Coevolving Innovations

… in Business Organizations and Information Technologies

  • Recent Posts

  • Archives

  • RSS qoto.org/@daviding (Mastodon)

    • New status by daviding April 1, 2019
      Afternoon break in 200-year-old mid-lake pavilion included zhong, quail eggs, kumquats, sesame peanut blocks, preserved plums. Following afternoon visiting two art museums, the snack re-energized us into discussing philosophy, following the tradition of those frequenting Chinese teahouses. (Yuyuan Tea House, Yu Garden, Shanghai, PR China) 20190331 @marcocataffo
    • New status by daviding April 1, 2019
      Here in Shanghai, @marcocataffo has a Thinkpad T430 , which I've now brought up to date with Manjaro Linux (and Kubuntu LTS as a backup) alongside Windows 7. He's now 2 days jet lagged from Italy. Eventually, maybe @antlerboy will meet somewhere.
    • daviding shared a status by antlerboy@mastodon.social February 9, 2019
      @daviding Wittgenstein:"6.54 My propositions are elucidatory in this way: he who understands me finally recognizes them as senseless, when he has climbed out through them, on them, over them. (He must so to speak throw away the ladder, after he has climbed up on it.)"
    • New status by daviding February 9, 2019
      Dinner with @rms @fsf inviting the activists #CivicTechTO to gain some insight into discussions on privacy concerns #QuaysideToronto. We outlined but didn't delved into the complexity of three levels of government involved in #WaterfrontTO. (Royal Myanmar, Homer Avenue, Etobicoke, Ontario) 20190208
    • New status by daviding January 24, 2019
      Each of us can find different meaning from the same words. > The poetic prose of ancient Chinese philosopher Zhuangzi, for example, is a stunning piece of compressed thought and meaning with a deft touch of humour: ”The fish trap exists because of the fish; once you’ve gotten the fish, you can forget the trap. […]
  • RSS on IngBrief

    • Contextual dyadic thinking (Lee, 2017)
      Contextual dyadic thinking is proposed by Keekok Lee in her 2017 The Philosophical Foundations of Classical Chinese Medicine. This is as a way of appreciating Chinese implicit logic, as an alternative to dualistic thinking that has developed over centuries in Western philosophy.
    • Dao, de, wei, wuwei (Lai 2003)
      Appreciating wei and wuwei has led to the context of dao and de, in the writings of Karyn L. Lai. The scholarly review acknowledges prior interpretations of de and dao.
    • Engineering Resilience vs. Ecological Resilience (Holling, 1996)
      For @theNASciences in 1996, #CSHolling clarified definitions of resilience, with engineering seeking one equilibrium state, while ecology recognizes many. Those who emphasize the near-equilibrium definition of engineering resilience, for example, draw predominantly from traditions of deductive mathematical theory (Pimm,. 1984) where simplified, untouched ecological systems are imagined, or from traditions of engineering, where the motive […]
    • Service coproductions as reciprocal activities
      In addition to extrinsic economic exchange, #JohnMCarroll #JiaweiChen #ChienWenTinaYuan #BenjaminHanrahan @ISTatPENNSTATE say service coproductions relying on all participants to collaborate in both economic exchange and social exchange. Service coproduction is a special case of service provision in which the roles of service provider and service recipient both require active participation. Examples include healthcare, education, and […]
    • Science and Society in East and West | Joseph Needham | 2004
      In researching #SystemsChange, fundamental differences in science and philosophy in the west and the Chinese were surfaced by #JosephNeedham. A useful translation of wéi and wú wéi (i.e. 為 and 無為 , or 为 and 无为) is the ways of "human will" and "nature" as juxtaposed.
    • Wiki as computational platform
      Thinking forward on #federatedwiki, rather than backwards by @wardcunningham. > [Federated wiki] is a computational platform for the collaborative construction of things that work and will continue to work as platform technology evolves underneath it. > Too much thinking about wiki as a note-taking system will just hold it back.
  • RSS on Media Queue

