Stafford's Work

Metaphorum 2022 – Act to live! Viability in times of uncertainty

  1. Home
  2. /
  3. Events
  4. /
  5. Conferences
  6. /
  7. Metaphorum 2022 – ...

14th Metaphorum Conference

2022, Leuven, Belgium, 10-12 June

All problems, whether they are regarded as problems of recognition, or classification, or indeed decision, are problems about uncertainty. 

Stafford Beer


Welcome one and all.

In this conference, we explored the many and various ways in which Stafford’s ideas can help to address the exploding uncertainty of emerging social and business landscapes. We focused on examples of innovative action research developing Beer’s theory and tools and critically reflecting on effective practice. 

For the first time, we introduced participatory design. We asked for your views on the most interesting talks and gave more time to those which are the most popular. Everyone who registers was asked to vote in the spring.

View Recordings and Presentation Files


The 14th Metaphorum conference will take place in De Hoorn Conference Centre in Leuven1 

Five facts about Leuven:
Home of the world’s largest brewery group
The world’s longest bar
The world’s oldest Catholic university (est. 1425)
One of the largest preserved beguinages
Leuven is the European Capital of Innovation 2020

Watch Leuven in motion, 3 min video.

, Belgium. Leuven is a 15min train or drive from the Brussels Airport.

Address: Sluisstraat 79, 3000 Leuven.

Getting to Leuven

Coming by plane

Brussels Airport Zaventem

The best way to reach Leuven is by train. It takes 15 min. The train station is located directly under the departures and arrivals halls, at level -1. The platform is easily reached by lift or escalator. You can purchase train tickets from a machine, from a service desk or via a mobile app (Andorid | iOS). We recommend you the last option. It will also make it easier to find the right train because for all of them Leuven is a stop, not an end destination.

When you reach Leuven, you need to go out towards the centre of the city and that means from the side of the station building. Then, if you are joining the pre-conference dinner, the restaurant De Klimop is just on the square across the station. To reach the Novotel, once you are out of the station, you need to turn right and walk straight for about 700m.

Charleroi Aiport

There are shuttles to Brussels South Station (Zuid | Midi) and from there you need to take a local train to Leuven. See above for information concerning tickets.

Coming by train

If you come by train from London or Paris you’ll arrive at the Brussels South Station (Zuid | Midi). From other places, the train to Belgium stops at the Brussels Central station which is a bit closer to Leuven.

Coming by car

If you don’t have parking at your hotel, we recommend parking De Bond, under the train station. There is also parking near the conference venue, Vaartkom, (6EUR/day).

In Leuven

Everything in Leuven is easy to reach by foot. This is the second-best means of transport after cycling. The conference location is easy to reach by foot from the station and any hotel inside the city. If you are staying at the recommended hotel, Novotel, you can reach the conference venue  in less than 15 min.

  1. Train Station
  2. Novotel 
  3. Restaurant “De Klimop” (Friday evening)
  4. Conference venue “De Hoorn” (Saturday, Sunday)



About Viability (keynote)

If death is equifinal and functional what is the meaning of viability?

Luc Hoebeke


Humanity and the Purpose of the Earth’s Life-Support System: The Need for a Global Participatory Dialog Evolving the Ecosystem of Myths

J. Walker, B. Clemson, Hans-Peter Plag

Humanity has reengineered many of the crucial ecological systems that constitute the Earth’s life-support system (ELSS) rendering it increasingly unable to fulfill its divine purpose: sustaining life on the planet.

POSIWID tells us that by changing what these systems actually do, the purpose of these systems has also changed into a human-defined purpose: to create and polarise human wealth.
The underlying ecosystem of myths (EOM) used to justify this purpose explains much of Stafford’s statement “Man is a prisoner of his own way of thinking”. We argue that a prerequisite for tackling humanity’s existential challenges is the evolution of a new EOM that respects the de facto purpose of the ELSS. For this evolution, a global participatory dialog is needed.
In an effort to foster the emergence of a new EOM, we are developing the novel social media platform Place4Us that can host a global ecosystem of Virtual Community Centres (VCCs). VCCs aid the collaborative work of single initiatives and integrate them into a network of VCCs. The new platform PalaverZ enables a global participatory dialog about the new EOM and aims to bring in the young generations (in particular, Gen-Z). MyRivers promotes and nurtures a recursive approach to governance based on watersheds.

