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26 October 2022

If you are able to get to Brussels for Nov 9th-11th, and are interested in Systems Thinking, A Paradigm Shift in Tackling the Climate Puzzle, this workshop may interest you. All organisations face complex challenges and opportunities. Today's challenges are often created at the intersection of social, technological, environmental, economic, governance and geo-political tensions. This has led to fragmentation of policy solutions that have unintentionally imposed burdens on employers, individuals, and the environment to harm the biosphere and the communities they were meant to protect. What if these burdens were avoidable? What if governments could equip themselves with better tools to tackle complexity? What contribution would you make if YOU had access to those same tools? Why is it a core liberal interest to acquire these tools?

What to expect? This workshop takes you on the start of a professional development journey. You'll explore systems thinking, a scientific tool that helps remodel decision-making processes and tackle complex interdependent issues for sustainable viability.

Further information at: http://www.thepaddyashdownforu...

12 May 2022

Save the date - our first FIELD TRIP in a decade!

We are holding a site visit on Wednesday 22 June 2022 to Mayden Ltd, a healthcare software company that creates technology that changes what's possible for clinicians and patients. We will learn first-hand how they operate, and how their methods fit their context - and Mayden would like to learn about continual improvement.

We have only 16 places so email now to book your place.


  • The Mayden mantra is "Manage the work over managing the people". They are big on autonomy and decentralised decisions, and are light on hierarchy, placing special emphasis on their ethos.
  • They work by trust. They look after their people and they have set up an academy for software developers to bring on talent they can then hire.
  • Mayden recognise that "People are not machines" and they encourage flexible work practices, so long as production needs are met. They believe that the world needs employees who have the freedom to solve today's problems rather than being constrained by an outdated industrial paradigm.
  • Whilst Mayden is primarily a software creator using, for example, Agile principles, they do it differently from the herd.


  • A living, breathing example of a refreshingly different approach to management, pushing at the opposite edge of the spectrum from Taylor's industrial management.
  • Mayden has very few managers. They are a ‘Corporate Rebels' bucket list organisation and were inspired by Ricardo Semler of Semco.
  • About an in-house developed approach to improvement that works and is compatible with Continual Improvement.
  • The reasons that drove them to depart from industry norms, in creating local flavours of Scrum, Agile, forecasting and benefits etc.
  • How the ‘Mayden family' works ‘in the now' and not dwelling in the past.
  • How they are always learning, using a cyclical view of improvement covering estimating, planning and configuring work, and building competences
  • Why they don't copy common patterns of team structure, responsibility, resources or rewards. Having observed that many clients and peers work differently, they recently wrote a book to explain how they work (and don't see any reason to keep it a secret).


Respecting your need to travel, we envisage a 10:45 start and a finish at around 15:00. We encourage car sharing.

Mayden are located here - a few minutes from Bath Spa railway station. Drinks and a light lunch will be provided in Mayden's offices.


12 April 2022

Systems Thinking Practitioner Apprenticeship

SCiO has announced that it now has agreements in place with the apprenticeship provider Cherith Simmonds to supply suitably qualified resources for their delivery of the L7 Systems Thinking Practitioner Apprenticeship in England and to support the design and development of their programme. More details of the apprenticeship can be seen here.

SCiO will be supplying world-class systems practitioner-tutors and supporting the curriculum and approach for Cherith Simmons Learning and Development who provide the Level 7 Systems Thinking Practitioner Apprenticeship. More details can be found in the online brochure.

For those in England, this opens up the potential of this two-and-a-half year, day release, post-graduate qualification with government funding of up to £18,000 per person, fully supported by expert tutors, comprehensive learning materials, and a learning management system that actually supports learning.

If you are a contracted PAYE employee in England, you might be eligible for government funding to pay for 95% of this apprenticeship - please speak to Cherith Simmons. More information on funding is here (long) and here (short).

There are many risks and issues with professionalising a field, of which we are well aware.