  • RSS on daviding.com

    • 2019/03 Moments March 2019
      Month of intensive lectures and research meetings, in Toronto and then in Shanghai, with social breaks on local excursions to clear minds.
    • 2019/02 Moments February 2019
      Reduced exercise outside with a cold and snowy February, with excursions out of the house to warm places with family, friends and colleagues.
    • 2019/01 Moments January 2019
      January in Toronto has lots of intellectual offerings and artistic exhibitions to attract the curious out of warm homes, through cold and snow.
    • 2018/12 Moments December 2018
      Tried to have a normal month, with a busy social calendar of birthdays, a funeral plus Christmas season, while daily temperatures hovered just above freezing.
    • 2018/11 Moments November 2011
      Mentally busy month with a conference coming to town, and maintaining the regular pattern of local meetings, travel around town only by bicycle.
    • 2018/10 Moments October 2018
      October had more bicycling cross-town as fall temperatures declined, plus a 6-day trip to Portland Oregon for pattern language conferences.
  • Meta

  • Currently Viewing Posts in systems

    Doing, not-doing; errors of commission, errors of omission

    Should we do, or not-do?  Russell Ackoff, over many years, wrote about (negative) potential consequences:

    There are two possible types of decision-making mistakes, which are not equally easy to identify.

    • (1) Errors of commission: doing something that should not have been done.
    • (2) Errors of omission: not doing something that should have been done.

    For example, acquiring a company that reduces a corporation’s overall performance is an error of commission, as is coming out with a product that fails to break even. Failure to acquire a company that could have been acquired and that would have increased the value of the corporation or failure to introduce a product that would have been very profitable is an error of omission  [Ackoff 1994, pp. 3-4].

    Ackoff has always been great with turns of phrases such as these.  Some deeper reading evokes three ideas that may be worth further exploration:

    • 1. Doing or not-doing may or may not invoke learning.
    • 2. Doing or not-doing invokes implicit orientations on time.
    • 3. Doing or not-doing raises question of (i) changes via systems of willful action, and/or (ii) changes via systems of non-intrusive action.

    These three ideas, explored in sections below, lead us from the management of human affairs, beyond questions of science, and into question of philosophy.

    For those interested in the history of philosophy and science, the three ideas above are followed by an extra section:

    • Appendix. Doing or not-doing in management can be placed philosophically in American pragmatism.

    The question of doing or not-doing has been deep in the intellectual traditions of American management thinking in the latter 20th century.  The attitude of Bias for Action espoused by Tom Peters first published in 1982 exhorts managers to do.  Peters describes the shifts of 1962 “Bias of planning”, to 1982 “Bias for action” in a report card from 2001, and observes in a 2018 interview that it’s become the first of eight commandments in Silicon Valley.

    1. Doing or not-doing may or may not invoke learning

    One way of framing doing and not-doing is around decision-making mistakes.  In 1994, Ackoff was advocating strongly for organizational learning.  He criticized executives who suppress the surfacing of prior errors that might preclude the recurrence of mistakes.

    The impacts of platforms

    Concerns in the larger research body of research on platforms often leads to a subset looking into the impacts of the platform economy.  Let’s try some more digests responding to questions.

    • A. Is a shift to platforms considered as disruptive innovation?
    • B. Do network effects lead to a platform economy of “winner take all”?
    • C. With digital platforms based in information systems, what are the opportunities for knowledge effects?
    • D. What is the logic of participation on a platform?
    • E. Should platform capitalism be seen as positive or negative?
    • F. As an alternative to platform capitalism, should platform cooperativism be considered?
    • G. In the larger context of the sharing economy, how might platform initiatives be categorized?

    The rise of the platform economy may be described either by the metaphor of “We Don’t Know Who Discovered Water, But We Know It Wasn’t a Fish” or the fable of the “Boiling Frog“.

    Concerns in the larger research body of research on platforms often leads to a subset looking into the impacts of the platform economy.  Let’s try some more digests responding to questions.

    • A. Is a shift to platforms considered as disruptive innovation?
    • B. Do network effects lead to a platform economy of “winner take all”?
    • C. With digital platforms based in information systems, what are the opportunities for knowledge effects?
    • D. What is the logic of participation on a platform?
    • E. Should platform capitalism be seen as positive or negative?
    • F. As an alternative to platform capitalism, should platform cooperativism be considered?
    • G. In the larger context of the sharing economy, how might platform initiatives be categorized?

    The rise of the platform economy may be described either by the metaphor of “We Don’t Know Who Discovered Water, But We Know It Wasn’t a Fish” or the fable of the “Boiling Frog“.