These platforms are governed by the communities and individuals using them and they foster the urgently needed collaboration towards building socio-economic and governance systems based on the new EOM.

Developing the VSM

Jonathan Huxley

Since Stafford Beer developed the VSM there has been little progress with the concepts of the VSM and it has remained firmly embedded in Management Cybernetics.

This presentation uses Spencer-Browns Laws of Form, Maturana and Varela’s concept of autopoiesis, Luhmann’s Systems Theory, Pask’s, Conversation Theory, Enactivism, Social Psychology and concepts of emotions and meaning to expand the VSM in an attempt to provide a more integrated methodology for understanding systems.

The discussion will show how the combined concepts above enable an observer to analyse a wide range of real world systems from politics, philosophy and literature to art.

VSM Application Research: The Assessment of the First Axiom of Management

Martin Pfiffner

The application of the VSM can be done in numerous different ways. And the problems one envisages when applying the model to actual organizations are numerous too – and they are tricky.
Angus Jenkinson, Angela Espinosa, John Walker, Jose Perez Rios, Steven Brewis and I have started a VSM Application Research group one year ago. Speakers will be the whole group.
We would like to share our current questions (the assessment of Staffords First Axiom of Management) and insights with others and offer participation in enlarging a VSM Application Research community.

Sensing viability

Peter Tuddenham

An invitation to build upon the VSM by co-exploring the possibilities of additional sensing pathways and systemic information flows and signals based on the human body. Stafford Beer said to Angela Espinosa in Toronto that the work of Candace Pert described in her book Molecules of Emotion was the next step in evolving the VSM. I am also interested in water in the body as an information pathway through the fascia layers. Other signaling through vibrations and sounds will also be included in the coexploration.

Assessing Organisational Resilience with the VSM: A UK Health Trust’s case study during the Covid19 Pandemic

Angela Espinosa

While using the VSM for assessing organisational resilience and performance has been one of the strengths of VSM application research, it is less common to see examples of assessing an organisation during times of extreme uncertainty or crisis, such as those experienced during the Covid19 pandemics. This presentation reflects on a recent application of the VSM to analyse the performance of an English Health Trust (EHT) during the first two waves of the pandemic. It used the initial stages of the Self-transformation methodology to facilitate analysis of the evolving organisation and the dynamics it went through to manage the crisis. It reviews the organisational adaptations put in place to address the challenges of the pandemics, as well as the emergency command structure used to address the emergency. Based on extensive evidence from interviews, participatory workshops, and a survey, it concludes that a more distributed command structure could have been more effective in dealing with the crisis than the one used nationally by the NHS. The case study contributes to previous research on using the VSM to support the management of crises, a field now urgently requiring further developments.

The Emergence of a Knowledge Environment Digital Transformations

Erdelina Kurti, Sadaf Salavati

The mission of universities is to drive sustainable development and change in the society. The university in this study is aiming to fulfil this mission through strategic initiatives in form of Knowledge Environments, as interdisciplinary platforms to connect research, education, and collaboration. One of these recently established knowledge environments is the Digital Transformation Knowledge Environment (DT-KE), which aims to identify, understand, and address the opportunities and challenges transpiring from digital transformation.

As digital transformation is an ongoing complex journey, it is important to ensure the long-term resilience of the DT-KE to continuously deal with these challenges. This study aims to shed light on how DT-KE can grow into a sustainable and resilient knowledge environment, by applying systems thinking ideas and methods. Through interviews with main stakeholders, we have so far illustrated the current situation with the Rich Picture technique and identified a number of challenges and differing worldviews. As the next step, we aim to apply VSM for designing how such initiatives such as DT-KE can become resilient organizations.

