Coevolving Innovations

… in Business Organizations and Information Technologies

Systems thinking courses in Finland: cycle two, learning from cycle one

Over in Finland, Gary Metcalf has just started teaching a systems thinking class in the Creative Sustainability program at Aalto University.  Speaking with him yesterday, he described a situation similar to that which I experienced last year:  graduate students intrigued by systems ideas, yet slightly overwhelmed with the shift in perspective; and an appreciation that an intensive class taught over eight days is a lot of territory to cover.  The scheduling of two courses — one in the fall, and one in the spring — fortunately allows some time for intuitions to naturally develop in reflection, between the two weeks of formal classes.  Learning is not a linear activity.

Students — who take these systems thinking courses as a requirement, not an elective — may wonder how these courses came to be.  I served as content creator for two new courses on systems thinking at Aalto University in October 2010 and in February 2011.  The ISSS Hull 2011 meeting provided me with an opportunity to summarize the context and thinking that went into developing the two systems thinking courses de novo for Aalto University.  This article — “Systems Thinking Courses in the Master’s Programme on Creative Sustainability at Aalto University: Reflections on Design and Delivery of the 2010-2011 Sessions” — is available on the Coevolving Commons, and published in the Proceedings of the 55th Annual Meeting of the ISSS.  At ISSS Hull 2011, the outline was presented as a map.

Map: Systems Thinking Courses in the Master's Programme in Creative Sustainability at Aalto University

Some people will be interested in the course content per se.  The artifacts for CS0004 in October 2010 and CS0005 in February 2011 continue to be available as open courseware accessible over the Internet.  (Gary has now taken responsibility to evolve that content).  As I wrote descriptions about the course journey, the article itself surfaced systemic perspectives.  In order to describe CS0004 (in section 4) and CS0005 (in section 5), the preconditions of the context (in section 2) and an implicit design approach (in section 3) came to the fore.  The five sections of the resulting article are:

  • 1. Introduction:  Systems thinking courses without a legacy were designed and delivered for a new master’s program without a legacy.
  • 2. Context: By spring 2010, courses on systems thinking had been slotted for the Creative Sustainability program
  • 3. Design: Two intensive courses were constructed to minimal critical specifications
  • 4. Sustainability Communities emphasis:  The October 2010 section oriented towards learning in an era of postnormal science and dialogue
  • 5. Planners and Designers emphasis: The February 2011 section oriented towards method frameworks for redesigning complex socio-ecological systems
  • 6. Future prospects:  Courses in Finland will incrementally evolve, with replicability to other contexts an open question

In writing the paper as an act of reflective practice, I came to appreciate my predisposition towards action learning in the tradition of Eric Trist more sharply.  I came to this knowledge through many years of discussions with David L. Hawk since 1998.  While I now live in Toronto, I unfortunately just missed the early 1980s period when Eric Trist was at the Action Learning Resources Group at York University, contemporaneously with Rafael Ramirez, Gareth Morgan and David Morley.

I see the students starting up their learning with postings on the Systems Community of Inquiry.  My curiosity on their progress is leading me to engage in the shared thinking, at a distance.


References

David Ing, “Systems Thinking Courses in the Master’s Programme on Creative Sustainability at Aalto University: Reflections on Design and Delivery of the 2010-2011 Sessions”, Proceedings of the 55th Annual Meeting of the International Society for the Systems Sciences, Hull, UK, July 17-22 2011.  http://coevolving.com/commons/201107-systems-thinking-creative-sustainability


Leave a Reply

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

  • RSS qoto.org/@daviding (Mastodon)

  • RSS on IngBrief

    • The Innovation Delusion | Lee Vinsel, Andrew L. Russell | 2020
      As an irony, the 2020 book, The Innovation Delusion by #LeeVinsel @STS_News + #AndrewLRussell @RussellProf shouldn’t be seen as an innovation, but an encouragement to join @The_Maintainers where an ongoing thought network can continue. The subtitle “How Our Obsession with the New has Disrupted the Work That Matters Most” recognizes actual innovation, as distinct from […]
    • Republishing on Facebook as “good for the world” or “bad for the world” (NY Times, 2020/11/24)
      An online social network reproduces content partially based on algorithms, and partially based on the judgements made by human beings. Either may be viewed as positive or negative. > The trade-offs came into focus this month [November 2020], when Facebook engineers and data scientists posted the results of a series of experiments called “P(Bad for […]
    • 1969, 1981 Emery, System Thinking: Selected Readings
      Social Systems Science graduate students in 1970s-1980s with #RussellAckoff, #EricTrist + #HasanOzbehkhan at U. Pennsylvania Wharton School were assigned the Penguin paperback #SystemsThinking reader edited by #FredEEmery, with updated editions evolving contents.
    • 1968 Buckley, “Modern Systems Research for the Behavioral Scientist: A Sourcebook”
      Resurfacing 1968 Buckley, “Modern Systems Research for the Behavioral Scientist: A Sourcebook” for interests in #SystemsThinking #SocioCybernetics #GeneralSystemsTheory #OrganizationScience . Republication in 2017 hardcopy may be more complete.
    • Wholism, reductionism (Francois, 2004)
      Proponents of #SystemsThinking often espouse holism to counter over-emphasis on reductionism. Reading some definitions from an encyclopedia positions one in the context of the other (François 2004).
    • It matters (word use)
      Saying “it doesn’t matter” or “it matters” is a common expression in everyday English. For scholarly work, I want to “keep using that word“, while ensuring it means what I want it to mean. The Oxford English Dictionary (third edition, March 2001) has three entries for “matter”. The first two entries for a noun. The […]
  • Recent Posts

  • Archives

  • RSS on daviding.com

    • 2020/12 Moments December 2020
      Approaching winter solstice, the temperature in Toronto hovers around freezing, and we see a mix of rain and snow.
    • 2020/11 Moments November 2020
      Day shortening and temperatures dropping meant bundling up for bicycling.
    • 2020/10 Moments October 2020
      Clear autumn near home in Toronto, extended with a family vacation within Canada to Vancouver, where the Covid rates are more favourable
    • 2020/09 Moments September 2020
      Discovering more of the neighbourhood, bicycling mostly in the mornings.
    • 2020/08 Moments August 2020
      Moderate summer temperatures in a city normally overheated with activity, residents gradually emerging as public venues opened cautiously.
    • 2020/07 Moments July 2020
      Daytimes full of new work assignment and training, evenings and weekends bicycling around downtown Toronto as it slowly reopens from pandemic.
  • 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