  • This is a practice-based, portfolio assessed programme which draws on core systems approaches and practice skills, where you'll be supported in your job to actually put the learning into practice right away - and evaluated on how you do so, and how you build in continual learning.
  • It's been designed for practitioners by practitioners - people who have not just read a book on it, but who not only wrote the books, but more importantly, have been there, done it and know how to navigate the tensions and capitalise on the opportunities in your situation.

Please email Cherith Simmonds at if you are interested.

Other apprenticeship providers are also delivering the L7 Systems Thinking Practitioner Apprenticeship and can be found here.


31 March 2022

Deming Alliance Mentoring Programme

For ambitious and motivated individuals, who are new to leadership and management, to do the best work of their lives by understanding and applying the philosophy of Deming to their context.

  • Would you like to be a more confident and capable manager? 
  • Do you find the endless stream of management information bewildering?
  • Does leading the team seem more like a chore than a joy?
  • Do you sometimes wish you had someone, outside the world of work with whom you could ‘unpack' the challenges of the day and help make sense of them?

If the answer to any of the above is yes, then joining the programme could be what you are looking for.

Deming Alliance Associates have decades of experience in management, and as a result have built considerable skills and knowledge. We are keen to support those that want to learn and develop and are relatively new to management and leadership at this most tricky and unpredictable time by acting as mentors. We define mentoring as a long-term and evolving relationship and a means of providing support, challenge and enabling learning to one person through the guidance of another. The scope for the mentoring is the working life and professional development of the mentee. The relationships are conducted in-line with the code of ethics of an appropriate body (the EMCC) such that contracting, confidentiality, boundaries, integrity, supervision and termination etc. are all dealt with appropriately.

There is no charge for this service other than the normal Associates' fee but places on the programme are limited. If you would like to find out more, please contact: Ben Simpson:


25 March 2022

Site visit to Mayden
In May we will hold a rare and special in-person meeting, travelling to Bath (Avon) to see at first-hand Mayden, a great example of a progressive organisation in the UK. They create software and consult in the healthcare sector, creating digital technologies to help clinicians and patients achieve better outcomes - however the special Mayden flavour is applicable in many other settings and is our focus.

See this article from founder Chris May, - which tells us that the whole Mayden team operates in an innovative way, for instance running an academy to develop talent in folk they can then hire; and that they (that means everyone) strive to work by simple, people-oriented and powerful values, that echo Dr Deming's advice.

This is the first time in a decade that we have held a special site meeting, and already are sure that it will be of great value to anyone curious about how to create and grow a workplace where all staff are valued and encouraged.
So look out for an email notice bearing the date and arrangements - we sincerely hope you will join in the fun!


11 March 2022

One of our favoured speakers, Patrick Hoverstadt, has lead great workshops with us on the Systems Laws etc. And he now has a new book out - ‘The Grammar of Systems'. It's actually two short books in one, one introspective and one outward focused.

Part one is about how Systems Thinkers actually think, so its about the patterns of thinking that go on inside the head of someone doing Systems Thinking and how to learn them or develop them as a set of thinking skills. So that's the introspective bit.

Part two is about 33 Systems Laws and Principles that explain the fundamental characteristics of systems. To some extent this is the hidden knowledge of systems. Even to people who consider themselves well versed in systems some of these may well be new since many have been hidden from view for a long time. My reason for bringing them to your attention is that they are really powerful as a way to solve problems and to understand the world around us. Individually they are important, but together they tell a compelling story about how systems balance between chaos and order.

Hope you read it, hope you like it, but above all hope you use it.

Book cover   The Grammar of Systems


10 March 2022

Claudius van Wyk offers this programme of discovery, beginning on 13 March:

Participation will help unlock your innate capacity to take the quantum leap to the critical ‘process' perspective - enabling better navigation of the super-wicked ‘edge of chaos' problems-spaces as we enter the ‘Great Transition'.

