link: Building ValueWebs • link: ValueWeb Communities
ValueWeb Architecture

The Mechanics

page one of two

The structuring of any ValueWeb enterprise requires that certain elements be in place, in balance with one another, and at a certain critical mass. These are “structural” requirements. They have to be thought of much like approaching the hardware and software design of a computer system. They make up the operating System (OS) of the ValueWeb.


Terminology and References

Throughout this description, certain terms-of-art are used. To assist in understanding the intended meaning of these terms, reference is made to certain published works:


ADJACENT POSSIBLE: as described in Where Good Ideas Come From
Steven Johnson


ADAPTION: as described in How Buildings Learn - What Happens After They’re Built
Steward Brand


AGENTS AND AGENCY: as described in Society of Mind
Marvin Minsky


ARMATURE: as described in Building to Last - Architecture as Ongoing Art
Herb Green


BODY-MIND-ENVIRONMNET INTEGRATION: as described in Becoming Animal
David Abram


COMPLEXITY, ORDER, VARIETY: as described in Architecture - Form, Space, and Order
Francis D. K. Ching
2nd Edition 1996

Also as described in The Quark and the Jaguar
Murray Gell-Mann

and in At Home in the Universe
Stuart Kauffman


CONSCIOUSNESS: as described in The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind
Julian Jaynes


DEEP STRUCTURE: as it refers to language and cognition, in Language and Mind
Noam Chomsky


DESIGN AND DESIGN ECONOMY as outlined in Do You Matter - How great design will make people love your company
Robert Brunner and Stewart Emery with Russ Hall

and in Design and Truth
Robert Grudin


ECONOMY - REPLACEMENT: as it refers to the development of renewable wealth, in Cities and the Wealth of Nations
Jane Jacobs


EMERGENCE: as described in At Home in the Universe
Stuart Kauffman

and in Emergence, The Connected Lives of Ants, Brains, Cities and Software
Steven Johnson

ERROR: as described in Where Good Ideas Come From
Steven Johnson
EXOTROPHY: as described in What Technology Wants
Kevin Kelly

EXPERIENCE: as described in Becoming Animal
David Abram

and A Stroll With William James
Jacques Barzun


FEEDBACK: (and of a complex kind) as described in The Human Use of Human Beings, Cybernetics and Society, and Cybernetics or Control and Communication in the Animal and the Machine
Norbert Weiner


Hand, Brain, Language, Human Culture: as described in The Hand
Frank R. Wilson


HUERISTICS: as described in The Metaphorical Brain
Michael B. Arbib
1968, 1989

and in Cognition and Complexity
Wayne Reeves


INFORMATION: as described in Mind and Nature, A Necessary Unity and Steps to an Ecology of Mind
Gregory Bateson
1972, 1979

Also as described in Mathematical Theory of Communication
Claude Shannon


INTELLECT: as described in The House of Intellect
Jaques Barzun


INTELLIGENCE: as described in Frames of Mind : The Theory of Multiple Intelligences
Howard E. Gardner


ITERATION: as described in The Exemplar
Robert Carkhuff

and as discussed in The Gold Collar Worker - Harnessing the Brainpower of the New Work Force
Robert E. Kelley


INTERFACE: as described in The Humane Interface
Jef Raskin


LIVING SYSTEMS: as described in Living Systems
James Grier Miller

LIQUID NETWORKS: as described in Where Good Ideas Come From
Steven Johnson

MEME: as described in The Selfish Gene
Richard Dawkins

and The Meme Machine
Susan Blackmore


META PROGRAMMING: as described in Programming and Meta-Programming in the Human Bio Computer
John Lilly
1967, 1968


MORPHIC RESONANCE : as described in A New Science of Life and The Presense of the Past: Morphic Resonance and the Habits of Nature
Rupert Sheldrake
1981, 1988, 1995


TECHNOLOGY: as argued in The Nature of Technology - What it is and How it Evolves
W. Brian Arthur


NETWORK: as described in Small Worlds, The Dynamics of Networks Between Order and Randomness
Duncan J. Watts

and Linked - The New Science of Networks
Albert-Laszlo Barabasi

and NEXUS - Small Worlds and the Groundbreaking Science of Networks
Mark Buchanan


