Coevolving Innovations

… in Business Organizations and Information Technologies

What Can Systems Thinkers Learn From Music City-making? | Adam Hogan + Ziyan Hossein | Systems Thinking Ontario 2024-03-18

Beyond city-building as urban planning is the idea of a Music City.  This sees development of cultural life across a wide variety of arts, alongside economic benefits brought to the region.  At the 119th meeting of Systems Thinking Ontario in March 2024, socio-cultural designer Adam Hogan and musician-designer Ziyan Hossain joined moderator Zaid Khan in conversation.  Both panelists are alumni of the Strategic Foresight and Innovation program at OCADU.

After short self-introductions by participants, the panelists were lightly guided through some focus questions.  How does a music city relate to urban communities?  What encourages or discourages a music city?  What systems are associated with a music city?  Between focus questions, participants were invited to offer reflections and insights.

This recording of the session is available on Youtube, as well as on the Internet Archive .

Video H.264 MP4
March 18
[20240318_ST-ON_MusicCityMaking AdamHogan_ZiyanHossein.m4v
(1920×1080 1156kbps 908MB)
[on the Internet Archive]

A standalone audio was also created during the meeting.

March 18
[20240318_ST-ON_MusicCityMaking AdamHogan_ZiyanHossein.m4a]
(126kbps, 91 MB)
[on the Internet Archive]

A short description of the session follows below, with pre-readings linked on the original abstract.

— begin excerpt —

Music and urbanization. Two aspects of life that together form the concept of a “music city”. Music cities have typically been framed as vehicles for economic development. But what else do music cities provide? What can systems thinkers learn from the the dynamics of music cities?… Read more (in a new tab)

Systems Changes Dialogues on Social Innovation | Centre for Social Innovation | 2024-03-18

Having reached year 6 of an espoused 10-year journey, the Systems Changes Learning Circle is (again) convening monthly Dialogues on Social Innovation at the Centre for Social Innovation in Toronto.

Starting up in 2019, the Circle was convening regularly in the Climate Ventures space at 192 Spadina Avenue. The pandemic interrupted in-person meetings, and the core group continued philoosophical and theoretical development.

A return to normalcy encourages the Circle to serve as mentors on thinking through systems echanges.

As an introduction, an online Lunch and Learn was scheduled. Dialogues can be free-flowing, with a light guidance along three questions:

  • 1. Which differences make a difference in your social innovation? Which rhythms are normal, and which are shifts?
  • 2. What influences advance or block the rhythmic shifts of your social innovation?
  • 3. Where can the pacing of systems changes, as faster or slower, favour your social innovation?

To better describe these questions, very short (5-minute) presentations were provided as orientation.

A. Welcome :05
B. Rhythms: Normal or Shift? Presentation One :05
Dialogue One :10
C. Influences: Advancing or Bocking? Presentation Two :05
Dialogue Two :10
D.Pacing that favours: Faster or Slower? Presentation Three :05
Dialogue Three :10
E. Next Meeting (poll)
Better Questions?

With only an hour scheduled for the Lunch and Learn session, participants only got a brief taste of the way a dialogue would run.

Brief animations served as metaphors on which dialogues could be built. Oriented towards an audience of practitioners, the presentation defers more rigourous theoretical explanations into later mentoring.… Read more (in a new tab)

From Unfreezing-Refreezing, to Systems Changes Learning | EQ Lab Dialogic Drinks | 2024-03-14/15

EQ Lab runs Dialogic Drinks, “the kind of philosophical discussion you have in a coffee shop or bar”, twice per week.  Wtih this group interested loosely in questions on leadership, I was invited to host an online session on March 12 (evening in Hong Kong and Singapore, really early in Toronto) and on March 14-15 (evening in Toronto, morning in Hong Kong and Singapore).

The majority of the organizational change approaches presume the “unfreeze-move-refreeze” metaphor attributed to Kurt Lewin. Taking a different approach has resulted in the converging of a comprehensive alternative with Systems Changes Learning, after 5 years of development.

These Dialogic Drinks sessions are weighted less on presentation, and more on discussions and reflections.

A. Welcome Introduction :05
Ice-breaker :05
B. Rethinking Systems Presentation One :07
Dialogue One :20
Reflection One :10
C. Rethinking Systems Changes Presentation Two :07
Dialogue Two :20
Reflection Two :10
D.Rethinking Systems Changes Learning Presentation Three :07
Dialogue Three :20
Reflection Three :10
E. After Hours :30

With a condensed schedule for presentations, the imagery of short movies can express ideas more readily than the vector lineart that I usually use.  I recorded my voice (without the discussion of participants) and resynchonrized the slides and movies into a package.  The result was about 36 minutes of presentation, while the full Dialogic Drinks sessions each ran for more than 2.5 hours.

