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Humanistic Principles and Social Systems Design | Douglas Austrom + Carolyn Ordowich (ST-ON 2021-05-10)

Douglas Austrom and Carolyn Ordowich shared some reflections developed jointly with Bert Painter (Vancouver, BC) on some draft humanistic principles, the three Tavistock perspectives, and a meta-methodology with Systems Thinking Ontario.

Proponents of Socio-Technical Systems design refer back to the 1960s-1980s research of Fred Emery and Eric Trist of the Tavistock Institute. Calls to reinvent approaches to organization design for hyper-turbulent environments may be better viewed through the whole systems view of three perspective for sensemaking:

  • social-psychological systems;
  • socio-technical systems; and
  • socio-ecological systems.

Those who live and work in a given social system should be given the voice and and choice in designing their system. Calvin Pava’s notion of deliberation design applies not only to non-linear knowledge work. It can serve as a meta-methodology for dialogic design of organizations, networks and ecosystems. The role of designers shifts from designing the social system itself, to co-designing the deliberations by which key stakeholders can dynamically design their own systems.

This video has been archived on the Internet Archive .

Video H.264 MP4
May 10
(1h50m)
[20210510_ST-ON_HumanisticSocialSystemsDesign.m4v]
(FHD 1431kbps 1.2GB) [on the Internet Archive]

Audio downloadable onto mobile devices was transcoded from the video into MP3.

Audio
May 10
(1h50m)
[20210510_ST-ON_HumanisticSocialSystemsDesign.mp3]
(38MB) [on the Internet Archive]

Doug Austrom has four decades of consulting experience, having co-founded three change consultancies: Turning Point Associates, Adjutant Solutions Group, and People Powered Innovation Labs. He is an adjunct professor with Indiana University’s online MBA program, Kelly Direct.… Read more (in a new tab)

Douglas Austrom and Carolyn Ordowich shared some reflections developed jointly with Bert Painter (Vancouver, BC) on some draft humanistic principles, the three Tavistock perspectives, and a meta-methodology with Systems Thinking Ontario.

Proponents of Socio-Technical Systems design refer back to the 1960s-1980s research of Fred Emery and Eric Trist of the Tavistock Institute. Calls to reinvent approaches to organization design for hyper-turbulent environments may be better viewed through the whole systems view of three perspective for sensemaking:

  • social-psychological systems;
  • socio-technical systems; and
  • socio-ecological systems.

Those who live and work in a given social system should be given the voice and and choice in designing their system. Calvin Pava’s notion of deliberation design applies not only to non-linear knowledge work. It can serve as a meta-methodology for dialogic design of organizations, networks and ecosystems. The role of designers shifts from designing the social system itself, to co-designing the deliberations by which key stakeholders can dynamically design their own systems.

This video has been archived on the Internet Archive .

Video H.264 MP4
May 10
(1h50m)
[20210510_ST-ON_HumanisticSocialSystemsDesign.m4v]
(FHD 1431kbps 1.2GB) [on the Internet Archive]

Audio downloadable onto mobile devices was transcoded from the video into MP3.

Audio
May 10
(1h50m)
[20210510_ST-ON_HumanisticSocialSystemsDesign.mp3]
(38MB) [on the Internet Archive]

Doug Austrom has four decades of consulting experience, having co-founded three change consultancies: Turning Point Associates, Adjutant Solutions Group, and People Powered Innovation Labs. He is an adjunct professor with Indiana University’s online MBA program, Kelly Direct.… Read more (in a new tab)

Coexploring Systems Literacy, Peter Tuddenham (ST-ON 2021-03-08)

Literacy has been proposed as an understanding of a small number of pervasive principles appropriate to making informed personal and societal decisions.

  • Systems literacy includes an understanding of systems that influence you, and your influence on systems.

Peter Tuddenham has been leading an initiative on Systems Literacy across a variety of systems organizations, particularly with the International Society for the Systems Sciences, where he was president (2018-2019).

Peter joined Systems Thinking Ontario in conversation, to share his going work, with the College of Exploration.  He also invited participants to join in the monthly scheduled Cafe and Pub.

The video file is archived on the Internet Archive .

Video H.264 MP4
March 8
(1h26M
[20210308_ST-ON_SystemsLiteracy.m4v]
(4K UHD 1226kbps 840MB) [on the Internet Archive]

Audio downloadable onto mobile devices was also produced M4A.

Audio
March 8
(1h26m)
[20210308_ST-ON_SystemsLiteracy.m4a]
(79MB) [on the Internet Archive]

Open access versions of papers by Peter D. Tuddenham may be available on his ResearchGate page and/or his Academia.edu page.