NODES AND PATCHES: as described in At Home in the Universe, The Search for the Laws of Self-Organization and Complexity
Stuart Kauffman


PATTERN LANGUAGE: as described by The Timeless Way of Building and A Pattern Language
Christopher Alexander
et al
1977, 1979

and as demonstrated by The Wright Space - Pattern & Meaning in Frank Lloyd Wrights Houses
Grant Hildebrand

Both of the above references are described in The Power of Place - How Our Surroundings Shape Our Thoughts, Emotions and Actions
Winfred Gallager

and in Frank Lloyd Wright - A Primer in Architectural Principles
Robert McCarter

PERCEPTION, PERCEIVER, PERCEIVED: as described in Becoming Animal
David Abram

PHYSICAL HEALTH, MENTAL WELL BEING, INDIVIDUAL PLACE and PROSPECT AND REFUGE: as described in The Power of Place - How Our Surroundings Shape Our Thoughts, Emotions and Actions
Winfred Gallager

and in Places of the Soul - Architecture and Environmental Design as a Healing Art
Christopher Day


RECURSION: as described in Diagnosing the System for Organizations, Managerial Cybernetics of Organization
Stafford Beer


REQUESITE VARIETY: as described in Designing Freedom (1985), and Diagnosing the System for Organizations
Stafford Beer

and in Cybernetics
Ross Asby


RULES AND RULE-BASED SYSTEMS: as described in A New Kind of Science
Stephen Wolfram


SENSES: as described in See what I’m saying - The Extraordinary Powers of Our senses
Lawrence D. Rosenblum

SERENDIPITY: as described in Where Good Ideas Come From
Steven Johnson
SEVENTH KINGDOM OF LIFE: as described in What Technology Wants
Kevin Kelly

SINGULARITY: as described in The Singularity is Near
Raymond Kurzweil

SLOW AND FAST TIME: as described in The Clock of the Long Now
Stewart Brand
SLOW HUNCH: as described in Where Good Ideas Come From
Steven Johnson

SYMBIOSIS: as described in The Symbiotic Man - A New Understanding of the Organization of Life and Vision of the Future
Joel De Rosnay


SYMBOL: as described in Man and His Symbols
Carl Jung

and in The Hero With a Thousand Faces The Mythic Image (1974), and The Innner Reaches of Outer Space: Metaphor As Myth and As Religion
Joseph Cambell
1949, 1982


SYNERGY: as described in Synergetics
R. B. Fuller
1975, 1979


SYNTOPICAL READING: as described in How to Read a Book
Mortimer J. Adler & Charles Van Doren
1942, 1972

TECHNIUM: as described in What Technology Wants
Kevin Kelly

THINKING, AI, THE FUTURE OF THE HUMAN MIND: as described in The Emotion machine
Marvin Minsky


TRANSPARENCY AND RECIPROCAL TRANSPARENCY: as described in The Transparent Society - Will Technology Force Us to Choose Between Privacy and Freedom?
David Brin


VARIETY: as described in Designing Freedom
Stafford Beer


WORTHY PROJECTS: as demonstrated in Works in Progress
Long Now Foundation
Alexander Rose


The way that these authors use terms and how they apply their knowledge is not entirely the way I do or as the concepts are employed by the Taylor System and Method nor do they completely describe the way that a ValueWeb system would practice these concepts. These referenced works do not “predict” ValueWebs. They form, as a group, a beginning foundation of theory related to dynamic systems and their human, organizational and economic implications. On a personal note, many of these thinkers inspired me greatly with their lives and work. To this day, a robust reservoir of value resides in these works and both the new and “old” ones are equally relevant.

Nor do I primarily care if they are in or out of agreement with each other. I am not trying to prove a thesis here. I am applying biomimicry and organic design principles to the making, testing and employing of - in this case - a complex social-organizational system. I do this by taking the best science, tested methods and compelling ideas and using them through iterative cycles of projects, of different levels of recursion, with the intent to facilitate a new kind of global system.

Given the complexity of a ValueWeb, these readings also refer to many aspects of the Taylor System of which the ValueWeb concept is one part.