How to design Autopoiesis in Organizations – a translation from cell biology to business

Clemens Dachs

The session explains the mechanisms that allow a cell to grow. It provides a detailed functional translation from molecular biology to business, and proposes a model with a specific system dynamic and system architecture. This model can be linked to many known methods from lean and agile toolboxes.

The Emergence of a Knowledge Environment Digital Transformations

John Taborda Giraldo, Katharine Nora Farrell,2 and Samuel Prieto

Colombia is one of the countries with the greatest biocultural diversity in the world. This biocultural heritage offers many opportunities in tourism, however, the communities settled in these territories are not benefiting, therefore it is necessary to move towards more innovative, viable and sustainable schemes. Universidad del Magdalena has seriously committed to develop as a more systemic and sustainable organization and a 4th generation university, by using the VSM and Team Syntegrity – among other systemic approaches. For the previous four years the Planning Office has developed participatory planning events during which they have agreed with all Faculties on the university their vision and research strategy for the next decade: ‘to develop the biocultural campus of the University as a regional innovation hub in sustainability’. This model based on Innovation HUBs is closely connected with the main ecosystems of the Magdalena department such as the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, Ciénaga Grande de Santa Marta, the Caribbean Sea, and the Magdalena River. Currently, this systemic conception is being shared with rural communities in a couple of projects financed by SGR (AvenHub Magdalena and PEEIS) to promote self-governance schemes of biocultural heritage and sustainable and responsible community tourism models.

The Diagnosis and Design of Complexity for Water Governance

Juliana Alves

Despite numerous efforts to promote and implement more integrated approaches, problems of multi-level governance persist and compromise the sustainability of water resources in Brazil. This research presents an approach to guide the diagnosis and design of complex adaptive systems: a context-sensitive assessment of water governance at various levels. Combined with the specifications of a management process change, it fills the theoretical and methodological gaps observed between centralized and hierarchical forms of water resources management. It also addresses the urgent demand for recursively distributed structures, which use vertical and horizontal coordination as a primary alignment mechanism, suitable for dealing with the environmental complexity inherent to River Basin Organizations (RBOs). The approach aims to address challenges identified in the application of the formal institutional framework of Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) and in the practice of water governance, combining the positivist and interpretivist traditions for the diagnosis, design and analysis of the Viable System Model (VSM) in the Formoso River Basin. The focus is on the processes of implementing the formal institutional framework of IWRM at a regional and local scale and its incorporation into a multi-level water governance system in a broader environmental and social context.

Afro-community environmental governance in Islas del Rosario, Cartagena: an ethnographic approach using V&S theory

Carlos Andres, Duran Bernal

In this session I will present the results of a Viability and Sustainability (V&S) case-study developed with PhD Angela Espinosa, about community environmental governance of the afro-colombian Orika Community Council (OCC) in the context of a marine protected area at Islas del Rosario (Cartagena, Colombia). An ethnographic action research was applied to diagnose CCO’s VSM (Espinosa & Walker, 2017, Espinosa & Walker, 2006; Espinosa & Walker, 2013; Hilder, 2005) and, using the V&S methodology to support self-transformation (Espinosa & Walker, 2017), organizational adjustment proposals were presented to the OCC to face the challenge of implementing a co-management model at the Corales del Rosario and San Bernardo National Park (CCRSBNP). As a result, I will introduce some insights of V&S analysis of ethnic organizations that face environmental governance challenges and the presentation of some methodological lessons of applying ethnographic action research when developing VSM analysis at a community level.

Using Markov Chain Monte Carlo Modelling with the VSM to manage a COVID outbreak

Jonathan Huxley

During the COVID 19 pandemic the slow reaction of many governments and organisations to respond to the virus, and their difficulty in managing the epidemic can be possibly attributed to several factors, namely; their inability to assess the threat, a powerlessness to adapt quickly, a lack of readily available alternative mechanisms to lockdown, an over centralized system of governance utilising one-size-fits all solutions, a lack of local control (autonomy) and a reluctance to take drastic measures because they are unable, or fear, the consequences.