    Platforms, an emerging appreciation

    The term “platform” is now popular in a variety of contexts.  What do “platforms” mean, and what research might guide our appreciation?

    Let’s outline some questions:

    • A. What came before the rise of platforms?
    • B. What types of platforms are there?
    • C. Why take a platform approach?
    • D. How do platforms manifest?
    • E. Why might a platform not be viable?
    • F. How are digital and non-digital platforms different?
    • G. What don’t researchers know about digital platforms?
    • H. What are the economic consequences of the platform economy?

    The articles cited below are not exhaustive, but they may give a sense of the ballpark.

    A. What came before the rise of platforms?

    The industrial age was typified by descriptions of “supply chains” and “value chains”, which otherwise may be called “pipelines”. Marshall Van Alstyne, Geoffrey G. Parker, and Sangeet Paul Choudary write:

    … platforms differ from the conventional “pipeline” businesses that have dominated industry for decades. Pipeline businesses create value by controlling a linear series of activities — the classic value-chain model. Inputs at one end of the chain (say, materials from suppliers) undergo a series of steps that transform them into an output that’s worth more: the finished product. [….]

    The term “platform” is now popular in a variety of contexts.  What do “platforms” mean, and what research might guide our appreciation?

    Let’s outline some questions:

    • A. What came before the rise of platforms?
    • B. What types of platforms are there?
    • C. Why take a platform approach?
    • D. How do platforms manifest?
    • E. Why might a platform not be viable?
    • F. How are digital and non-digital platforms different?
    • G. What don’t researchers know about digital platforms?
    • H. What are the economic consequences of the platform economy?

    The articles cited below are not exhaustive, but they may give a sense of the ballpark.

    A. What came before the rise of platforms?

    The industrial age was typified by descriptions of “supply chains” and “value chains”, which otherwise may be called “pipelines”. Marshall Van Alstyne, Geoffrey G. Parker, and Sangeet Paul Choudary write:

    … platforms differ from the conventional “pipeline” businesses that have dominated industry for decades. Pipeline businesses create value by controlling a linear series of activities — the classic value-chain model. Inputs at one end of the chain (say, materials from suppliers) undergo a series of steps that transform them into an output that’s worth more: the finished product. [….]

    The Systems Approach and Its Enemies | C. West Churchman | 1979

    West Churchman (1913-2004) was a Ph.D. supervisor to some luminaries in the systems sciences, including  Russell L. Ackoff, Ian Mitroff, Harold G. Nelson and Werner Ulrich.  Churchman’s 1979 book, The Systems Approach and Its Enemies, is unfortunately out of print, and is only readable on the web if you already have the text to search on.  Here, some excerpts will be surfaced that may encourage readers to seek a copy in a local library.

    Preface

    [….] This book is just another step in the search for the meaning of generality, in this case a general design of social systems.

    There are lots of themes that can be used to describe this search. Perhaps the best one is the discovery that the usual dichotomy of x or not x never seems to display the general, because neither of the above is always so prominent an aspect of the general social system. Thus there is an immense part of social systems reality that is none of the following popular dichotomies in the current literature: rational-irrational, objective-subjective, hierarchical-nonhierarchical, teleological-ateleological, deductive-nondeductive reasoning (for example, inductive or dialectical), ineffable-effable.

    West Churchman (1913-2004) was a Ph.D. supervisor to some luminaries in the systems sciences, including  Russell L. Ackoff, Ian Mitroff, Harold G. Nelson and Werner Ulrich.  Churchman’s 1979 book, The Systems Approach and Its Enemies, is unfortunately out of print, and is only readable on the web if you already have the text to search on.  Here, some excerpts will be surfaced that may encourage readers to seek a copy in a local library.

    Preface

    [….] This book is just another step in the search for the meaning of generality, in this case a general design of social systems.

    There are lots of themes that can be used to describe this search. Perhaps the best one is the discovery that the usual dichotomy of x or not x never seems to display the general, because neither of the above is always so prominent an aspect of the general social system. Thus there is an immense part of social systems reality that is none of the following popular dichotomies in the current literature: rational-irrational, objective-subjective, hierarchical-nonhierarchical, teleological-ateleological, deductive-nondeductive reasoning (for example, inductive or dialectical), ineffable-effable.

    Open Innovation Learning, Book Launch

    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.

    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.

