COVID19 came into our lives and challenged many of the basic foundations of the way we have lived our social and economic lives. More than ever, Stafford Beer’s theories and wisdom are urgently required to contribute to rethink and reinvent the economy and our ways of living in society. If there was ever an opportunity to ‘Ctrl- Shift society’, it has arrived now, with an even greater challenge: we now not only need to re-boot society, but also to invent a new operating system for society! We can’t go back to ‘normal’ – we need to co-create a ‘new normal’. The next 10 years are crucial for either progressing in this direction or reversing to an even more chaotic and non-resilient society and economy
It is in this context, that we have decided to create an opportunity for effective online team working, to co-design new horizons and new ways or working and relating, inspired in healthy cybernetic principles and using the best of Beer’s invention: we called it E-syn2030. A group of Metaphorum members (Allenna Leonard, David Beatty, Stephan Verveen, Peter Tuddenham, Jon Walker and Angela Espinosa) met for several months in 2020 to design an experiment to run an online event inspired in Syntegration principles, to collectively address the following question:
“How can Metaphorum and its members capture the learning from the current crisis, and best contribute in radical shifts that society have to make quickly?”
We followed details of the Syntegration protocol as described in the book: “Beyond Dispute: The Invention of Team Syntegrity” by Stafford Beer and published in 1994 by John Wiley; and built up a detailed design of the stages, based on the organizing team’s experience. The organizers are grateful and acknowledge the original work of Stafford Beer on management cybernetics and his specific work in the book Beyond Dispute and also the specific development of ideas in relation to Team Syntegrity by Professor Malik and his Company in Switzerland”
We used Zoom to hold all online meetings and conversations; and we used Miro as the whiteboard online platform, for facilitating interactive creative activity during the first stages of the experiment. We also used Sched to manage the agenda of the activities during the event, and we are using Slack to continue the conversations emerging from the infosets.
We had forty-three participants registered for E Syn 2030 (see list of participants here); a team of six facilitators (A. Leonard, D. Beatty, A. Espinosa, P.P. Cardoso, M. Vachkova, A. Martinez and L. Richter); and four logisticians (S. Verveen, P. Tuddenham, J. Walker and A. Espinosa). The welcoming event with the participants was on December the 21st 2020, when we explained the purpose, the process and the technology we were going to use. The experiment took place from January 6th to the 13th, 2021.
Even with some limitations while running the online activities, most of the sessions worked very well, from the perspective of both organisers and participants. We concluded each stage on time, managed to self-organise to decide on the twelve topics and to constitute the infoset teams. The first three days we worked both synchronically and asynchronically to decide on the most interesting topics for the participants. The last three days we developed infoset meetings for all the chosen thematic teams, and each team presented their findings and ideas in the plenary session on January the 13th.
The feedback from the participants during the plenary session was excellent. We then ran a survey which was responded to by all the participants and held a final self-assessment review event on the 29th January 2021. We reviewed opportunities for further improvements in the online protocol; and explored possibilities to develop ideas that emerged from the participants during and after the event. We have agreed to hold a monthly meeting on the last Thursday every month, from 5 -6 pm to continue exploring possibilities and projects of interest to the infoset.
There follows links to the information shared with the participants in Sched, during the event.
Background Information and FAQs
On this page we provided background information on the e-Syn2030 project and experiment, including a glossary, Frequently Asked Questions. (FAQs) and other helpful content. The page has (and will continue to be) updated as the project progresses in 2021.
1. E-Syn 2030 Introduction to the Experiment by Angela Espinosa (PDF)
2. E-syn 2030 Introduction to the Experiment by Angela Espinosa (PPTX)
3. eSyn2030 Glossary
4. Cybernetics Glossary by Allenna Leonard
5. Lottery Description
6. Lottery Spreadsheet from Jon Walker
7. eSyn Facilitator Guidance
8. eSyn Self Assessment and Action from summary meeting 29 January 2021
We have an eSyn2030 SLACK channel on the Metaphorum Slack
Please join there for additional communication channels
We have kept video and/or audio recordings of all the sessions in the experiment, to be shared with the participants. We will share in this webpage the recordings of the Opening ceremony, the Opening and the Final Plenaries, and the Self-Assessment meeting on January the 29th, 2021.
Metaphorum Facilitator Zoom training E SYN 2030
Recording of Opening Plenary Wednesday 6 January 2021
Recording of Plenary Thursday 7 January 2021
General Background Reading
Stafford Beer explains Syntegration (extract from full video linked below)
Full video Stafford Beer on Viability, Autopoiesis and Syntegration video recording in 1994 .. Syntegration as a way to strengthening the 3-4 communication. Discussion about Syntegration starts at around the 32-minute mark.
This event is an action research experiment. We aimed to learn both about the designed protocol and the experience of the participants during the event. We run two surveys, on pre-event and one post-event: see results below.
During the event we also created a Zoom room called the Curiosity/Discovery Lab and invited people interested to join an ongoing conversation reflecting on:
- The e-protocol: What worked? What improvements can we make? What else could we investigate?
- Learning Journey Learning about & understanding the personal & inter-personal relationships, reverberations created on-line.
We also created an eSyn2030 Curiosity Lab channel on Slack, which is still opened to participants.