veryard projects - innovation for demanding change

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This page covers people who are currently active, or who were active in the past 100 years For earlier influences (including Chinese, Greek, Roman and Mediaeval thinkers), please go to the Historical Page.


Christopher Alexander  - pioneer of design patterns and a novel approach to planning


Gregory Bateson - master of paradox
Stafford Beer - mapper of viable systems
Albert Borgmann - deep and unusual insights into technology
Stewart Brand - change how you think about architecture and time


Jacques Derrida - master of deconstruction


Jon Elster
Milton Erikson - a hypnotherapist who has profoundly influenced change management 


Michel Foucault - master of discourse


Larry Hirschhorn - change how you think about organizations and boundaries


Kevin Kelly - change how you think about systems and control


Jacques Lacan - French psychoanalyst
Imre Lakatos - brilliant analysis of proofs and refutations
Bruno Latour - places science and technology into their social context


Peter Marris - good insights on social change
Humberto Maturana
Lewis Mumford - one of the great writers on society and technology


Barry Palmer


Francisco Varela
Sir Geoffrey Vickers - a wise and reflective man of affairs who had a profound influence on systems thinking and practice


Karl Weick - change how you think about organizations and change
Jerry Weinberg

veryard projects - innovation for demanding change

Stewart Brand

veryard projects > people > Stewart Brand

Former editor of Whole Earth Review.

Author of an outstanding book on architecture: How Buildings Learn, from which we take the notion of Shearing Layers.
how buildings learn Stewart Brand, How Buildings Learn: What Happens After They’re Built. Viking 1994. In this detailed and well-illustrated book, Brand shows how buildings adapt to changing requirements over long periods.  The book inspired a 6-part TV series by the BBC. (Comments critical of the architect Lord Rogers have been removed from the British edition.  Despite this, Brand himself, in a comment on the website, recommends the British edition.) 

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Milton Erikson

veryard projects > people > Milton Erikson

Milton Erikson was a remarkable hypnotherapist. His style and techniques were a significant influence on NeuroLinguistic Programming, as well as other schools of Change Management.

On this website, we refer to his technique of prescribing the symptom and reframing, and his treatment of resistance.

The best account of his work is probably Uncommon Therapy by Jay Haley (an associate of Gregory Bateson).

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veryard projects - innovation for demanding change

Kevin Kelly

veryard projects > people > Kevin Kelly

Former editor of Whole Earth Review and Wired Magazine.

Has written some excellent books, which document and synthesize some important social and technical developments.
Books Kevin Kelly. Out of Control: The New Biology of Machines, Social Systems and the Economic World. UK edition is published by Fourth Estate, London, 1994.

Out of Control is a wide-ranging and excellently researched compendium of large complex systems. Kelly has found interesting parallels between a variety of disciplines, from biology to computer science, and from mathematics to government. Kelly ends with what he calls The Nine Laws of God - nine principles which he claims to find in the design or growth of all large complex systems, both "natural" and "artificial".

Books Kevin Kelly. New Rules for the New Economy: 10 ways the network economy is changing everything. US edition Viking Penguin. UK edition Fourth Estate, London. 1998.

A systematic analysis of the strategies for successful business in the new world. This is the open, distributed, connected, chaotic world he described in his previous book, Out of Control.

New Rules for the New Economy is a much thinner volume than Out of Control. It explores some of the business paradoxes of the Internet, and turning the Nine Laws of God into a more practical set of rules-of-thumb for being successful in a networked world. Think of it as a pattern language for e-business.

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more Kevin Kelly's website

veryard projects - innovation for demanding change

Peter Marris

veryard projects > people > Peter Marris

Marris has spent several decades studying the ways people give meaning to their lives, especially under adversity. He is Emeritas Professor of Social Planning at UCLA.

His work on risk and uncertainty includes some good insights on Organizations that Maintain a Double Boundary.
Books Peter Marris. The Politics of Uncertainty. Routledge 1996
Marris offers an analysis of socioeconomic risk, based on a combination of Marx and Bowlby. I was carried along by his moral indignation, but I remain unconvinced by his logical argument. Nonetheless, it provides a very interesting contrast to Larry Hirschhorn's book Reworking Authority.  Chapter 7 is particularly recommended.
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Earlier books include Loss and Change, and Meaning and Action.  There is also a novel.

veryard projects - innovation for demanding change

Barry Palmer

veryard projects > people > Barry Palmer

10th November 1998. Today I attended the funeral of Barry Palmer, who died last month following a a triple heart bypass operation. We buried him in Highgate Cemetary, overlooked by the ironically twinned graves of Karl Marx and Herbert Spencer.

Barry PalmerBarry was an independent consultant and writer, with a special interest in the application of systems thinking and psychology to problems of organisational strategy, design and development. With Nano McCaughan, he wrote Systems Thinking for Harassed Managers (Karnac Books, 1994). Some of his shorter writings can be found on the Boxer Research Limited website.

I shall remember Barry for his quiet but insistent intellectual honesty and integrity, his tireless search for truth, his thoughtfulness, his evident spirituality. He remains an inspiring example, and I shall miss him.

Systems Thinking for Harassed Managers is a short and simple introduction to systems thinking, firmly embedded in the practice of management and consultancy. buy a copy - ukbuy a copy - us

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Last updated on November 15th, 2003
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