Coevolving Innovations

… in Business Organizations and Information Technologies

Recordings of the book launch proceedings are now available as a web video playlist, and downloadable files.

Open Innovation Learning: Theory building on open sourcing while private sourcing was first released as a perfect bound softcopy and an open access PDF in November 2017.  In February 2018, the ePub and Mobi editions were put online.

On February 21, a special session of Systems Thinking Ontario invited friends and colleagues to celebrate the publication that had taken most of the past three years in full-time research and writing.  The recordings are available in 4 parts:

  • 1. Welcome, by Peter Jones
  • 2. Self-introductions by attendees in the audience
  • 3. Highlights of the book, presented by David Ing
  • 4. Commentary by Stephen Perelgut and Tim Lloyd, followed by questions from the audience

With family, friends and colleagues attending, this was one of the most memorable evenings of my life.

1. Welcome, by Peter Jones

As the official host of Systems Thinking Ontario at OCADU University, Peter Jones served as the master of ceremonies.

The files are also available for download onto a mobile device.

Digital video
(5m48s)
H.264 MP4 WebM
[20180221_1840_ST-ON OILTB_Jones HD_504kbps.m4v]
(HD 504Kbps 28MB)[20180221_1840_ST-ON OILTB_Jones nHD_49kpbs.m4v]
(nHD 49Kkps 8MB)
[20180221_1840_ST-ON OILTB_Jones HD_826kbps.webm]
(HD 826Kbps 45MB)[20180221_1840_ST-ON OILTB_Jones nHD_120kbps.webm]
(nHD 120Kbps 13MB)
Digital audio
(5m48s)
[20180221_1840_ST-ON_OILTB_Launch_Welcome_PeterJones.mp3]
(5MB)

Peter explained the Nordic tradition of presenting dissertation research in a venue open to the public. While this gathering was not so formal, my participation with Systems Thinking Ontario and OCAD University made this assembly a natural session.

June 2nd, 2018

Posted In: innovation, pattern language, services, systems

Tags: , ,

Leave a Comment

Positioning “A Pattern Language” more like “Creating Order of”, then “The Timeless Way of Building” more like “Negotiating Order with”, was a productive framing to discuss the systems theory inside Christopher Alexander’s thinking (as well as positioning “The Nature of Order“).

The purpose of a workshop on “Negotiating Order with Generative Pattern Language” at PLoP 2017 was to open up discussions that could deepen the foundational understanding in linkages between pattern language and systems thinking. At least three of us routed to Vancouver BC for a Monday morning start, in a quick trip from the Purplsoc meeting in Austria that finished on Saturday.  The PLoP program emphasizing writers’ workshops meant that our 90-minute dialogue didn’t conflict with any presentations.

On the audio recording, active participants in the sensemaking included Helene Finidori and Christian Kohls.  With a more relaxed pace, the open time after the slides were completed allowed some pattern language novices to also have questions answered.

PLoP 2017

The frame for discussion was slides that had previously been posted on the Coevolving Commons.

The digital audio recording has been matched up with slides, for a less ambiguous viewing as a web video.

March 10th, 2018

Posted In: pattern language, systems

Tags: , ,

Leave a Comment

Pattern language is not for wicked problems, said Max Jacobson, coauthor with Christopher Alexander of the 1977 A Pattern Language: Towns, Building, Construction.  In addition, the conventional definition of an Alexandrian pattern as “a solution to a problem in context” when applied to social change might better use the term “intervention”, rather than “solution”.

These are two of the major ideas that emerged at Purplsoc 2017 conference last October.  A 90-minute workshop was run in parallel with other breakouts.

For about the first hour, vocal participants included Max Jacobson (who had given a plenary talk on “A Building is not a Turkish Carpet“), Christian Kohls (who gave a plenary talk on “Patterns for Creative Space“) and Peter Baumgarnter (one of the Purlpsoc chairs).

As an impetus to discussion, we stepped through slides that had been posted on the Coevolving Commons.

For people who would like the next-best experience to being there, the slides have now been matched up with the digital audio recording, for viewing as a web video.

For devices decoupled from the Internet, downloadable video files are portable.