Humans find it difficult to assess non-linear growth, put simply, they do not see it is coming. Many organisations also lack the ability to adapt quickly when it does arrive, either because they are based on a strict hierarchy, are overly centralised, have an inflexible culture or because they lack the resources and will to change. These organisations will struggle to maintain themselves against a dynamic threat like COVID-19.

This presentation demonstrates a COVID-19 SIMULATOR as a deterministic model of the internal impact of the virus on a small organisation based on a Markov Chain transition of probabilities between Personnel, Spaces and Capability, using a process adapted from Complex Adaptive Systems (CAS) (Holland, 2006) known as Agent Based Modelling (ABM). It is used in conjunction with Stafford Beer’s Viable Systems Model (Beer, 1979, 1972) as the management system. The simulation provides a proactive means of assessing risk and developing strategies against the disease while maintaining organisational viability that should help small organisations cope with the epidemic.

The Revitalising of Syntegration

Ian Kendrick

We live in an age of planetary crises generated by our own behaviour. The complexity and resulting uncertainty with which we must interact is generated by the unprecedented and ever increasing levels of connection available to us. All of this was foreseen – and yet we find ourselves in this situation.

Stafford and his colleagues sought to bring ways of working with this complexity in coherent and effective ways, based on natural principles. The VSM identifies the needed homeostat between System 3 “inside and now” and System 4 “outside and then”. It is the core dilemma we face, every day, individually and collectively. We have to do both at the same time if we are to maintain our co-evolving structural coupling with nature. Stafford identified the vital need for a “massive interaction” between these two systemic behaviours. Syntegration was developed to address how such interactions may take place. We know that the VSM and Syntegration work, it is proven over and over.

And yet… 

Syntegration has not been widely adopted. Over the past few months a group of Metaphorum members, experienced in Syntegration and related areas, has convened to surface and explore the key question “Why has it not achieved full scale adoption?”, followed by “What should and can we do to address this, starting here and starting now?”.

Ian will explore the results of this work on behalf of the group with an invitation to work together further to address these two questions. An open working session on Day Two will help us to do just that, together.


Luc Hoebeke

Luc Hoebeke (°1941) has studied electronic and nuclear engineering at the University Leuven (Belgium).

His interest for complexity and diversity made him work on several boundaries: between cultures, between disciplines, between academia and practice, between science, art and religion.

He worked as manager, consultant and trainer internationally for governments, for the profit- and not for profit sector, and for NGO’s.

He collaborated with Universities : in Spain, the Netherlands, South Africa, in the design of the curricula and in their realization.

He is an active member of Metaphorum.

He has written down his experiences in many articles in four different languages and in a book : Making Work Systems Better: a practitioner’s reflections (Wiley 1994).

Angela Espinosa

Dr Espinosa has been an international leader in developing Organisational Cybernetics, a theory for effective organisation pioneered by Professor Stafford Beer. She worked closely with S Beer and funded and co-led the Metaphorum, an NGO to develop his legacy, when he passed away in 2002. She has advised governments, businesses, and communities in more effective ways of self-organising and being socially and environmentally responsible in several countries in Latin America, the United Kingdom and Europe. She has published extensively books, research monographs, book chapters and papers on applications and developments of Beer’s theory (the Viable System Model). She has got several international awards, has been an Invited Professor in several universities worldwide, and is now an Emeritus Fellow from the Centre for Systems Studies at the University of Hull.

Barry A Clemson

I am a scientist, novelist, activist, and carpenter. I spent 18 years in university research and teaching with a focus on organizational learning. I was active in the American society for Cybernetics and the old Society for General Systems Theory. Stafford Beer was my primary intellectual mentor.

I also owned a small construction company, did large-scale software development (mainly tools for automating software development), and was a monk for three years with the Ecumenical Institute (community development in India and Chicago). In 1964-65 I worked on voter registration as part of the Mississippi Freedom Summer.

