The Rules Have all Changed!
...or have they?

1. Soft Systems Interactive Tutorial - Click Here
2. Introduction to Systems Thinking - Click Here

1. Soft Systems Interactive Tutorial

Following last year's session and delegate feedback, we are pleased to offer our full day soft systems session.

Soft Systems Methodology (SSM) is an approach to organisational process modelling that can be used both for general problem solving and in the management of change. SSM is a powerful method for analysing  a wide variety of organisational situations, which are seen to be problematic, capable of improvement, or worthy of investigation. It accepts that individuals associated with the situation, (stakeholders) may have a variety of perceptions about what contributes to the situation and what constitutes improvement. SSM is able to accommodate perceptions within the analysis phase of the total process. This variable (i.e. multiple perceptions of stakeholders) is a feature of all organisation-based problem situations yet SSM is the only approach to business analysis that makes intentional use of ‘perceptions’ in a way that is totally explicit and, hence, defensible.

SSM is not a ‘standard’ approach to business analysis, but a methodology with a degree of flexibility to match the variety in the situations it is applied to. It actually uses its own set of concepts as a means of tailoring the ‘approach to be adopted’ to the unique situation being faced.

SSM, derived from 30 years research & experiential learning and grounded in systems theory, has emerged as a highly practical way of analysing, and tackling complex organisational situations.

Soft Systems Methodology relies on 2 distinctions - WHAT’ an organisation does and HOW it does it. The second is the distinction between the REAL WORLD (in which an organisation exists) and the intellectual processes of THINKING ABOUT THE REAL WORLD.

Structure of the Tutorial:

- Group experience in SSM - Overview of SSM basic principles
  - Group participative work - Feedback on Group activity
  - Overview of advanced concepts - Further Group participative work
  -Feedback on group activity - Discussion & roundup session

Brian Wilson will lead the event, assisted by Geoff Hunt. Following a career in nuclear power engineering and control system design, Brian was a founder member of the Dept. of Systems Engineering at the University of Lancaster. During his time at the University he was involved in the development of SSM. He has 40 years of experience of tackling organisation-based problems of various kinds and, he has undertaken projects in the Pharmaceutical industry, The Met. Office, The Office of Government Commerce, (OGC), The M.O.D., the Police, the N.H.S. and a variety of other organisations in both the private and public sector.

2. Introduction to Systems Thinking 

This fun and interactive, introductory session will look at effective leadership based on the management philosophy of Dr W Edwards Deming. We’ll briefly cover Deming’s System of Profound Knowledge (SoPK), and his 14 points for management. We will also take part in The Red Bead Experiment (what the world class Japanese companies did in applying the System of Profound Knowledge).

Nigel Clements is your session leader. He is a member of the Deming Forum team & brings a wealth of experience and examples to this session. Nigel will confront some of the idiocies of modern management and explore a more effective way of leading. During this session, we will challenge current practices, have fun learning and consider what to stop & what to start doing to improve our organisations.


  • A brief history
  • The Experiment on the Red Beads
  • The System of Profound Knowledge
  • Dr Deming’s 14 Points for Management
  • Video - “Doctor’s Orders”
  • Deming on the world today


  • Course workbook
  • Selection of Deming A5 booklets
  • Deeper understanding of philosophy to help your learning at our annual forum
  • Great networking and learning with others who want to change

Thanks to the following sponsors for 2009:

Process Management International
Flying Pixel
In2 thinking Network
Saffron consulting
Alliance of Deming Consutlants
Breakthrough systems
Deming Learning Network
Touchpoint Change

Tony Heald

Forker Partners
Papagei Design
W Edwards deming Institute