Basic Notions – Disturbance or Perturbation

Basic Notions - Disturbance

Basic Notions – Disturbance or Perturbation Adding to the complexity of the example depicted above, should forces change their directions or magnitudes in a way that the total sum is not zero, the system will experience disturbance (or perturbation) and moves out of its original equilibrium state. In our example, let’s assume the addition of […]

Basic Notions – Variety and the Law of Requisite Variety

Basic Notions - Variety

Basic Notions – Variety and the Law of Requisite Variety To control—or manage[1]— anything, there is a need for something to measure it with; so as to control complexity, we need a measure to understand the size of a given complex situation. In Cybernetics, Ashby[2] introduces the concept of variety: “The number of possible distinct […]

Basic Notions – Feedback Loops

Basic Notions - Feedback Loops

Basic Notions – Feedback Loops For any control to happen, the system needs to have some sort of a sensor to detect, encode, and feed information from the environment or system itself into the system, some form of logic to process the information and compare it against a set of parameters (i.e., goals, targets) and […]

Basic Notions – Control

Basic Notions - Control

Basic Notions – Control Stafford Beer asserts that “control is an attribute of a system”[1], whereby identifying a system to be “in control” means that “it is ultra-stable: capable of adapting smoothly to unpredicted change.”[2] In other words, a system in control can maintain its equilibrium state, adapting to unpredicted changes. It follows that if […]

Basic Notions – Equilibrium

Basic Notions - Equilibrium

Basic Notions – Equilibrium Tapping into physics and Newton’s first law of motion, we know that “an object at rest will stay at rest, and an object in motion will stay in motion unless acted on by a net external force.” Therefore, as long as the forces imposed on an object cancel each other out, […]

Basic Notions – Cybernetics

Basic Notions - Cybernetics

Basic Notions – Cybernetics The distinguished mathematician Norbert Wiener[1] coined the word Cybernetics from Greek κυβερνητική (kybernētikḗ), from Latin gubernātor, meaning helmsperson, steersperson, or pilot, as steering a boat, the helmsperson looks towards a goal and battling the wind and waves, they continuously course-correct until they reach the destination, so is Cybernetics: “The science of […]

Basic Notions – System

Basic Notions - System

Basic Notions – System The eminent cybernetician Stafford Beer defines a system as “anything that consists of parts connected together.”[1] George Klir[2] also says that “the term ‘system’ stands, in general, for a set of some things and a relation among things.” Therefore, for something to be identified as a system, there needs to be […]

The Viable System Model – Part 4

Too close a view may interfere with one’s grasp of an overall problem or concept. Stafford Beer System 4 – Forward Planning, The External Eye With Systems 2 and 3, the organization will have stabilized and optimized operations (System 1). However, the environment is changing all the time, and each wave of change brings multitude […]

The Viable System Model – Part 3

If cybernetics is the science of control, management is the profession of control. Stafford Beer The design of a Viable System is not hierarchical and is not authoritative. Senior manager’s role is defined as a ‘Service Provider’ rather than a point of authority; and there is a very good reason for that: Laws of Variety. It […]

The Viable System Model – Part 2

Science has sought the ultimate source of energy in the physics of the sun itself . . . the hydrogen-helium fusion. Science now seeks the ultimate source of control, in the cybernetics of natural processes . . . the brain itself. Cybernetics and Management, Stafford Beer, 1959 ​Multiple Processes As an organization grows in complexity […]