Components of a ValueWeb

The 22 essential components of a ValueWeb as a formal system. Click on the diagram for a larger version of the diagram.

These components describe the minimum complexity of a true ValueWeb. In real life, a far greater complexity will exist.

Fig SS6 -2 ValueWeb Architecture. A ValueWebs has 22 distinct components and sub-components. These cover all the 19 functional subsystems of Miller’s living systems model [link: miller living system]. ValueWebs also can - and complex ones will - function on many levels of recursion. What follows is a general description of this architecture. Each of these components are rule-based. They are, in fact, composed of social contracts, as well as, by real physical and energy constraints. Each of these components - given the kind that it is - contains rules that are generic to it’s type and rules that are specific to it’s environment and application. The designation: (ToA) following a word indicates that in the formal system of ValueWebs the proceeding word is a term-of-art of the system and therefor has an exact meaning. This is something that a pure user of the system and method does not have to know - a designer, builder or facilitator does have to know.


Fig SS6 -2 ValueWeb Architecture illustrates the configuration of of sustainable complex purposeful networks. Complex, true ValueWebs function as Mind Engines. The are “made” by a deliberate process which is not predictable - it is emergent. This is accomplished by the Zone of Emergence Engine Fig SS1-8 which is illustrated below.


illustrates the ValueWeb (ToA) Boundary (ToA).



illustrates the System Integrator (ToA) of the ValueWeb. The role of the System Integrator function, is to facilitate the purpose of the ValueWeb which is, in general, to create wealth and distribute it equably to it’s members.



illustrates the Investor (ToA) Network (ToA).



illustrates the User (ToA) Network.



illustrates the Producer (ToA) Network.


3, 4, 5

are not static roles. The are modalities. Agents (ToA) will often play more than one role in a ValueWeb architecture. At any iteration (ToA), they are in one mode.



illustrates a ValueWeb in incubation (ToA) as part of the Producer Network (see: Miller ss1 "reproducer").



illustrates an existing ValueWeb (created out side of the ValueWeb in focus) in the process of making contact.



illustrates an Existing Valueweb in the process of coming into the Valueweb in focus Miller (ss3 "Ingetor").



illustrates the Outer Clamshell (ToA) of Network 3.



illustrates the Middle Clamshell (ToA) of Network 3.



illustrates the Inner Clamshell (ToA) of Network 3.



illustrates the Outer Clamshell of Network 4.



illustrates the Middle Clamshell of Network 4.



illustrates the Inner Clamshell of Network 4.



illustrates the Outer Clamshell of Network 5.



illustrates the Middle Clamshell of Network 5.



illustrates the Inner Clamshell of Network 5.

11, 14, 17

makes up the core of the enterprise, create it’s signature, brand and identity.


10,13, 16

are the critical mass (ToA) of the enterprise.


9, 12, 15

are the enterprise at scale (ToA).


illustrates Nodes (ToA) of the ValueWeb of which there are several kinds some of which are shown.



illustrates Channels (ToA) between Nodes of which there are several kind some of which are shown. A Replacement Cluster (ToA) is a Node that is capable of recreating the ValueWeb. This is the “Entrepreneurial Button” in the Stages of an Enterprise Model Table M11.



illustrates Nets (ToA) which span across Networks often weaving through the entire ValueWeb.



illustrates the environment of the ValueWeb itself composed of of elements, Nodes, Nets, Networks, Valueweb - all acting as Agents.



illustrates a Note outside the valueWeb. Nodes like this act as a sensor to the ValueWeb which is necessary for feedback (ToA). MEM principle #14.



Zone of Emergence Engine

The Zone of Emergence Engine is made up - at minimum - of three levels of recursion and three iterations of action acting as a whole system in a coherent period of time. In the environment emergence happens far more often than not.