This recording of the presentation segments is available on Youtube , as well as on the Internet Archive .… Read more (in a new tab)

What Can Systems Thinkers Learn From an Evaluation Mindset? | Cameron D. Norman + Tara Campbell | Systems Thinking Ontario 2024-02-12

At the 118th meeting of Systems Thinking Ontario in February 2024, behavioral scientist Cameron D. Norman and design strategist Tara Campbell were invitied for a conversation guided by Zaid Khan.  The panelists are both alumni of the Strategic Foresight and Innovation program at OCADU.  Some time ago, they had conducted a research project on evaluation together, so this event was an opportunity for them to catch up at a relaxed pace.

As usual, participants had a round of self-introductions.   The panelists were guided through a conversation in three parts with focus questions, and participants were invited to offer their reflections and insights.  One linkage to modes of systems thinking was the distinction in approach by interest, e.g. Principles-Focused Evaluation, c.f. Developmental Evaluation.

This recording of the session is available on Youtube, as well as on the Internet Archive .

Video H.264 MP4
February 12
[20240212_ST-ON_EvaluationMindset CameronDNorman_TaraCampbell.m4v
(1920×1080 1333kbps 1.16GB)
[on the Internet Archive]

A standalone audio was also created during the meeting.

February 12
[20240212_ST-ON_EvaluationMindset CameronDNorman_TaraCampbell.m4a]
(126kbps, 103 MB)
[on the Internet Archive]

The gist of the description is below, with pre-readings linked on the original abstract.

— begin excerpt —

Systems thinkers often seek to affect systems through their ideas and actions, but how do we know we’ve made a difference? How might we measure what matters in ways that respect the various dynamics at play in often complicated and complex systems?… Read more (in a new tab)

Reframing Systems Thinking for Systems Changes: Sciencing and Philosophizing from Pragmatism towards Processes as Rhythms | JISSS

An article on “sciencing and philosophizing”, coauthored by Gary S. Metcalf and myself, has been published in the Journal of the International Society for the Systems Sciences, following the ISSS 2023 Kruger Park conference in South Africa, last July.  There’s a version cacned on  the Coevolving Commons.

This article started in a series of conversations with Gary in early 2023, as he was listening to the history of Pragrmatism as an audiobook of The Metaphysical Club: A Story of Ideas by Louis Menand, written in 2002.  Key figures in the development of this philosophy includes William James (1842—1910) and Charles Sanders Peirce (1839—1914).  My interests have taken me backwards in time, with C. West Churchman and Russell Ackoff both students of Edgar A. Singer, Jr., who was a student of William James.  A thread looking into Stephen C. Pepper, also a student of William James and Ralph Barton Perry, was encouraged by online comments from Michael C. Jackson, OBE.  This led to a tracing of philosophical influences from the 1890s to 2000.

Institutional lineages of key figures in systems sciences and pragmatism

With my current research into Classical Chinese philosophy, I was encouraged by an 1993 interview citing Churchman having a similar interest for in exploring alternatives to classical Western philosophy for sciencing on systems.

In conversations with Churchman on the historical sources of systems thinking, he often identified the Chinese I Ching as the oldest systems approach. As an effort to model dynamic processes of changing relationships between different kinds of elements, the I Ching might be seen as a systemic approach, in contrast with the more systematic approach of rationalist Western thought, rooted in the work of Plato and Aristotle.

Read more (in a new tab)

What Can Systems Thinkers Learn from Educational Game Studies | Scott DeJong + Geoff Evamy-Hill | Systems Thinking Ontario 2024-01-15

For the January 2024 Systems Thinking Ontario session, educational game designer Scott DeJong and innovation designer Geoff Evamy Hill joined a conversation moderated by Zaid Khan.  Mutual interests in the new field of educational design and games were at the core of the discussion.  This was an opportunity for systems thinkers to expand their knowledge on developments that were not in present in the 20th century.

After the usual round of self-introduction by web conference participants, Scott and Geoff described their experiences in the field, and ongoing research questions.  The conversation was segmented into three parts, so that participants had the opportunity to inject questions and comments.

This recording of the session is available on Youtube, as well as on the Internet Archive .

Video H.264 MP4
January 15
[20240115_ST-ON_EducationalGameStudies ScottDeJong_GeoffEvamyHill.m4v
(1920×1080 921kbps 814MB)
[on the Internet Archive]

A standalone audio was also created during the meeting.

January 14
[20240115_ST-ON_EducationalGameStudies ScottDeJong_GeoffEvamyHill.m4a]
(126kbps, 99 MB)
[on the Internet Archive]

Here is the core of original abstract sent in advance.

— begin excerpt —

‘Learning’ is a central focus for systems thinkers. Whether it’s an attitude, a feature of a system, or an outcome. ‘Learning’ runs through systems thinking. So what might systems thinkers learn from games that are designed for, well, learning?

Enter “Educational Game Studies”, an emerging field that focuses on how games and their systems can inform the public about various issues.… Read more (in a new tab)

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      More work than play for first part of month, in anticipation of trip to Vancouver to visit family.
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      Chinese New Year celebrations, both public and family, extended over two weekends, due to busy social schedules.
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