All system have control systems in place that are characterized by the fact that they have goals: states of affairs that they try to achieve and maintain, in spite of obstacles or perturbations. Organizations define their own goals and strive to avoid deviation from this goal by applying ideal feedback. These goals the represent the system ‘set course’ against which the system is steered via its governance model. In order to be sustainable and viability it is then imperative that that primary goal and associated secondary goals are defined that ensure systemic viability. Key consideration with respect to systemic goals:
- Must contain subset of acceptable states
- The dimensions defining these states are called the essential variables, and they must be kept within a limited range compatible with the survival of the system.
Viability is the capacity of a system (organization, company, state) to maintain a separate existence and identity over time despite changes in the environment. Sustainability is the ability of effectively manage its adaptive cycle (relevant system stage) key properties such as ideal system potential, its connectednnes (internal controls versus influence of external variables) and resilience by means of a dynamic governance model. By maintaining identify organization via its regulatory process that it will persist through a process, learning, adaptation and evolution by ensuring homeostatic equilibrium.
A system is homeostatic if it can maintain itself in a state of equilibrium under two conditions:
- In order to cope with the environment the operations needs to match its variety to that of the environment
- In order to manage the operation management needs to match its variety to that of the operations
Horizontal balance and vertical balance which cannot be mutually exclusive and requires cohesion between vertical and horizontal balance in order to attain optimum balance.
They key challenge is: ‘what’ is the optimum balance for a system and ‘how’ to determine the optimum balance.
The ‘what’ and the ‘how’ is defined within Variety Engineering.