Interventions into a system - even “good” ones - generate unintended consequences. Systems are complex. Interventions tend to be discreet. It is a foundation element in the Taylor System and Method that the environment of an exercise has to be carefully crafted to do two things: create the optimum environment possible for the completion of the task and to do so in a way that minimizes unwanted consequences. Fig SS1-8 Zone of Emergence Engine illustrates this context setting process. Creating an appropriate zone for work is the first task of the process and great care is given to it in the DesignShop process and in a NavCenter environment. While every aspect of this context WILL generate consequences it is possible to employ elements that experience shows will generate the KIND of consequences you want. This is a design issue. There is no such thing as a neutral environment - even the deliberate creation of a neutral environment creates a bias. It is possible however, to create an environment that is a remarkably level playing field, where the rules-of-engagement are extremely clear and kept with integrity and one that WITHIN the zone of these boundaries the space is open, free, unbiased and facultative of emergence. This is the space of creativity and innovation. When doing this, we use highly tested boundary rules; the HABITS of creative people being a principle set [link: habits of creative people].


illustrates the outer Boundaries of the ZONE system be it an exercise, event, environment or system. The boundary rules vary according to context. As example, for a DesignShop event, they reflect the 22 common, operating rules of creative people.


illustrates the level (or levels) of recursion(ToA) “above” the zone of emergence (ToA) - the arena of exercise, event, action. Typically, in human systems, this contains the higher order goals, instructions and meta-code (ToA) and relates to context, memory (ToA), purpose and agency (ToA).


illustrates the level of recursion of EMERGENCE. This is a heuristic (ToA) environment. Emergent phenomena cannot be predicted or controlled. Attempts at control (interventions) generate unintended consequences (ToA). Complex systems seek outcomes and learn, adjust, adapt as they act. Their “behavior” is a sine wave due to lag (ToA) in their feedback (ToA) process. This level of recursion while “free” is bound.


illustrates the level (or levels) of recursion subordinate to 3 that are supportive of the zone of emergence. Typically, this composed of “tool-kits” that augment (ToA) the emergent work.

5, 6, 7

illustrates iterations (ToA) of work. The requirement of iteration is to completing a full cycle of work (Creative Process Model), shipping (ToA) product and recreating the work (4 Step recreation Model) in a contiguous moment in time/space.

8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15

illustrates feedback (ToA) between work iterations and recursion levels. This feedback has to be of sufficient frequency (ToA) and magnitude (ToA) so that the sampling-rate (ToA) is requisite with the rate-of-change (ToA) (Model) in both the work environment and it’s external environment - else, requisite variety (ToA) is lost.

16, 17, 18, 19, 20

illustrates the sine-wave (ToA) of work and emerging results. This involve both FM (ToA) and AM (ToA) modulation (ToA). The varied width of the sine wave arrow indicates the critical-mass (ToA) of agents (ToA) required as work iterations progress. This emergent vector (ToA) is held in dynamic equilibrium (ToA) by feedback and stays within the system-limits (ToA) only if the wiring of the feedback loops (PatchWorks (ToA)) is properly done. This is both a design (ToA) and execution issue.


illustrates the point where/when/how the emergent system “escapes to a higher order.”

22, 23, 24, 25

indicates that on the recursion levels, above and below the zone of emergence, the iteration boundaries are permeable (ToA) and may not align with 5,6,&7 terminations.


is equivalent to the “exit iteration” of Fig. SS1-1. In complex systems there will be multiple exit iterations in order to maintain requisite variety with the environment.


indicates that several parallel processes, events and work can be progressing at once with discrete feedback between them and this exercise in focus. This is an application of the PatchWorks (ToA) Design architecture - a key aspect of this system and method.