Video H.264 MP4 WebM

March 3rd, 2018

Posted In: pattern language, philosophy, systems

Tags: , , ,

Leave a Comment

What if a pattern language was opened up to contemporaneous research into wicked problems, the systems approach, ecological epistemology, hierarchy theory, and interactive value?  This 30-minute presentation at Purplsoc 2017 last October aimed to provide a broader context to a social change community focused on works of Christopher Alexander.

This talk was a complement to “Pattern Manual for Service Systems Thinking” presented a year earlier, at PUARL 2016.  Last year, the agenda was centered on the approach from Christopher Alexander, and divergences due to the changing in domain from the built environment to service systems.

The slides on the Coevolving Commons are dense.  I had showed them at the poster session in the day preceding, and promised to spend more time speaking to them in the workshop scheduled for the next day.

For 2017, the view looked beyond Alexander, to related research both at Berkeley, and elsewhere in the systems community.  The agenda was in 3 major sections (here expanded with more detailed overview of the middle section):

  • 1. What is multiparadigm inquiry?
  • 2. Where have (and might have) (1960s-2010s) paradigms influenced generative pattern language?
    • a. Over 50 years, Christopher Alexander and coauthors evolved concepts and language in built environments

January 19th, 2018

Posted In: pattern language, services, systems

Leave a Comment

At U.C. Berkeley in the 1960s, Christopher Alexander, Horst Rittel and C. West Churchman could have had lunch together.  While disciplinary thinking might lead novices to focus only on each of pattern language, wicked problems and the systems approach, there are ties (as well as domain-specific distinctions) between the schools.

Circa 1968-1970: Christopher Alexander, Horst Rittel, West Churchman

Circa 1968-1970: Christopher Alexander, Horst Rittel, West Churchman

West Churchman joined Berkeley in 1957, and initiated master’s and doctoral programs in operations research at the School of Business Administration.   From 1964 to 1970, Churchman was associate director and research philosopher at UC Berkeley’s Space Sciences Laboratory, directing its social sciences program.  After his retirement in 1981, Churchman taught in the Peace and Conflict Studies program for 13 years.

Horst Rittel came to the Berkeley College of Environmental Design in 1963, the same year that dean William Wurster recruited Christopher Alexander.  In 1973, Rittel split his time between Berkeley and the architecture faculty at the University of Stuttgart, where he founded the Institut für Grundlagen der Planung.

Christopher Alexander became a cofounder of the Center for Environmental Structure at Berkeley in 1967, gradually moving outside of the university by 2000.

The tie between Churchman and Rittel are well-documented, in a 1967 article in Management Science.

Professor Horst Rittel of the University of California Architecture Department has suggested in a recent seminar that the term “wicked problem” refer to that class of social system problems which are ill-formulated, where the information is confusing, where there are many clients and decision makers with conflicting values, and where the ramifications in the whole system are thoroughly confusing. The adjective “wicked” is supposed the describe the mischievous and even evil quality of these problems, where proposed “solutions” often turn out to be worse than the symptoms. [p. B-141]

October 14th, 2017

Posted In: pattern language, systems

Tags: , , ,

5 Comments

For the “Understanding Systems & Systemic Design” course in the program for the Master of Design in Strategic Foresight and Innovation at OCAD University, the lecture slides were the same for both the full-time cohort on March 8 and part-time cohort on March 9, while the oral presentation varied.  The target, in about 90 minutes, was to cover at least 4 of 5 sections, from:

  • 1. Architecting ↔ designing
  • 2. Service systems ← production systems
  • 3. Affordances ↔ pattern language
  • 4. Ecological anthropology ← teleology
  • 5. Inquiring systems ↔ methods

The students were alerted that some of the arrows in the section headings were double-headed, and some were single-headed — with specific meanings.  For each day, the classroom audio was recorded.  That digital audio has now been synchronized with slides that had previously been posted on the Coevolving Commons.

This session was #8 of 15 lectures for the OCADU SFI students.  They had already done some basic reading on systems approaches.  Since they were working towards a Major Research Project (a lighter weight form of a thesis) for their Master of Design degree, my overall agenda for this lecture was to have them reflect on acts of representation.   Systems have already been represented to them in a variety of forms:  textually, orally and visually.  For their Major Research Projects, they would be creating detailed representations, as ways of having their audience appreciate the in-depth study of the world and issues selected for the term.

June 7th, 2017

Posted In: design, pattern language, services, systems

Tags: , , , , ,

Leave a Comment