We can use the human body as a metaphor for an organisation...
The human body is comprised of several systems...
lymphatic system circulatory system
We require all of these systems to work together to enable us to have capabilities such as:
If any of the systems are not working to enable these capabilities, our ability to be capable in that
activity is compromised. We are relying on our bodies’ various systems to be in alignment to enable capability.
walking driving eating talking
We can also
in terms of
model In organisations we need to ensure that each of these
six elements are aligned to enable all the capabilities
we want our organisation to be able to perform or deliver.
Duffield, S & Whitty, SJ 2015, 'Developing a systemic lessons learned knowledge model for organisational learning through projects',
International Journal of Project Management, vol. 33, no. 2, pp. 311-24
The Syllk model helps us to remember that any organisational capability is not just in the experience
and skills of staff (‘learning’), but also in the organisation’s culture, its social structures,
infrastructure, technology and processes. Failure to recognise this distribution of capability across
multiple systems (the Syllk elements) is like assuming that we only need a muscular and skeletal
system to walk. We actually need many biological systems (including our nervous system and our
cardio-vascular system) to work together to enable the human capability of walking.
Within an organisation, if we are creating a new capability, or are not performing a capability as we
would like, we need to consider whether we have all the Syllk elements aligned towards achieveing
that capability. If we have the required ‘learning’ and ‘infrastructure’ elements, but the other Syllk
elements are working against the capability - there will be problems!
of the Syllk elements required for the capability to serve coffee:example
Stephen Duffield em: firstname.lastname@example.org Dr Jon Whitty em: email@example.com
Baristra training Passion for coffee drinking
Coffee making machineOptimised division
note: there are likely many more examples of each Syllk element... we have only shown one example of each element
Staff skills and
routines practices for
tasks and artefacts
tools, equipment and