Research is the learning model of the organisation. It represents system 4 in the terminology of Stafford Beer's viable system model.

But we don't need to get fancy to understand the importance of this function, nor the need to isolate it into its own legal-subsystem. This is simply common sense.

Research and development (R&D) is a vital and very distinct practice for most if not all organisations. Even freelancers increasingly need to keep up to date with changes in technology and set aside time and resources to research and learning new skill. This R&D function is what we might more generally call the Learning Model of the organisation or group.

The culture and practice of research differs significantly from that of day-to-day operations, or :higher" levels of stewardship and governance, or indeed purely administrative functions. The culture and incentives required are more creative in nature - less risk adverse. There is more emphasis on communication skills.

# System 4

System 4 embodies cognition and conversation. It is concerned with the 'there and then' – strategical responses to the effects of external, environmental and future demands on the organization.

System 4 is made up of bodies that are responsible for looking outwards to the environment to monitor how the organization needs to adapt to remain viable.