Time travel to the pioneers of Systemic Consulting

On 4th of October 2018 Stefan Blachfellner, BCSSS Managing Director, followed a personal invitation by the trainconsulting directors, who for the organisations 30th anniversary organized the Systemicum 2018.

The Systemicum gathered executives, advisors and stakeholders for systemic thinking, in order to get familiar with the systemic consulting landscape of Vienna and its approach. Looking back at the beginnings of systemic work as well as interpreting current developments regarding systems were main program points of the event.

One part of the event was the examination of the systemic organisation consultancy. One basis of the paradigm in systemic consulting of organizations is Niklas Luhmann’s theory of social systems. Regarding technical systems the point of departure lies within the General Systems Theory of Ludwig von Bertalanffy from 1969. Meetings that were organized on the foundation of Bertlanffy’s work brought together notable representatives, like Margaret Mead, a cultural anthropologist who also was president of the ISSS in 1972; Heinz von Foerster, a biophysicist and also former president of the ISSS (1976); Ross Ashby, psychiatric and pioneer in the field of cybernetics, ISSS president from 1962 to 1964; and the mathematicians John von Neumann and Norbert Wiener – the latter being the founding father of the scientific field of cybernetics.

It was Stafford Beer, a consultant and university professor from Great Britain, who transferred the questions, methods and perceptions of cybernetics to the nature of organizations and, thus, coined the term “Management Cybernetics”. Beer’s findings also were the foundation of Fredmund Malik’s book „Strategy for Managing Complex Systems: A Contribution to Management Cybernetics for Evolutionary Systems” (1984).

The Systemicum 2018 was a time travel to the foundation of systemic management and its early representatives. The anniversary was used, furthermore, to integrate executives, advisors and stakeholders for Systems Thinking in the development of strategies for current challenges in society, organisations and management. Stefan interacted in the interesting event and used the meeting to deepen the contact with qualified systemic organisation representatives.

This article has been written by Marina Naomi Noack | BCSSS

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