This session was one in the Systems Thinking Ontario series.

Systems Literacy

Literacy has been proposed as an understanding of a small number of pervasive principles appropriate to making informed personal and societal decisions.

  • Systems literacy includes an understanding of systems that influence you, and your influence on systems.

Peter Tuddenham has been leading an initiative on Systems Literacy across a variety of systems organizations, particularly with the International Society for the Systems Sciences, where he was president (2018-2019).

Peter joined Systems Thinking Ontario in conversation, to share his going work, with the College of Exploration.  He also invited participants to join in the monthly scheduled Cafe and Pub.

The video file is archived on the Internet Archive .

Video H.264 MP4
March 8
(1h26M
[20210308_ST-ON_SystemsLiteracy.m4v]
(4K UHD 1226kbps 840MB) [on the Internet Archive]

Audio downloadable onto mobile devices was also produced M4A.

Audio
March 8
(1h26m)
[20210308_ST-ON_SystemsLiteracy.m4a]
(79MB) [on the Internet Archive]

Open access versions of papers by Peter D. Tuddenham may be available on his ResearchGate page and/or his Academia.edu page.

This session was one in the Systems Thinking Ontario series.

Systems Literacy

Creative Systemic Research, Susu Nousala + Jelena Sucic (ST-ON 2021-02-08)

The Creative Systemic Research Platform (CSRP) Institute, led by Susu Nousala and Jelena Sucic, is distinctive in approaching systemic design from a bottom-up, longitudinal perspective.  The co-presidents were able to join us in conversation at a Systems Thinking Ontario session, remotely from Finland and Switzerland, at a significant time disadvantage.

Many approaches to systemic design presume a top-down, abstract predisposition of a world that might be.  The Creative Systemic approach emphasizes learning within communities towards the development of resilience.  Scholarly communities are nurtured at a local level, distributed across multiple peri-urban regional geographies.  The work of mapping and investigating emerging economies is informed by activities that include creative expression in social complexity that produces communal well-being.

  • Susu Nousala is a professor with the College of Design and Innovation, Tongji University, Shanghai (People’s Republic of China).  She has previously had research positions at Aalto University (Finland), University of Melbourne (Australia), and Chiang Mai University (Thailand).
  • Jelena Sucic is a researcher in systemic design and sustainable processes based in Switzerland.  She previously led as the field specialist and project manager in the nascent research group, as she completed a double degree in the PoliTong project, completing a Master of Fine Arts in Product Service Service Design at Tongi University, simultaneously with a Master of Science in Systemic Design at Politecnico di Torino.

For brevity, the usual circle of introduction was requested written in chat, rather as verbal self-introductions.  This meant that our featured speakers start just a few minutes into the web video . … Read more (in a new tab)

The Creative Systemic Research Platform (CSRP) Institute, led by Susu Nousala and Jelena Sucic, is distinctive in approaching systemic design from a bottom-up, longitudinal perspective.  The co-presidents were able to join us in conversation at a Systems Thinking Ontario session, remotely from Finland and Switzerland, at a significant time disadvantage.

Many approaches to systemic design presume a top-down, abstract predisposition of a world that might be.  The Creative Systemic approach emphasizes learning within communities towards the development of resilience.  Scholarly communities are nurtured at a local level, distributed across multiple peri-urban regional geographies.  The work of mapping and investigating emerging economies is informed by activities that include creative expression in social complexity that produces communal well-being.

  • Susu Nousala is a professor with the College of Design and Innovation, Tongji University, Shanghai (People’s Republic of China).  She has previously had research positions at Aalto University (Finland), University of Melbourne (Australia), and Chiang Mai University (Thailand).
  • Jelena Sucic is a researcher in systemic design and sustainable processes based in Switzerland.  She previously led as the field specialist and project manager in the nascent research group, as she completed a double degree in the PoliTong project, completing a Master of Fine Arts in Product Service Service Design at Tongi University, simultaneously with a Master of Science in Systemic Design at Politecnico di Torino.

For brevity, the usual circle of introduction was requested written in chat, rather as verbal self-introductions.  This meant that our featured speakers start just a few minutes into the web video . … Read more (in a new tab)

The Systems Movement: Engaging Communities with Traditions and Diversity, Gary S. Metcalf (ST-ON 2021-01-11)

To appreciate how systemicists worldwide collaborate, Gary S. Metcalf joined Systems Thinking Ontario for a conversation.  Gary served as president of the International Society for the Systems Sciences 2007-2008, and of the International Federation for Sysrtems Research 2010-2016.  From 2003 to 2018, he was a graduate instructor in Organizational Systems and Research on the faculty of Saybrook University.

