Coevolving Innovations

… in Business Organizations and Information Technologies

Conversations on an emerging science of service systems (IFSR Pernegg 2010)

Earlier this year, in April, the International Federation for Systems Research hosted its biannual research conversation, this time in Pernegg, Austria.  This meeting was a four-day opportunity to continue developing ideas on the emerging science of service systems begun in July 2009.

The proceedings from the meeting have now been published.  I’ve extracted the chapter for our team as a separate downloadable document.  The report starts with a description of our activities, and an outline of our progress.

The conversation began with self-reflections on personal experiences leading each of the individuals to the systems sciences, acknowledging the influence of those trajectories on their perspectives on service systems.  In recognition of this science of service systems as a potentially a new paradigm, much of the time together was spent in sensemaking about the intersection between ongoing services research and systems sciences perspectives.  This sensemaking led the team to focus the dialogue more on posing the right questions to clarify thinking broadly, as opposed to diving deeply towards solutions that would be tied up as issues within a problematique.

During the conversation, the progress on ideas was recorded on flipcharts.  Nearing the end of our time together, the team cut up the flipcharts with scissors, and collated the discussion threads into five clusters:  (i) philosophy; (ii) science; (iii) models; (iv) education; (v) development.  With service systems as a new domain, the team found all five clusters underdeveloped.  Recognizing that all five clusters are coevolving, the phenomenon of service systems was listed in order from the most concrete (i.e. development) through the most abstract (i.e. philosophy).  Each of the five clusters was then summarized by a meta-question.

  • 1. Development: How do we transition from the current paradigm?
  • 2. Education: How do we help others learn about service systems?
  • 3. Models: How do we understand and decribe service systems?
  • 4. Science: What do we know about service systems?
  • 5. Philosophy: Why do (or should) we care about services systems?

Each of the meta-questions is described below, with some of the dialogue content associated with the question clusters.

IFSR conversations follow the methods of Béla H. Bánáthy, which means that each participant starting from triggering questions individually develops partial answers and (possibly even more) partial questions.  At Pernegg, we had researchers from four countries (which is even more complicated when we list current places of residency in addition to nationality):

As researchers, we puzzled our way through developing an appreciation for service systems at a foundational level.  To give a deeper sense of the territory that we covered during the conversation, here’s an outline of the final report.

  • 1. Development of service systems:  How do we transition from the current paradigm?
    • 1.1 What are the entry points to service systems from where they are?
    • 1.2 Which systems are better suited for “designing with” rather than “designing for”?
    • 1.3 What motivations or incentives encourage the shift to service systems from the legacy state?
    • 1.4 Do we know of concrete examples of the new service systems?
  • 2. Education on service systems: How do we help others learn about service systems?
    • 2.1 Through which processes will novices / beginners best learn about service systems?
    • 2.2 How do the systems sciences help in learning about service systems?
    • 2.3 How is the approach to service systems different from prior approaches to education?
  • 3. Models of service systems: How do we understand and describe service systems?
    • 3.1 What should the model deal with?  For what purposes to we model service systems?
    • 3.2 How do we reconcile service systems across scientists, engineers and managers?
    • 3.3 In which ways are service system models different from other models of the world we’ve already created?
  • 4. Science of service systems: What do we know about service systems?
    • 4.1 What is the scope of a science of service systems?
    • 4.2 Are service systems really new?
    • 4.3 How far are we on advancing a science of service systems?
  • 5. Philosophy of service systems: Why do (or should) we care service systems?
    • 5.1 Why would we need a philosophy of service systems?
    • 5.2 What shifts in philosophy might be associated with a service systems approach?
    • 5.3 What is the scope of a philosophy of service systems?
  • 6. Continuing inquiry

People looking for simple answers may be disabused of that idea, as this group of researchers didn’t have that end as a goal.  People who are interested in foundational questions may find the downloadable chapter of interest.

1 Comment


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • RSS qoto.org/@daviding (Mastodon)

    • New status by daviding August 19, 2019
      In the Canadian press, this is attributed to inverted yield curve, resulting from the trade war. > Anyone buying that bond is willingly buying an investment that's guaranteed to lose money, but investors are more than happy to buy it up - because the fear is that alternative investments will fare even worse. [....]> Those […]
    • New status by daviding August 19, 2019
      There's something seriously wrong in the global financial markets, when banks are offering mortgages at zero or negative rates. > Jyske Bank, Denmark's third largest, has begun offering borrowers a 10-year deal at -0.5%, while another Danish bank, Nordea, says it will begin offering 20-year fixed-rate deals at 0% and a 30-year mortgage at 0.5%.> […]
    • New status by daviding August 18, 2019
      Web video of Systems Changes: Learning from the Christopher Alexander Legacy, extending #patternlanguage especially Eishin School and Multi-Service Centers methods-in-practice. For #SystemsThinking Ontario, up the learning curve on ongoing research. http://coevolving.com/blogs/index.php/archive/systems-changes-learning-from-the-christopher-alexander-legacy-st-on-2019-02-11/
    • New status by daviding August 16, 2019
      Web video of presentation of Evolving Pattern language towards an Affordance Language, 2018, on week visiting#RaphaelArar and #JimSpohrer at Almaden. Insider's history of science and prospects http://coevolving.com/blogs/index.php/archive/evolving-pattern-language-towards-an-affordance-language-almaden-2018-05-09/#systemsthinking #patternlanguage
    • New status by daviding August 12, 2019
      Web videos of keynote presentation "Innovation Learning for Sustainability: What's smarter for urban systems" for 2018 International Conference on Smart Cities and Design (SCUD) in Wuhan. http://coevolving.com/blogs/index.php/archive/innovation-learning-for-sustainability-scud-2018-04-21/
  • RSS on IngBrief

  • Recent Posts

  • Archives

  • RSS on daviding.com

    • 2019/08 Moments August 2018
      Enjoyed summer with events in Toronto, followed by trips back my home town Gravenhurst, staying overnight for the first time in over 30 years.
    • 2019/07 Moments July 2019
      Busy month of living every day of the summer to the fullest, visiting family and friends, enjoying the local sights of the city.
    • 2019/06 Moments June 2019
      Summer arrived in Toronto, with the month ending in travel to BC and Oregon.
    • 2019/05 Moments May 2019
      Family time, empty nest, short trip to conference nearby, friends at home.
    • 2019/04 Moments April 2019
      End of a 23-day visit in Shanghai, readjusting to Eastern Time with the many lecture, meetup, friends and family distractions of Toronto.
    • 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.
  • RSS on Media Queue

  • Meta

  • 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