Planning method – Syntegration

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Very interesting work about new tool which claims to produce best possible results when working with a large group. As author states – “Highly pragmatic and innovative tool for knowledge sharing, consensus building and conflict resolution whenever a large number of people is involved: in business, in politics and in every societal body, panel or committee.” Link to original – http://www.jucs.org/jukm_0_1/stafford_beers_syntegration_as/nittbaurb.pdf

Syntegration – idea looks good although it is not crystal clear for me how exactly everything is happening when according roles people must be in several places.

Quotes from article

… control in a system can only be obtained if the variety of the controller is at least as great as the variety of the system to be controlled

Organizations of any kind face an extremely high internal and external complexity which they need to manage in order to survive in their specific competitive environment.

… by integrating the knowledge and experience of these specialists in a way that they can network into one large biological brain, the necessary variety is being assembled that is required in order to manage complex organizations in their complex environments.

…Each participant is being assigned Member in two Topic Teams, Critic in two other Topic Teams and Observer in up to four more Topic Teams.

… reverberation ensures that every thought, every new idea, is being transferred automatically to all other Topic Teams via the short term memory of the participants

… by integrating the knowledge and experience of these specialists in a way that they can network into one large biological brain, the necessary variety is being assembled that is required in order to manage complex organizations in their complex environments.

… the participants must be selected very carefully: Whom do we need for knowledge generation (the experts) and whom do we need for the implementation of the actions proposed (the “drivers”).

Work Abstract

Over some forty years, Stafford Beer (1926 – 2002) has published a steady stream of seminal books and papers in which he has applied cybernetic science to organizational problems. In all of these he has explained underlying principles and developed new theories and recorded a great variety of practical applications. In his last book, published in 1994 [Beer, 1994b] he presents a cybernetic approach to knowledge management within large groups of about 30 people, called Syntegration®. Syntegration is a structured, non-hierarchical process for highly effective and efficient dialogue that leads to much faster, much more informed outcomes and aligns people behind the resulting decisions, messages and action plans with a high chance for implementation. Since its invention this powerful method has been very successfully applied more then 200 times in the organization of normative, directional, and strategic planning, and other creative decision processes. The underlying model is a regular icosahedron. This has 30 struts, each of which represents a person. Each of the 12 edges represents a topic that is being discussed. An internal network of interactions is created by a set of iterative protocols. A group organized like this is an ultimate statement of participatory democracy, since each role is indistinguishable from any other. There is no hierarchy, no top, no bottom, no sideways. Beer illustrates how continued dynamic interaction between persons causes ideas and resolutions to hum around the sphere, which reverberates into a kind of group consciousness. Mathematical analysis of the structure shows how the process is determined by the even spread of synergy. The aim of this article is to present to managers and their advisors a new planning method that captures the native genius of the organization in a non-political and non-hierarchical way. That produces the best possible results in the shortest possible time from the largest possible number of people, by making optimized use of the knowledge these people have. Knowledge management at its best.

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