My 1984 book, Cybernetics: A New Management Tool, was commissioned as an Introduction to Stafford Beer’s management cybernetics. I am currently preparing a PDF version of the book.

My novel, Denmark Rising, explores the conflict between Denmark and Hitler’s Nazis from the perspective of a Denmark that had carefully prepared to nonviolently resist the Nazis. The usual reader reaction is about like this: “I had no idea nonviolence could be used against a Hitler”.

I grew up in Alaska, initially 20 miles from the nearest road, and I still have this rather unrealistic self-image of myself as a mountain man. My wife, Pastor Dr. Mary Clemson, keeps me grounded. We have more grandchildren and great-grandchildren than I can keep track of.

  • I am currently very busy doing things that I love, specifically:Administrator for the small church where Mary is the Pastor.
  • Planning and design of a largely self-sufficient ecovillage on 84 acres in south-central Alaska.
  • Trying to save our planetary nest from the excesses of the human race
  • Working in my vegetable garden

I am an incurable optimist which is why, against all the evidence, I still work to save the Earth’s Life-support system.

Jon Walker

Dr Jon Walker has over thirty-five years experience working in the co-operative business sector. He has established and co-managed a range of businesses including retail outlets, a small-scale manufacturing plant, a warehouse and a chain of supermarkets dealing mainly with whole-food, organic and fairly-traded products. Concurrently, Jon has lectured, published, consulted and provided training courses in both private and public sectors, on complexity theory and organisational structures.

In particular Jon has pioneered the use of innovative organisational techniques known as the Viable Systems Model, in both large cooperatives and an eco-community. The resulting organisational changes have resulted in working practices which are both efficient whilst at the same time being based on principles of participation and individual creativity and autonomy. His book A Complexity Approach to Sustainability, co-authored with Angela Espinosa. Is now on the second edition

Jon is based in Yorkshire, UK, where he continues to have direct involvement with the co-operative food sector there, in particular in developing food networks that serve local communities. Nationally, he is working with the Transition Network, the Permaculture Association and the Cooperative Group. Internationally he has consulted and run workshops for 4 Universities in Colombia, in Cuba, in Spain, Oman, Romania and for the Government of Victoria, Australia. In 2021 he worked with the UK Health Service to apply the Viable Systems Model in the context of the Covid epidemic.

Peter D. Tuddenham

Peter D. Tuddenham is the President of the College of Exploration (TCOE) , a not-for-profit global online learning organization he co-founded in Virginia USA in  1991.  He is Past President of the International Society for the Systems Sciences (2018-2019) and a trustee of the American Society for Cybernetics. He is a co-founder and director of the European Marine Science Educators Association based in Belgium. He is Managing Director of CoExploration Limited in Dorset, England.   As President of TCOE he leads several initiatives to create and support organizations, networks and learning experiences for all ages that build whole systems approaches and appreciations to issues such as global ocean literacy and global systems literacy. TCOE conducts organization, program and project evaluations using developmental approaches. Current activities include encouraging transdisciplinary approaches for business, government, education and the broader civil society to address complex issues. The focus is on building collaborative actions to encourage innovation, change and transformations.  Current research interests include innovative governance processes and structures, systems literacy, water literacy, and healing with sound.  He has a BS in Business Administration from Regis University in Denver, Colorado, studied on a Ph.D. program with Bela Banathy at Saybrook University, and after high school was commissioned into the British Army from the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, England UK. He is a Member of the Institution of Royal Engineers.

Hans-Peter Plag

After some years as carpenter, Hans-Peter Plag studied mathematics and geophysics in Berlin, where he obtained a doctor degree in Natural Sciences in 1988. Since then, he held positions at universities and research institutes in Germany, the U.K., Norway, the USA, and South Africa. Since 2013, he is a professor at the Department of Ocean and Earth Sciences and since 2014 the founding Director of the Mitigation and Adaptation Research Institute (MARI) at Old Dominion University (ODU), Norfolk, Virginia, USA. At ODU he developed an educational program in Sustainability and Conservation Leadership that combines experiental learning with a transdisciplinary approach to real-world wicked problems. His main fields of expertise are in sustainability, conservation, modern global change and catastrophic Anthropocene risks, Earth system dynamics, solid Earth geophysics, and space geodesy. Many of his current professional activities are related to the Group on Earth Observations (GEO) and the implementation of the Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS). Most recently, he is engaged in the development of novel collaborative social media platforms that are mission-based and support virtual communities aiming to address the global challenges humanity is facing.