Time commitment: This is a five month training program offered in a single two-hour on-line interactive session per week. The training will be offered in four semesters of four consecutive on-line sessions followed by a break of two weeks for research and application. For further details email:



7 Sep 2021

Check out the 12-Days-to-Deming free self-study course, which will help anyone interested in gaining a deeper understanding of Dr Deming's teachings.


20 Aug 2021

Dates for your diary! In addition to the 9th Nov face-to-face Deming Alliance event scheduled for 2021, we have now scheduled the Deming Alliance face-to-face meetings for the coming two years ... dates as follows ...

2022 - 3rd Feb, 29th Mar, 9th Jun, 20th Sep, and 10th Nov

2023 - 7th Feb, 30th Mar, 13th Jun, 21st Sep, and 14th Nov


18 Aug 2021

DA face-to-face events are back! We resume in Nettle Hill on Tues 9th November, and I hope that you will be able to attend. The theme for the day is Leadership in Healthcare. It promises to be a rousing return to what we have missed so much during the lockdowns, the opportunity to challenge the effectiveness of the status quo, to work together and to compare notes in friendly dialogue. There are two sessions: The Art of Rock-IT science, and then, The virtues and challenges of trusting your workforce to do the right thing.

More information at:


21 Jul 2021

Recommended reading! One of our supporters has recommended a book described as being "as stats book for everyone, with a view of many issues that should interest us, consistent with our thinking but with a useful wide view".

The book is "How to Make the World Add Up: Ten Rules for Thinking Differently About Numbers" by Tim Harford, and you may find copies on World of Books, Amazon, or alternatively by searching on eBay.


10 Nov 2020

Call for Help with Books - over the last few months the Deming Transformation Forum has received some requests for help from individuals who are eagerly trying to learn more about organisation and process improvement and Hazel Cannon has had some requests for books no longer on their shelves. If anyone is either downsizing their library, or has a spare copy, and would be happy to donate your treasured books to the next generation who do not have financial support to study, Hazel is looking in particular for two books. They are:

Don Wheeler - Making Sense of Data

Don Wheeler - Understanding Variation - the Key to Managing Chaos

    Hazel also has some interest in Peter Scholtes' books, so if you can help, please contact Hazel at or +44 (0)7831 393579. If you need your postage costs covered, please let Hazel know.


    9 Nov 2020

    Lean Improvement in Construction Talks - this online event is organised for Thurs 12 Nov 2020, 4.00-5.30PM (GMT) by the Business and Industrial Section and Quality Improvement Section of the Royal Statistical Society, and focus on Lean improvement in the construction industries and the role of ISO 18404, as well as the RSS's involvement in the scheme. Three talks will be presented, followed by a panel discussion and Q&A session.

    The need for Better Practice in Lean & Six Sigma and the RSS Scheme for ISO18404

    Professor Tony Bendell, Fellow of the RSS, Chair of Quality Improvement Section RSS

    Lean and Six Sigma methods have much to contribute to efficiency and quality across all sectors including manufacturing, service and construction but practice has been largely unregulated and of varied quality. Implementation programs have often floundered and lost their way, and in some cases the competence of so-called professionals has been questionable. For this reason, the ISO 18404 standard was developed, and the RSS took on the mantel of scheme owner, working to improve the analytical approach to process, product and service improvement globally. This talk reports progress on this to date.

    Piloting ISO18404 in the Construction Sector, an approach to business transformation

    Dr Steve Ward, Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Building

    Despite significant experience with Lean, the construction sector still fails to grasp the nettle and cannot keep up with other sector's rates of improvement. Ad hoc deployment of tools and techniques are common, but business transformations are rare. This presentation contrasts Lean Intervention with transformation and explains how ISO18404 can provide a useful roadmap for businesses seeking to embed Lean Thinking, together with a case study of the world's first business to achieve certification to the new Lean ISO18404 standard.

