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Credits and Disclaimer


This material derives from original work in 1995 by Gordon Dyer, then Senior Lecturer at the Open University. He converted his material in 2001 to the form of an e-learning module for use by the i10 Unversity Consortium in the East of England to meet the needs of social enterprises which include financial objectives.     He has now further adapted the material to meet a wider definition of  social enterpise.

The College of Exploration is making this course on Social Systems Design freely available on its website at
the request of the the author Gordon Dyer. The course content was handed to Peter Tuddenham, co-founder of the College of Exploration, by Gordon Dyer at a meeting in East Anglia, England in July of 2016.

Before joining the academic community Gordon Dyer served for 26 years in the Royal Air Force retiring with the rank of Wing Commander.  From 1965-1970 he was based at Boscombe Down, the United Kingdom’s flight test establishment where he managed a specially-equipped “flying laboratory” Comet and carried out world-wide and trans-polar flight trials on avionic systems for new RAF and civil aircraft, including the Concord.

In 1978, he joined the UK Open University (OU) Faculty of Technology based in London, with special interest in systems.   He contributed to several courses produced by the Systems Department:  writing course and examination materials, and acting as exam and course team chair.  He has been a regular attendee at International Federation for Systems Research and International Systems Institute conversations for 25 years, and was an early collaborator with Bela Banathy in his research on conversation as a route to social systems design.  Gordon has some 50 published papers/ articles/ book chapters, primarily in these areas. 

Appointed  to the Directorate for the OU in East Anglia he was tenured as Senior Lecturer till retirement from this post in 1999.  During 1986-7 he also held the post of Director of the Open University Centre for Continuing Education, an incubator for the development of new programme areas. Has taught courses offered by both the Open University Business School and Faculty of Technology, and has considerable experience in using CMC and online tuition methods.  Following retirement from full-time employment he continued with consultancy and teaching contracts with the OU until 2007.  One outcome from this was the on-line module on creating the future path for any small social unit.


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Banathy B. H., 1997, Designing Social Systems in a Changing World, Plenum, New York.

Banathy B.H and Rowland G., 2004, Creating the Future, online at (Accessed 17 July 2009)

Barry-Jones, R.J.,1995, Economic Globalisation and Interdependence, Francis- Pinter, London

Dyer G.C., 1995, Developing a Family Declaration of Interdependence: A Methodology for Systems Design within a Small Social Unit, Systems Research, 12(3):201-208.

Pinchot, G & Pinchot, E., 1993, The End of Bureaucracy and the Rise of the Intelligent Organization, Berrett-Koehler, San Francisco.


These pages attempt to provide an overview of the emerging discipline of social systems design and the author's contribution to it, with the aim of demonstrating how these ideas can be applied to any social enterprise. No legal responsibility can be taken by him for the completeness, accuracy or current correctness of the information provided. The author formally disclaims any responsibility for any damage suffered in any way by any reader as a result of acting on advice and/or information given in this learning element.