Growing Adaptive Organizations

The Canvas Material

The Canvas consists of several parts. You can find an example for a workshop here. A full description can be found in the Canvas Playbook.

The Canvas Material

Get the Materials

  • A standard template of the Viable System Model. VSM practitioners recommend using the standard VSM diagram – it represents a specialized language to talk about information structures in organizations. Using it makes your findings easily accessible in the VSM community. Print it as large as you can (e.g. in A0) or just paint it on a moderation board or flip chart.
  • The Canvas itself as a poster contains a VSM diagram and a kind of exploded view for the parts. It allows you to add your observations to the instances of the systems and channels in the unit that you choose to analyze/design. We recommend the use of the Canvas and drawing your findings into the template later, but of course, you are free to use the standard template instead.
  • A cheat sheet that guides you through the analysis and design steps. The cheat sheet is essentially identical to the Canvas – it has numbers in its areas which refer to the steps in the analysis respective design steps. Print it in A4 or letter format. In a workshop, you can hand the cheat sheets out to the participants of the workshop.
  • A poster with the analysis steps. The poster visualizes the Tasks in the respective steps and relevant observations. The yellow areas at the bottom of the steps are meant to help refer to the involved people and units in the organization chart.
  • A poster with the design steps. The layout of this poster is slightly different. The top row denotes some aspects of the organization, the „powers that be“. The second row consists of the design steps. At the bottom, you find „decisions“ and „efforts“. Decisions are obvious, you can implement them immediately. Efforts are more diverse: tasks, projects, backlog items of different sizes, criticality, and difficulty. These efforts are the input for your backlog or project plan.

The Viable System Model template

The Canvas itself as a poster

A cheat sheet that guides you through the analysis and design steps

A poster with the analysis steps

A poster with the Diagnose (orient) Steps

(Under development)

The Design Steps Poster

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