    Eight infographics on Systems Methods (UToronto iSchool 2018)

    Learning only a single systems method is reductive.  A course that exposes breadth in a variety of systems methods encourages students to reflect on their circumstances-at-hand, and their explicit and implicit influences on guiding others in projects espousing systems thinking.  This was a premise behind the structuring of “Systems Thinking, Systems Design“, an Information Workshop (i.e. 6-week elective quarter course) offered to master’s students at the University of Toronto Faculty of Information (iSchool).

    The first class day had a short course introduction focused on the history of the systems sciences, and a minimal orientation to the most basic concept in systems theory.  Then, for the four class days that followed, student groups led 8 presentation-facilitations on a research reference cluster (with the instructor on standby as a subject matter expert on the content).  The topics included:

    1. Object Process Methodology
    2. Dialogue Mapping
    3. Idealized Design
    4. Soft Systems Methodology
    5. Viable System Model
    6. Resilience in Socio-Ecological Systems
    7. Service Systems
    8. Generative Pattern Language

    After each of the four days, students wrote Personal Appreciation Diary Logs (blog posts), mostly on the open web.  These provided feedback to the instructor for commentary (and some remediation) at the beginning of the subsequent class meeting.  We could review common understandings, difficulties and misconceptions about systems methods.

    For the last (sixth) class meeting, each student group was asked to “prepare and present an infographic poster on their impressions about the system approaches most relevant to their research”.  The conclusions reflected different interests, experiences and orientations amongst the iSchool students.

    Group 1 (Megan Ferguson and Anna Lutsky) focused on a question most relevant to their immediate career direction:  “How can librarians use systems thinking and modeling to plan for the future, enhance library services and better assist patrons?”  They emphasized Soft Systems Methodology, Service Systems, and Dialogue Mapping.

    [manual browser links to infographic for widths: 600px900px]

    Systems Thinking for Librarians: Megan Ferguson, Anna Lutsky

    Group 2 (Nadine Finlay and Hadley Staite) selected “Developing Systems Thinking” with “The new problem solving methods”.  They liked Object Process Methodology, Idealized Design, Dialogue Mapping, and Service Systems.

    Learning only a single systems method is reductive.  A course that exposes breadth in a variety of systems methods encourages students to reflect on their circumstances-at-hand, and their explicit and implicit influences on guiding others in projects espousing systems thinking.  This was a premise behind the structuring of “Systems Thinking, Systems Design“, an Information Workshop (i.e. 6-week elective quarter course) offered to master’s students at the University of Toronto Faculty of Information (iSchool).

    The first class day had a short course introduction focused on the history of the systems sciences, and a minimal orientation to the most basic concept in systems theory.  Then, for the four class days that followed, student groups led 8 presentation-facilitations on a research reference cluster (with the instructor on standby as a subject matter expert on the content).  The topics included:

    1. Object Process Methodology
    2. Dialogue Mapping
    3. Idealized Design
    4. Soft Systems Methodology
    5. Viable System Model
    6. Resilience in Socio-Ecological Systems
    7. Service Systems
    8. Generative Pattern Language

    After each of the four days, students wrote Personal Appreciation Diary Logs (blog posts), mostly on the open web.  These provided feedback to the instructor for commentary (and some remediation) at the beginning of the subsequent class meeting.  We could review common understandings, difficulties and misconceptions about systems methods.

    For the last (sixth) class meeting, each student group was asked to “prepare and present an infographic poster on their impressions about the system approaches most relevant to their research”.  The conclusions reflected different interests, experiences and orientations amongst the iSchool students.

    Group 1 (Megan Ferguson and Anna Lutsky) focused on a question most relevant to their immediate career direction:  “How can librarians use systems thinking and modeling to plan for the future, enhance library services and better assist patrons?”  They emphasized Soft Systems Methodology, Service Systems, and Dialogue Mapping.

    [manual browser links to infographic for widths: 600px900px]

    Systems Thinking for Librarians: Megan Ferguson, Anna Lutsky

    Group 2 (Nadine Finlay and Hadley Staite) selected “Developing Systems Thinking” with “The new problem solving methods”.  They liked Object Process Methodology, Idealized Design, Dialogue Mapping, and Service Systems.

    Creative Commons License
    This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License
    Theme modified from DevDmBootstrap4 by Danny Machal