Introducing the VIPLAN Methodology (with VSM) for handling messy situations – Nine lessons

Stephen Harwood*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

This paper examines the utility of a novel and relatively unknown approach to handling messy situations. This approach, developed by Raul Espejo, is the VIPLAN Methodology. It is presented as a heuristic and comprises a set of six activities which act as ‘pointers’ to guide thinking and actions. The methodology’s contribution rests upon its explicit focus upon the context within which messy situations are handled. This draws attention to the cybernetics of the situation (Cybernetic Loop), which can be made sense of using the Viable System Model. However, one of the challenges of the methodology is the perception that it is complex and difficult to use. A case-study is used to investigate how the methodology can be operationalised. This reveals a set of nine lessons, which are offered as guidelines to enhance our understanding of how to use the VIPLAN Methodology.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)635-668
JournalSystemic Practice and Action Research
Early online date27 Oct 2020
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • problem structuring
  • PSM
  • VIPLAN methodology
  • cybernetics
  • VSM
  • systems thinking


Dive into the research topics of 'Introducing the VIPLAN Methodology (with VSM) for handling messy situations – Nine lessons'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this