Juliana Mariano Alves

I am a professor at the State University of Tocantins/Brazil (UNITINS), based in Palmas. My professional journey has been dedicated to executing rural development and common resources governance projects in the North of Brazil. More recently, I have also researched on Organizational Cybernetics applied to the decentralization of Environmental Policies Tocantins/Brazil. Since 2022, I represent UNITINS in the ABC Plan Management Group for low carbon agriculture. Between 2013-2017, I provided consulting services to the Brazilian Ministry of Environment and the Interamerican Institute of Cooperation for Agriculture, while developing policies for family farming in the states of Tocantins, Piauí and Pará. In 2018, I received the West Churchman Memorial Prize, awarded by the Brazilian Congress of Systems. The award allowed me to work as a research assistant at University of St. Gallen/Switzerland, and collaborate with the Institute for Management and Strategy (IfB) and at the Centro Latino Americano Suizo (CLS). Currently, I am working with the Center for development and evaluation of environmental performance (NUDAM). As coordinator, I’ve been actively participating in consultative and deliberative public decision-making instances in the state of Tocantins. In this context, I investigate polycentric systems of governance and I have been exploring paths to improve the vertical and horizontal coordination of the multilevel governance of common resources. I am also organizing the 17th Brazilian System Conference, that will take place on NOV/2022 and will address the topic: Cibernetics of sustainability: design, tranformation and learning. I am confident that my participation in Metaphorum will be an opportunity to expand and improve the work dedicated to the continuity of Stafford Beer’s ideas and ideals in Brazil.

Martin Pfiffner

Martin Pfiffner (1965) lives in Switzerland with his wife and daughter. After studying economics at the University of St. Gallen HSG, he earned his doctorate in systems-oriented management with Prof. Dr. Fredmund Malik (management) and Prof. Dr. Peter Gross (sociology). Later he complemented his education by studying management cybernetics with Prof. Sc. D. Dr. h.c. mult. Stafford Beer.

From 1990 to 2012, Pfiffner worked as a management consultant for the Management Zentrum St. Gallen under the direction of Fredmund Malik. He was responsible for the development of management cybernetics with a focus on the application development of the Viable System Model (VSM) and the dissemination of Syntegration in Europe. In this function he was Managing Director of Team Syntegrity Europe AG (1998-2006), Vice President of Team Syntegrity International AG (2000-2012), Head of the Innovation Group Management Cybernetics, Bionics and Systemics (2006-2012), Trustee of the International Bionics Center IBZ in Munich/Germany (2007-2011), Member of the Executive Board of the MZSG Group (2007-2009) and Member of the Board of Directors of Malik International AG (2009-2012).

Between 2013 and 2016 he owned a SKEMA martial arts school and acted there as a trainer as well as president of the SKEMA association Switzerland. He continued studying management cybernetics and publishing about his experiences in the implementation of the VSM in enterprises.
Martin Pfiffner together with friends established 2017 the Fondation Oroborus, based in Switzerland. The foundation disseminates applied management cybernetics in the form of commercial consulting activities for business and non-business, through its participation in international research projects and through publications. Today he is a member of the foundation board and still works as top management consultant, speaker, publisher and researcher.
He still practices martial arts and plays the guitar in an alternative-rock band.

Erdelina Kurti

Erdelina Kurti is a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Informatics at Linnaeus University. She is a member of the Linnaeus University Systems Thinking Community (LNU-STC), which brings together active researchers who utilize systems thinking in dealing with complexity. Erdelina is currently a member of the operational group of Linnaeus University Knowledge Environment – Digital Transformation. Her research interests are within digital innovation and transformation, data driven business models and systems thinking as a prolific approach in addressing opportunities, challenges, and complexity of the digital innovation process. Erdelina also teaches several courses in the masters of information systems and is actively involved in the supervision of bachelor and master theses.  