System Integration

System Integration, in a Valueweb, is a function. Centuries of hierarchical organizations have conditioned us to think that organizations are exclusively run by management and leadership, meaning people - a personality focused explanation. All facts are interpreted from this singular vantage point. All corrections are made from this vantage point. This people centric view of how organizations function often causes us not to see what is right in front of us and make poor decisions when designing and implementing organizational change.
My present model of how ValueWebs evolve in regards to human leadership is that they move through three phases. In the First Phase they are like traditional organizations. They start with an idea of a single person or small group who launch a startup process.This is a personality driven process which often requires heroic effort. Notice that, in the beginning, the startup of almost every organization is more like a network structure than the traditional model. It is with success that usually the traditional model becomes the dominate reality. Innovators often leave at this point. At this second phase it is possible to proceed down the path of building a ValueWeb architecture rather than a hierarchal one. In this case there is likely to be a part of the ValueWeb which is a formal Systems Integrator - I call the the Commissioner of Baseball Phase. The Masthead Model (top of this page) actually shows the beginning of this phase. The SI, in this period has both the system integration function and a measure of formal C3 (command, control and communication) capabilities. This is a critical phase because if the C3 is overplayed the enterprise will devolve into a traditional human organization with all of the limits associated with this design strategy. If it is too loose or weak the enterprise is likely to lose focus and fail. It is with Phase three that the enterprise reaches ubiquity and sustainability and becomes a pure expression of network architecture and behavior. In this phase, a single, centralized C3 function cannot meet the variety demands of the system. At the beginning, any C3 functions cease to function at hte center. SI, in the technical sense may remain for a period. As maturity is reached, SI has to be a distributed function of the entire structure. Therefore, #2 of the Components of a ValueWeb Diagram (above) will distribute its function and then dissolve entirely, as Phase Three progresses, until a true ValueWeb has emerged.
Less there be confusion, it must be understood that a complex ValueWeb may have many organizational Nodes which are structured in a variety of ways - traditional and network - and who are in any aspect of these three Phases. A complex ValueWeb, as the Components Diagram shows, is likely to have VWs (in a variety of stages) as Nodes within it and also be part of other ValueWebs as a Node. How this works is determined by the kind of Channel which connects these Nodes to one another and by he rules-of-engagement by which the Channels operate. Complex ValueWebs are mind-like and exhibit the 22 aspects of memory of a dynamic system and are best understood and engaged as a living system (miller).
To successfully steward the creation of a true ValueWeb, the implications of the Zone of Emergence Engine (above) have to be thoroughly understood as does ValueWeb architecture itself. When something goes “wrong,” intervention should be limited to critical emergency care where the life of the enterprise is truly threatened. The systemic solution, and fixing why the emergency occurred, is always reached by more subtle adjustments which are almost always the adding of missing elements to the system. What feedback loops were missing which lead to instability of the network and its inability to learn? Where was there imbalance between the ValueWeb Networks and Clamshells? At what points was critical mass (in Channels and Nodes) missing? Where is there weaknesses in Channels and the existence of Channels of the right kind? Were entry and exit protocols of VW members biased or inadequate? Were the interface functions and feedback loops between the VW (in focus) and its greater environment adequate? Gentle, high frequency, low magnitude, carefully tested moves should then be taken to repair these architectural deficiencies. Structure wins and will always overwhelm heroic human efforts in the end. Careful design and building of the structure-process is the best solution path. In that a complex ValueWeb cannot be understood, in order to repair or facilitate it, you must first entrain with it and then be the change required. This is not management - even leadership - as it is commonly understood today. This misguided attempt to impose a Second Wave (industrial model) philosophy and practice on a Third Wave (knowledge, design, network model), always changing reality is why we are seeing so many systemic failures all around us today. We have created a complexity with our traditional governance practices that are not requisite with the tasks they would serve nor are we requisite with the complexity with the world we are creating by the use of these mechanisms. We are losing both ways.
The ValueWeb architecture offers a way around this evolutionary cul-de-sac. When we have employed it in extremely complex, cross, culture, organizational Boundary breaking situations it has yielded outstanding results. We do not offer the ValueWeb architecture as the end state solution to 21st Century organizational challenges. We do maintain that it, if properly applied, can be a highly effecting transition strategy from the present default system to organizations with a far greater fit with the emerging times.
Return To: Index
GoTo: navCenter ValueWeb
GoTo: Building ValueWebs
GoTo: ValueWeb Communities
GoTo: PatchWorks Architecture
GoTo: Making and Use of navCenters

Matt Taylor
March 28, 2001
Palo Alto



SolutionBox voice of this document:


click on graphic for explanation of SolutionBox

posted: March 28, 2001

revised: September 19, 2012,
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Copyright© Matt Taylor 1985, 1996, 2001, 2002, 2005, 2008, 2010, 2012

Certain aspects described herein are patented and in patent pending

note: this document is about 90% finished

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