.

The second morning, E. Reynolds started with a debate on what he coined as "political physics" and reviewed some of the fundaments that he considers political practices in western countries follow, compared with more holistic principles. S. Heuer presented her work on rank abuse and her conclusions about the value that current western values attribute/deny to people according to their status. M. Yolles closed the morning presentations with his most recent research framework on Knowledge Management, explaining the epistemological differences with more traditional approaches to knowledge management.

A. Leonard started the afternoon with a reflection on issues of accountability and risk at the global level. She questioned the validity of non systemic approaches and structures operating in the international, global environment and the risks involved in not having the required tools for managing accountability of main social affairs at that level. R. Türke followed then and introduced a conceptual framework, based on cybernetic concepts on interactions and complexity management to support e-governance. The conference was closed with R. Espejo presentation of a recent application of the VSM in the nuclear waste issue, that involved participation from communities and industries in several EU countries, and showed in practice elements of what he coins as "inclusive governance".

A. Moscardini and A. Espinosa leaded there a brief overview of Metaphorum previous events and current plans. M. Yolles offered to devote a special issue of his journal Organisational Transformation and Social Change, to publish a selection of papers from this event. P. Stokes and A. Espinosa accepted to coordinate the special issue that will be coming in 2006.

Also M. Yolles offered to be the organiser of the next Metaphorum Conference in Liverpool John Moore University in April or May 2006. More news on this next conference will be announced soon.

Conference participants are reminded Prof. M Yolles offered to publish a special issue on his journal Organisational Transformation and Social Change with a selection of papers from this conference. An issue entitled "Designing Governance" has been agreed by the editorial board.

If you consider you have a paper of good academic quality to submit for this journal, we will be receiving submissions until the 1st December 2005. Over the next three weeks we will announce which papers have been accepted after peer review. In January 2006 we will announce the definite content of the issue and will ask to the selected authors to do the corrections suggested by the reviewers.

We expect the issue to be published during the first semester 2006.

Contact P. Stokes or A. Espinosa (Editors)

Stafford Beer in memoriam - "An argument of change" three decades on

Metaphorum member Rod Thomas and Nigel van Zwanenberg look at the NHS. Their Kybernetes paper is currently available for free download. Stafford's Cybernetics is applied to many of the problems that have beset NHS information management strategies: lack of operational research, problems in the commodification of information, financial scandal, and bureaucracy. The paper closes with a personal reminiscence.

Metaphorum co-sponsors ACS Conference

The Many Interpretations and Applications of Cybernetics
Washington October 27 - 30, 2005

Metaphorum is pleased to announce its co-sponsorship of the American Society for Cybernetics (ASC) 2005 Conference. This conference theme is "The Many Interpretations and Applications of Cybernetics".

Details will be posted at ACS website. Prof Stuart Umpleby will chair. Keynote speaker is Takeshi Utsumi who will describe his work on creating a global university system.

As part of our sponsorship of the conference, Metaphorum members who both attend and present papers at the ACS conference will be eligible for up to £100 contribution towards their conference fees. Please email our treasurer Leonie Solomons for further details.

Three audio files of Stafford

The Cybernetics Society has found an audio recording (1hr 27mins) of Stafford's lecture in 1990 "Forty Years in Cybernetics". This has been followed by two pieces from radio. A six minute interview with Roger Cook on his reaction to the Chilean Coup and his contribution to a Ray Gosling documentary (27 mins) on Buckminster Fuller. The recordings are of excellent quality. Inspirational. Stafford in full flow engineering a better society and with Cook lamenting the destruction of the Chilean democracy.

Fourth Conference at Liverpool John Moores University

Third Conference at University College Dublin

Metaphorum Conference with The Cybernetics Society London

First Metaphorum Colloquium at University of Sunderland

Denis Adams Rosemary Bechler, Harry Beer, Jenna Bishop, Steve Brewis, John Clarke, Wayne Conrad, Chris Cullen, Angela Espinosa, Nick Green, Roger Harnden, Brian Hilton, Patrick Hoverstadt, Mike Jackson, Allenna Leonard, Alfredo Moscardini, Annamaria Moscardini, Ian Perry, Ern Reynolds, Andrey Sergeyev, Leonie Solomons, Rod Thomas, Joe Truss, Stefan Wasilevski.

Join or leave the Listserv Metaphorum email discussion group.

Listserv archive (password required)

Register your personal profile.

The Livas videos introducing cybernetics and applications of Stafford's work

  • What is Cybernetics?
  • Management Cybernetics: The Science of Effective Organization
  • Management Cybernetics: The Law of Requisite Variety
  • Viable System Model
  • Psycho-Cybernetics and Management Cybernetics
  • Law & Cybernetics
  • Financial Crisis & Cybernetics
  • Management Cybernetics & Redesigning Government
  • Management Cybernetics: The Cybernetic State

View at Javier Livas on YouTube.


Eleven paintings of Stafford Beer at the Journal of Cybernetics and Human Knowing


Collaborative environments:

Metaphorum Wikispace

Platform for Change

The Cybernetics of Stafford Beer

Software Development:

Open Source VSM Project

VSM Consultants:

Dr Allenna Leonard

Fractal Consulting


Malik MZSG






Self Organization

Stafford Beer

Viable System Model


14th World Organistion for Systems and Cybernetics Conference next September

The next WOSC conference will be in Wroclaw, Poland September 9- 12, 2008. Further information.

The Viable System Model and its Application to Complex Organizations

Our founding member Dr Allenna Leonard gave this keynote address to the WMSCI. Full text.

Project Cybersyn

Blog in Spansish. Website for Project Cybersyn

Prague Seminar: Or_Am presented their proposals. Via Skype Leonid Ototsky gave a short paper "The Cybersyn project and the future of humankind".

Or_Am will be participating in the Transmediale.07 Festival for art and digital culture in Berlin, Jan 31 - Feb 4.

Call for Real Time

Ernst, for whom Stafford consulted, joined with the "Big Six" Accounting companies to call for real-time reporting of performance on the web to replace quarterly and annual financial reports- which the group point out "no one understands". At last. The end of corruption? The beginning of ethical development? Happy consulting! Details

Cwarel Isaf renovation is complete.

You can apply to stay in Cwarel Isaf. The price is £30.00 per night for the cottage (not per person). More details and a brochure from Cwarel Isaf team.

The Metaphorum email Listserver is now active. Contact Paul Stokes.

Prof Antonia Jones Gamma Test software for detecting non-determinism in multiple time series, prediction and neural net modelling is now available for free download. This software a novel approach to Stafford's Harrison and Stevens short term forecasting software for alerting used in Chile.

A Tutorial on the Gamma Test from Kemp et al. I.J Simulation vol6, No 1-2 pp 67-75.

"Cybernetics of Cybernetics": The classic collection of early papers and notes edited by Heinz von Foerster. All the greats contributed. Details.

Stafford's taped 1990 talk "40 Years in Cybernetics" at the Cybernetics Society

Moscardini on Metaphorum
Hoverstadt's Toolbox
Governance and Cybernetics Colloquium
Vanilla's Photoalbum