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.
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)
Kiinalainen Uusivuosi: Lantern dance at 10th Chinese New Year festival in Helsinki. Program of dancers, musicians and kung fu ran throughout Sunday afternoon to usher in the Year of the Monkey. With the foggy day persistent after sunset, the fireworks over nearby Töölönlahti seemed to explode low altitude for a public show. (Keskuskatu, Helsinki, Finland) 20160107
Kiasma: Art is free on first Friday night of the month at the Kiasma. The exhibition of “Demonstrating Minds: Disagreements in Contemporary Art” may reflect the prevailing pessimistic mood in the country. The long slow ramp up to the second floor is a famous feature designed by architect Stephen Holl. (Kiasma, Helsinki, Finland) 20160205
Museokatu laneway: Apartment windows look out over open parking behind five storey buildings with commercial businesses that face the street on the other side. View west doesn’t provide much sunlight, and dusk is relatively early at this northern latitude. Having a three-metre day, grading student work for tomorrow’s lecture. (Hellsten Parliament Apartments, Museokatu, Helsinki, Finland) 20160204