    Transforming from Lean ‘It's Complicated' to Lean ‘It's a Commitment' through the implementation of the ISO18404 Framework

    Stuart Anwyl, Balfour Beatty Highways

    Culture change requires care, patience, a bottomless energy source, and an iron will to succeed. Or maybe it just feels this way. The point is: culture change typically isn't greeted with open arms unless there is a crisis to provide for or a sense of urgency. Perhaps we are using the wrong word, instead of Culture we should use ‘Commitment' as commitment is a crucial element that, if missing, spells certain doom for any change initiative. Consciously or not, we follow the examples set by our leadership teams, their actions often determine what we prioritize and how we behave. If your leadership team can't demonstrate a commitment to change, neither will you. In his presentation Stuart will talk about how the ‘Commitment' of Balfour Beatty Highways Division's Leadership team to achieve the ISO18404 standard is helping to demonstrate to an industry that still thinks Lean is complicated, how Lean can provide a pathway to real solutions that drive effective, efficient tangible results for our projects, clients and supply chain partners.

    The presentations will be followed by a panel discussion and Q&A session. Please, find details and register for this online event at

    This is an online event and joining instructions will be sent to those registered, so please do register for this event in advance.


    3 Sept 2020

    Entertaining and enlightening YouTube video 'Where Science Goes to Die' from Rohin Francis, science communicator and cardiologist, as part of the MedLife Crisis series, with specific mention and discussion of Covid-19, and how scientific research and news can be corrupted by poor practice or interpretation.

    Watch for the Deming mention! Thanks to Julian Simcox for sharing.


    13 Aug 2020

    Marcia Daszko, a protégé of Dr. Deming, has, since March 2020, been writing 1-2 newsletters per week to help people pivot and make improvements working from home, etc. She writes a weekly leadership Q&A column for the Silicon Valley Business Journal to answer leaders/managers' questions. Her website has research papers on transformation and innovation that were delivered at the Deming conferences, and there are also podcasts and videos.

    If any of these may be helpful to Deming Alliance supporters, you are welcome to visit the website as a resource.


    13 Jul 2020

    The Deming Alliance webinar series 'Out of the crisis; better management in a post pandemic world' is up and running. We've completed the first of these 'Doing Measurement Well' is available as a podcast, and new events are available to book, addressing 'Change-enabled organisations', on 21st and 28th Jul, then 'Untangling motivation and performance' on 3rd and 20th Aug. Go to the Events page for more details and booking instructions.


    26 Jun 2020

    An important new White Paper "Why Six-Sigma Implementation Fails" now available from Terry Peterson and Kevan Leach, highlights the failure of a business fad, and provides pointers for business leaders looking for 'The next Big Thing'

    Please read and share views across your networks...


    11 May 2020

    Thanking Luca - On behalf of the Board I'd like to thank Luca Willington for all that she has done to take the Alliance forward in recent years, as a Board member and before. Luca is one of those wonderful people who quietly gets on and delivers. She has committed huge amounts of time and effort to the DA. The digital presence that we have now, and much of the collateral we have on the website, is in no small part down to her drive and energy. We know that Luca will continue to be a really valuable supporter of the DA, and we understand that the time is right for her to invest time in other exciting start-up activities. We wish her very well with those and look forward to seeing her once we are back at Nettle Hill, hopefully later in the year.

    Ben Simpson, DA Chair


    17 Apr 2020

    Isn't about time humans start to think differently? We've certainly not adopted a systemic mindset to how we manage and develop our social and technical institutions. We're still centred on power, domination and control, but that era must pass, else humanity will. A great new book, 'The Hidden Power of Systems Thinking' from Ray Ison and Ed Straw, outlines how we can begin to change our thinking.


    6 Mar 2020

    Anyone interested in the visionary thinking of Buckminster Fuller? New resource from Open Culture provides access to 42 hours of video footage from his seminal 1975 lecture series; knock yourself out!