The Systems Movement “may be characterized as a loose association of people from different disciplines of science, engineering, philosophy, and other areas, who share a common interest in ideas (concepts, principles, methods, etc.) that are applicable to all systems and that, consequently, transcend the boundaries between traditional disciplines.” (George Klir, Facets of Systems Science, 2001).

After the standard round of introductions, the conversation began with Gary speaking a little about his background, and how he came to the systems community after graduate studies in family therapy (in the web video, at about 22m42s in).  Participants were invited to ask questions and make comments freely.

The video file are archived on the Internet Archive .

Video H.264 MP4
January 11
(2h04m)
[20210111_ST-ON_GarySMetcalf.m4v]
(nHD 281kbps 366MB) [on the Internet Archive]

For those who prefer digital audio on mobile devices, the audio was extracted as M4A from the video.

Audio
January 11
(2h04m)
[20210111_ST-ON_GarySMetcalf.m4a]
(113MB)

Since this talk, Gary has added to his writing and editing scholarly non-fiction works, with a new direction in science fiction. … Read more (in a new tab)

To appreciate how systemicists worldwide collaborate, Gary S. Metcalf joined Systems Thinking Ontario for a conversation.  Gary served as president of the International Society for the Systems Sciences 2007-2008, and of the International Federation for Sysrtems Research 2010-2016.  From 2003 to 2018, he was a graduate instructor in Organizational Systems and Research on the faculty of Saybrook University.

The Systems Movement “may be characterized as a loose association of people from different disciplines of science, engineering, philosophy, and other areas, who share a common interest in ideas (concepts, principles, methods, etc.) that are applicable to all systems and that, consequently, transcend the boundaries between traditional disciplines.” (George Klir, Facets of Systems Science, 2001).

After the standard round of introductions, the conversation began with Gary speaking a little about his background, and how he came to the systems community after graduate studies in family therapy (in the web video, at about 22m42s in).  Participants were invited to ask questions and make comments freely.

The video file are archived on the Internet Archive .

Video H.264 MP4
January 11
(2h04m)
[20210111_ST-ON_GarySMetcalf.m4v]
(nHD 281kbps 366MB) [on the Internet Archive]

For those who prefer digital audio on mobile devices, the audio was extracted as M4A from the video.

Audio
January 11
(2h04m)
[20210111_ST-ON_GarySMetcalf.m4a]
(113MB)

Since this talk, Gary has added to his writing and editing scholarly non-fiction works, with a new direction in science fiction. … Read more (in a new tab)

Redesigning Our Theories of Theories of Change, Peter H Jones + Ryan J A Murphy (ST-ON 2020/11/19)

While the term “theory of change” is often used by funders expecting an outcome of systems change for their investment, is there really a theory there?

The November 2020 Systems Thinking Ontario session was an opportunity for Peter H. Jones (OCADU) and Ryan J. A. Murphy (Memorial U. of Newfoundland) to extend talks that they had given over a few days for the Relating Systems Thinking and Design (RSD9) Symposium.

The talks covered some early research and conversation on deepening the understanding of “theories of change”.  After our usual round of self-introductions by meeting attendees, the core content starts in the web video recording after 12m45s.

The video file is also viewable and downloadable at the Internet Archive,

Video H.264 MP4
November 9
(1h56m)
[20201109_ST-ON_Jones_Murphy_TheoriesOfTheoriesOfChange.m4v]
(FHD 203kbps 276MB) [on archive.org]

The digital audio was extracted from the video, and transcoded to MP3.

Audio
November 9
(1h56m)
[20201109_ST-ON_Jones_Murphy_TheoriesOfTheoriesOfChange.mp3]
(40MB) [on archive.org]

Here is the original abstract from the Systems Thinking Ontario November 9, 2020, session.

— begin paste —

Redesigning Our Theories of Theories of Change

Peter Jones presents a customized talk from the RSD9 plenary session for ST ON. Ryan Murphy joins with a full presentation of his RSD9 talk.

We often use the model of “theories of change” to argue for the process by which envisioned change programs might achieve their goals. Essentially these are the working theories by which we explain the logic of system change outcomes, and we often include quasi-systemic logic models to communicate them.… Read more (in a new tab)

While the term “theory of change” is often used by funders expecting an outcome of systems change for their investment, is there really a theory there?

