Prior talks on Service Systems Thinking have focused on basics. For this year’s Symposium on Service Systems Science at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, I decided to step up the emphasis in a short presentation on some selected ideas:
An unfolding is a process which gets you from one stage or moment of development to the next moment of development, in the evolution of a neighborhood or in the evolution of a building; and
Value is dynamic, with access consciousness ex-ante and ex-post, and phenomenological consciousness in lived experience
From the 8 practices employed by Christopher Alexander on the 1985 Eishin project, I focused on one:
Find systems of centers in (i) the notions in people’s minds, and (ii) the places in the land. Combine them.
These ideas are at the core of how systems thinking is intertwined with service science, and pattern languages. Jim Kijima and Hiroshi Deguchi arranged for a videographer this year, so there’s a record of the presentation.
Christopher Alexander’s work described the architecting of built physical environments. The 1977 book A Pattern Language bears the subtitle “Towns, Buildings, Construction”. This approach was developed in the context of architectural programming and problem seeking originating the late 1960s. It was complemented by methods described in The Oregon Experiment, and theory in The Timeless Way of Building. Appreciating the philosophy embraced in the practice of building environment structure leads to a lot of reading. The challenge has been made harder by Alexander continually evolving his vocabulary and definitions throughout his career to 2012, with his last publication of The Battle for Life and Beauty of the Earth.
Service Systems Science inquires into a world that is not necessarily physical. Is it possible to remain relatively true to the pattern language approach developed by Christopher Alexander, and extend that into a new domain labelled Service Systems Thinking?
PLoP conferences produce proceedings, where authors take the comments from the reviewers to revise the writings. The timeline for completion was by January 2015. In months between the Allerton meeting and the deadline, I managed to complete a coherent manuscript which was scheduled to be formally published by the ACM. Self-publishing on the Internet is now easy, so it’s easy to distribute the author’s version of the work.
“Service systems thinking” is proffered as a label for an emerging body of work that: (i) builds on social systems thinking (i.e. socio-psychological, socio-technical and socio-ecological systems perspectives) to advance a transdisciplinary appreciation of service systems science, management, engineering and design; (ii) explores opportunities to enrich Alexanderian patterns and categorized pattern catalogs into a generative pattern language; and (iii) collaborates on new platforms, moving from inductive-consensual wiki pages to a multiple-perspectives (federated) wiki.
A meeting of systems scientists and systems engineers together as the Systems Science Working Group at the INCOSE International Workshop 2014 provided a forum for “a proposal for collaboration on a pattern language for service systems (science, management, engineering and design)”. The title is deliberately long, and required some hours to unpack the content in the slide deck.
[Rob Hoskins]: What’s been your opinion of subsequent peoples’ attempts at doing Pattern Languages – I’ve seen a couple of different ones, have you seen many?
[Christopher Alexander]: Some. They’re not that good. The reason I say that is that the people who’ve attempted to work with Pattern Languages, think about them, but are not conscious of the role of morphological elegance in the unfolding. In a biological case, they always are elegant and the unfolding morphology is a sort of magic. But it’s very simple. It’s not as if it’s magic because it’s complicated, it’s just … like that.
[Rob Hoskins]: I guess when we were talking before about how a Pattern Language goes from the large down to the small, maybe when we were talking about it as going outwards maybe it is more like an unfolding process?
[Christopher Alexander]: I think it is yes. The business of going from the large to the small was more for convenience….you could make sense of the book most easily like that but it isn’t necessarily the way to actually do it.
While contributors to this project can learn from prior art in pattern languages, there’s some basic contexts to be understood and appreciated.
A. Service systems (science, management, engineering and design)
The style of reports in the original IBM Consulting Group style is explained well by @buckwem, with presentation slides in landscape format following Minto’s pyramid principle structured with horizontal logic and vertical logic. I never met Mark Buckwell during my IBM career, but he’s been there since 1993, so we “went to the same school”. If I’m not using this style in a presentations, it’s for a conscious reason, as this way of writing and presenting is always in the back of my mind.
The Pyramid Principle from Barbara Minto was first written over forty years ago and defines a logical way of writing reports and presentations. The technique first came from McKinsey and Company but it is now used by many management consulting companies including IBM Global Business Services.
Kariniemi Park: Pikku-Vesijärvi pond is famous for largest musical fountains in the Nordics, but after dark, not on a fall Sunday afternoon. Friend has moved to small town Lahti, commuting 3 days a week to Helsinki, enjoying the quiet after 5 years in busy London. Re-establishing previous university ties to share intelligence on how times have changed (Kariniemi Park, Lahti, Finland) 20151004
Linna Bike Cafe: Celebration by Kata and Emmi @LinnaBikeShop Cafe, new business partnership. Family and friends came to wish well, enjoy in cameraderie. Mud cake a big hit in chocolate richness. A few days ago, observed much activity in preparing the space and scrubbing the kitchen. Now ready for customers. (Linnan Pyöräverstaan Kahvila, Verkatehdas, Hämeenlinna, Finland) 20151003
Bulevardi 31, P317: Master’s students @metropolia taking a stretch after the first hour of lecture on Service Systems Thinking. Combined classes from Industrial Management and Logistics programs, for a special two hour presentation. From the instructor’s view, there was a lot of content to cover, maybe we can structure a better paced program next time. It’s the 10th year anniversary since we cofounded the Master’s program in Industrial Management. This building housed the Helsinki University of Technology until 1966. (Metropolia Ammattikorkeakoulu / Helsinki Metropolia University of Applied Sciences, Bulevardi 31, Helsinki, Finland) 20151002