    2 Mar 2020

    Really nice, concise and thought provoking article on LinkedIn from Kim Boland, entitled "The Deming Paradox and Evangelism", which draws inspiration from a number of sources. We still have a lot to learn!


    30 January 2020

    Is anyone interested in the IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL), how it can be evaluated systemically, and implemented to better effect in organisations who use it? If so, there is a new book 'Reframing ITIL' by Steve Hales, supported by Patrick Hoverstadt. Check it out!


    29 November 2019

    Systems & Complexity in Organisation (SCiO) have their Jan 2020 Open Day in London now ready to book! Four great speakers lined up for a lively event. Don't miss out!


    27 September 2019

    Great article from Patrick Hoverstadt of Fractal Consulting about Business Agility and the Agile Business on LinkedIn - well worth a read - some ideas that compliment nicely Deming's comments about survival and offer a way to approach the tricky dilemmas at the heart of agility.


    26 September 2019

    The Systems Dynamics Network Meeting at ThinkLab takes place on Tues 22nd Oct in Salford University, exploring a number of subjects relating to complex and dynamic situations from a systemic perspective. Further information available via SD Network Eventbrite.


    23 September 2019

    SCiO (Systems & Complexity in Organisation) has two Autumn events coming up for those interested in Systems Thinking practice and approaches. The SCiO Development Day runs on Sun 13th Oct in Liverpool for members (only); booking information available via the SCiO web site. The SCiO Open Day runs on Mon 14th Oct in Manchester for anyone interested; booking information available also via the SCiO web site and Eventbrite.


    19 September 2019

    The UK Institute for Apprenticeships has agreed the role definition and knowledge, skills and behaviours for the Level 7 (Postgraduate/Masters) Systems Thinking Apprenticeship, the IfA has now published the role as Systems Thinking Practitioner. The next step will be to develop the educational content to support the apprenticeship, and finalise how assessment will be organised and managed.


    29 March 2019

    The American Association for Quality (ASQ) today has announced that they have decided to award the Deming Medal to Alan Winlow, former Managing Director of Yorkshire Brick Company and Continuous Improvement Director at Marshalls PLC. Alan is the the second Brit to have won the prestigious prize, after Dr Henry R Neave (2001). The awards ceremony will take place on the 19 of May, in Fort Worth, prior to its annual World Conference on Quality and Improvement. For details, see the ASQ press release on 29 March. The Deming Alliance has also published a brief case study about Yorkshire Brick Company, where Alan Winlow first started to implement Deming's continual improvement methods, with outstanding results.


    14 January 2019

    Deming Institute's first EU Workshop on the Deming Management Method to be held in Amsterdam on 25 April 2019. Bill Bellows, the Deputy Director of the Deming Institute will be traveling form the Us to lead the event/ For more information, contact Frans Leijse, the Dutch organiser of the event.


    23 August 2018

    The UK Institute for Apprenticeships has approved a Level 7 (Postgraduate/Masters) Systems Thinking Practitioner Apprenticeship, the Trailblazer committee for this apprenticeship has announced today. The next step will be to develop and prove the standards for this apprenticeship. More information will be added to the Institute for Apprenticeships website.


    24 April 2018

    NHS England's Sustainable Improvement team is holding a series of free webinars on Facilitating Large Scale Change, scheduled between 24 May and 12 July 2018. For more more info and bookings, visit the Facilitating Large Scale Change webinar series page on NHS England's website.


    7 December 2017

    A systems approach to improving A&I services at Luton & Dunstable University Hospital BBC article "Why is Luton & Dunstable University Hospital hitting A&E target?"


    21 November 2017

    A topical application of process behaviour charts to UK political polling data, by Anthony Cutler. In his own words, he wanted to present opinion polls and election results "as a movie rather than a snapshot". Read the full article on Anthony's Unanticipated Knowledge blog. You can find the updates on Anthony Cutler's twitter feed, where the chart is being updated (almost) daily. You are warmly invited to "post comments and challenges. Please spread the word by linking or retweeting."

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