The November 2020 Systems Thinking Ontario session was an opportunity for Peter H. Jones (OCADU) and Ryan J. A. Murphy (Memorial U. of Newfoundland) to extend talks that they had given over a few days for the Relating Systems Thinking and Design (RSD9) Symposium.

The talks covered some early research and conversation on deepening the understanding of “theories of change”.  After our usual round of self-introductions by meeting attendees, the core content starts in the web video recording after 12m45s.

The video file is also viewable and downloadable at the Internet Archive,

Video H.264 MP4
November 9
(1h56m)
[20201109_ST-ON_Jones_Murphy_TheoriesOfTheoriesOfChange.m4v]
(FHD 203kbps 276MB) [on archive.org]

The digital audio was extracted from the video, and transcoded to MP3.

Audio
November 9
(1h56m)
[20201109_ST-ON_Jones_Murphy_TheoriesOfTheoriesOfChange.mp3]
(40MB) [on archive.org]

Here is the original abstract from the Systems Thinking Ontario November 9, 2020, session.

— begin paste —

Redesigning Our Theories of Theories of Change

Peter Jones presents a customized talk from the RSD9 plenary session for ST ON. Ryan Murphy joins with a full presentation of his RSD9 talk.

We often use the model of “theories of change” to argue for the process by which envisioned change programs might achieve their goals. Essentially these are the working theories by which we explain the logic of system change outcomes, and we often include quasi-systemic logic models to communicate them.… Read more (in a new tab)

Learning With Humility: Systems Thinking and Reordering Priorities (Global Change Days, 2020/10/22)

For the third of three workshops by the Systems Changes Learning Circle in October 2020, Kelly Okamura, Dan Eng and Joanne Dong led a Beacon Event for Global Change Days.

This session was one in a series for global changemakers.  Our expectation was that they would be hands-on practitioners, with relatively low familiarity with systems thinking methods and theory.

The workshop orientations were relatively short, with most of the time dedicated to two breakout periods.   In the web video, the plenary discussions and group readouts are included, with the parallel breakout conversations omitted.

The video file is accessible on the Internet Archive, should viewers want a downloadable version.

Video H.264 MP4
October 22
(58m20s)
[20201022_GCD_LearningWithHumilityReorderingOurPriorities.m4v]
(FWVGA 515kbps 298MB) [on the Internet Archive]

The digital audio is available as MP3 for those with mobile players.

Audio
October 22
(58m20s)
[20201022_GCD_LearningWithHumilityReorderingOurPriorities.mp3]
(54MB)

Here is the original description for the session.

— begin paste —

This interactive beacon session will engage change makers to think differently, to explore their relationship to learning.

The breakout sessions will provide participants an opportunity to explore the Systems Thinking questions: the urgent vs the important, the local vs. the distant, problem solving vs history-making. Finally the audience will be invited to review their self-reflections and the potential re-ordering of their priorities, to make a difference.

— end paste —

Workshop attendees were quite engaged with the challenge of making distinctions that we’ve been discussing within the Systems Changes Learning Circle. … Read more (in a new tab)

For the third of three workshops by the Systems Changes Learning Circle in October 2020, Kelly Okamura, Dan Eng and Joanne Dong led a Beacon Event for Global Change Days.

This session was one in a series for global changemakers.  Our expectation was that they would be hands-on practitioners, with relatively low familiarity with systems thinking methods and theory.

The workshop orientations were relatively short, with most of the time dedicated to two breakout periods.   In the web video, the plenary discussions and group readouts are included, with the parallel breakout conversations omitted.

The video file is accessible on the Internet Archive, should viewers want a downloadable version.

Video H.264 MP4
October 22
(58m20s)
[20201022_GCD_LearningWithHumilityReorderingOurPriorities.m4v]
(FWVGA 515kbps 298MB) [on the Internet Archive]

The digital audio is available as MP3 for those with mobile players.

Audio
October 22
(58m20s)
[20201022_GCD_LearningWithHumilityReorderingOurPriorities.mp3]
(54MB)

Here is the original description for the session.

— begin paste —

This interactive beacon session will engage change makers to think differently, to explore their relationship to learning.

The breakout sessions will provide participants an opportunity to explore the Systems Thinking questions: the urgent vs the important, the local vs. the distant, problem solving vs history-making. Finally the audience will be invited to review their self-reflections and the potential re-ordering of their priorities, to make a difference.

— end paste —

Workshop attendees were quite engaged with the challenge of making distinctions that we’ve been discussing within the Systems Changes Learning Circle. … Read more (in a new tab)

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