AUTHORS: Robin Asby
Robin Asby has spent a lifetime in problem solving. He is a systems thinker and researcher, a retired consultant and academic.
He started his career with a degree in Mathematics from Cambridge University (1965), and a PhD from London University in 1968 in Mathematical Physics which formulated the basic modelling of a focused laser beam. Subsequently he moved to the University of Rochester, NY and began research in optics and electrodynamics. His experience of a new culture, and the growth of interest in ecology sparked a new interest in systems thinking, politics and government. As a result of his experiences in the USA, when he returned to the United Kingdom in 1970, he became a political activist in the Labour Party. Moving to West Wales he spent 16 years training teachers and became familiar with the theory and practice of learning.
In the early 1980s he came across the systems thinking of Stafford Beer, and introduced systems thinking into his teaching. From 1989 to 1994 he established and ran a small enterprise working in the growing Information technology sector. Finding that West Wales was not fertile ground for such an enterprise, and that the problems of business were in the large majority problems of management, in 1994 he co-founded a new business department in a higher education college with courses designed from a systemic standpoint.
From 1998 to 2006 he worked as a consultant in conjunction with Hull University mentoring senior and middle managers in the Middle East, Far East, and UK as they developed their understanding and use of systemic management theories in their own organisations. In 2001 he became an Open University tutor, then a contributor to the development of systems thinking courses. He chaired the development of the Open University MSc ‘Systems Thinking in Practice’. He was a joint author of one of the courses in this degree.
He has a continuing interest in education. From 2000-2015 he was a governor of two secondary schools. In 2018 he was a founder member of Todmorden Learning Centre and Community Hub (tlchub.org.uk). TLCCH expects to establish a learning centre for research, development and practical learning in the former Todmorden Community College for those interested in building climate change resilient communities.