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2016-11-08 - #054

A Unified Sustainability Management System based on  the Viable System Model

The presenter for this, our 54th monthly meeting, was Dr. Panagiotis Panagiotakopoulos.  Logistics for this meeting is posted here in LinkedIn.  Any member of the LinkedIn group is welcome to join.

(For the 1 hour prior to this talk any members interested in continuing the discussion on the future direction and governance for this group, started during our October meeting, is welcome to join us - details posted here in LinkedIn)

Based on his PhD and more than a decade of practical experience, most recently at Eco-Ethonomics, Panagiotis will be presenting his application of the Viable System Model toward a unified Sustainability Management System. Understanding what makes a sustainable management system viable is an important perspective on this group's work on all aspects of Strongly Sustainable business models.

To introduce his talk Panagiotis said:

In 1972, Stafford Beer, founder of the Management Cybernetics discipline, developed the Viable System Model (VSM). This model emerged in the course of his work to design and implement a highly adaptive cybernetic system sufficient for coordinating the operation of Chile’s national economy. Inspired by the human nervous system, the Viable System Model applies Ross Ashby’s, “Law of Requisite Variety” as well as recursive structures and processes, to produce a compact and highly expressive model for reasoning about the health of organisations – organisations of virtually any size or level of complexity.

In my research and practice, I use VSM to develop an integrated view of three ISO sustainability standards (14001, 14044 & 26000) to showcase the power and potential of the VSM in studying and addressing organisational sustainability. In my presentation, I will discuss the application of the Viable System Model toward a unified Sustainability Management System.

A VSM View of Three ISO Standards

The agenda and F2F/virtual logistics for this meeting are posted to our LinkedIn forum here.  

Anyone who joins the LinkedIn forum is considered a member of this group and is welcome to join at the meeting.


The slides presented plus a link to the unedited recording of this meeting is available via our drop box.  Please contact Prof. Nabil Harfoush for access.

The link to the recording is posted as a comment to the Linkedin Post about this meeting, along with discussion about the meeting by our members.

Attendance list (if a location is provided participant was remote)
  • Part 1
    • Antony Upward (SSBMG co-founder, Convener Flourishing Business Innovation Toolkit project)
    • Nabil Harfoush (SSBMG Convener, Prof, OCADU Strategic Foresight and Innovation)
    • Kelly Okumura - Gooder Goods
    • Doug Worts - Worldview Consulting
    • Charlottee Young - EnVision Synergy
    • Bill Craig - Edmonton - Genuine Wealth
    • Florian Lüdeke-Freund - University of Hamburg
    • Peter Jones - OCADU University, Strategic Innovation Lab
    • Randy Sa'd - REFOCUS on Sustainability
    • Stephen Davies - OCADU Strategic Innovation Lab
  • Part 2
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