Sadaf Salavati

Sadaf Salavati holds a PhD in Computer and Information Systems from Linnaeus University.

Sadaf’s interest lies in Systems Thinking, primarily Soft Systems Thinking. She is the lead contact person for the Linnaeus University Systems Community (LNU-STC). Sadaf teaches in the undergraduate programs at the Department of Informatics. She also teaches courses at undergraduate and advanced level in Systems Thinking for professionals.

Sadaf has been involved in several research projects and has also worked administratively, have had shared program coordinator responsibility and worked with course and program development.


Jonathan Huxley

Jonathan Huxley has been at sea for 47 years of which 25 have been in command. During his career he has worked in a wide variety of theatres from the Mediterranean, South Atlantic, Gulf, Sierra Leone, Far East, Australasia, Caribbean, Antarctic and Artic as well as regular operations in the North Atlantic, Europe and UK waters. Undertaking amphibious, afloat support, maritime security, defence engagement, MCM support, aviation support, submarine support, OMAR and special operations.
He has commanded a wide variety of ships of all types from Fleet Tankers, Ammunition and Stores ships, Amphibious Ships, ROROs, Passenger ships and Mine Warfare Support Ships.

He is a qualified Master Mariner and has qualifications for; Royal Navy Specialist Navigation (SpecN), Navigation and Ship-handling Instructor, SRN4 Hovercraft Navigator, Advanced Polar Operations, Helicopter Controller, Flight Deck Officer and FLYCO Officer. He holds a degree in Mathematics and a PhD in Systems Thinking and specialises in the behaviour of groups and change management.
As well as command at sea Capt Huxley has undertaken shore appointments as a Navigating/Ship-handling/Seamanship Instructor at Flag Officer Sea Training, Operations Manager for the RFA Flotilla and two periods as a Strategic Change Manager in MoD and Navy Command, developing and introducing new manning, pay, operational and HR systems.

He has applied Stafford Beer’s Viable Systems Model to achieve practical results in change management and day to day operations, including development of an enterprise solution to shipboard management, and he has used the concepts of viability to help develop manning solutions and organisational decision-making processes.

Ian Kendrick

Ian has worked with the VSM and Syntegration since the mid 1990s. He specialises in facilitating teams to help them work together to develop and deliver strategic innovation from inception to growth in turbulent environments.

Ian is a co-founder of H3Uni and of Bounce Beyond. Ian also works as an independent consultant, as a senior advisor, mentor and manager at not for profit organisations in the UK. He has occupied CEO and VP roles in organisations focused on innovation and change.

He teaches on topics as diverse as strategic thinking, viability, organisational cybernetics, future thinking, perception, the use of mental models, innovation development and adoption, and storytelling.

Ian has passion for purposing education for a very different emerging future. As a father and grandfather, for Ian the core dilemma we must all address is and working together in the present to build a future that is truly viable for all. For us to address Jonas Salk’s big question “Are we being good ancestors?”.


There are plenty of accommodation options in Leuven. An excellent combination in terms of price, quality, and proximity is Novotel Leuven. Accommodation is also offered at the conference venue, De Hoorn


Due to the inevitable uncertainty with Covid19 and vaccines, we are asking everyone who intends to attend, to register their interest now without paying the conference fee. Payment will be asked once we have more confidence that everyone can travel and that the conference can go ahead in June. The Fee will be £125. 

If there is a problem and the conference has to be delayed, we will inform everyone as soon as we know, and reschedule the conference, probably at the same venue in Leuven, later in the year.

The £125 covers the venue for all day Saturday and Sunday. We will find another venue for Friday night. Sandwiches are provided on Saturday, but we will all need to buy the other meals and teas and coffees which will be available at the venue.

[maxbutton id=”1″ ]