Video and audio recordings of my lecture for the Urban Systems course at Aalto University in February have now been produced. While I was in Finland teaching in another department, I was asked to lecture on Smarter Cities.
Here’s the abstract that was sent in advance:
The popularization of the Smarter Cities movement coincided with IBM’s campaign originating from 2009. The Smarter Cities ideas was an outgrowth from the Smarter Planet initiatives, which had emerged from the IBM Global Innovation Outlooks beginning in 2004.
This speaker was a consultant at IBM involved in Smarter Cities engagements, while simultanously conducing research into Service Systems Science.
The evolution of ideas both outside and inside IBM are reviewed, through a history of (i) systems sciences; (ii) service science, management, engineering and design (SSMED), (iii) service systems science; and (iv) smarter planet and smarter cities. Looking forward, the prospects for the (v) cognitive era and a (vi) service systems thinking is outlined.
This discussion opened with science as episteme, techne and phronesis. The context of architectural programming as problem seeking opened up a conversation about what researchers and practitioners are doing with service science. Towards concreteness in methods, the transition from structured methods to agile development was compared with action research.
Here are audio recordings of the lecture, in two parts. (Video is so much more work!)
After the philosophical introduction, circling back to the beginning of the slide deck placed more emphasis on understanding the perspective of bringing systems thinking into service science. We then rolled through content that has been (or will be covered) in the course, from a different orientation.
In the audio, there’s some banter back and forth with Kelly Lyons, who has been active in service science since its beginning. While she paces students through content over a semester, I unfortunately only lecture occasionally at universities, so I cover a lot of ground. Making digital recordings available is a favour for listeners who prefer to use a pause button to think and reflect. Read more...(288 words, 1 image, estimated 1:09 mins reading time)
Coming to Metropolia in 2015 was like a return home. In 2006, the institution was named Helsinki Polytechnic Stadia, and I collaborated on starting up the curriculum as part of the Rendez project. In recent years, I haven’t been so involved. As I was planning a trip to Europe this fall, I discovered that Satu Teerikangas had returned from teaching at UCL in the UK to Finland, becoming the Head of the Industrial Management Program. My itinerary coincided well with the course dates, so I pulled together a presentation from the evolving ideas over the last year. The audience would be a combination of students from the Industrial Management program and the Logistics program.
The session was conducted in two parts, each slightly under 60 minutes. The first part covered:
1. What could Service Systems Thinking be?
2. Systems Thinking
3. SSMED (Service Science, Management, Engineering and Design)
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.
Small brook between two houses in city centre, walking southbound on 15th Street, south of Boulder Canyon Drive and north of Arapahoe Avenue. The town is especially pleasant on a summer evening. Found the major branch of the Middle Boulder Creek at the boundary of the university, just before a long walk up a steep sidewalk. (Boulder Creek on 15th Street, Boulder, Colorado) 20160725
Pearl Street Mall: Rock waterfall on pedestrian mall has flowers painted on, and a few leaves stuck on. Escaped conference on evening to get off campus and see the town, restaurants and stores open. Relaxed pace for slow stroll back over a big hill onto campus. (Pearl Street Mall, Boulder, Colorado) 20160725
Visual Arts Complex: Ceremony honouring 60th year of the systems sciences conference, which is one full cycle in the Hindu sequence. Conference in Colorado overlaps with conference in India, so we have the world surrounded. (Visual Arts Complex, University of Colorado, Boulder) 20160724