Coevolving Innovations

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Envisioning Innovation in Service Systems: Induction, Abduction and Deduction

In engagements with clients/customers, my work often includes system envisioning: facilitating the description of a collective desirable future (on a horizon of maybe 1 to 3 years out).  Once a group has converged on a future state or vision, moving forward is merely a matter of will.  Defining that future state, however, is more art than science.  In addition, with many more businesses operating as service systems, getting a handle on the invisible work that will be performed can be a challenge.  Work practices will coevolve with new technologies in ways unfamiliar to experiences to date.

In discussions with my colleagues, differences between their engagement approach and mine became clearer.  I understand and appreciate the process-based methods (e.g. process consultation by Ed Schein) used by large consulting teams, but my typical engagement is now timeboxed to a few weeks elapsed time, with just a few interviewers.  Some executive sponsors may ask for an interview guide in advance of coming onsite, but I don’t use a formally-structured guide.  The context for 60-to-90 minute interviews are light — we want people to talk about time-intensive activities and annoyances in their jobs — and generally find that interviewees would be happy if small adjustment could be made so that each would have to do less work.

Reflecting on these methods, I’ve seen a pattern of three stages in this approach:

  • (1) Induction: Rather than coming in with a preconceived model of how work gets done in a particular business, let those closest to the activities speak freely. 
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In engagements with clients/customers, my work often includes system envisioning: facilitating the description of a collective desirable future (on a horizon of maybe 1 to 3 years out).  Once a group has converged on a future state or vision, moving forward is merely a matter of will.  Defining that future state, however, is more art than science.  In addition, with many more businesses operating as service systems, getting a handle on the invisible work that will be performed can be a challenge.  Work practices will coevolve with new technologies in ways unfamiliar to experiences to date.

In discussions with my colleagues, differences between their engagement approach and mine became clearer.  I understand and appreciate the process-based methods (e.g. process consultation by Ed Schein) used by large consulting teams, but my typical engagement is now timeboxed to a few weeks elapsed time, with just a few interviewers.  Some executive sponsors may ask for an interview guide in advance of coming onsite, but I don’t use a formally-structured guide.  The context for 60-to-90 minute interviews are light — we want people to talk about time-intensive activities and annoyances in their jobs — and generally find that interviewees would be happy if small adjustment could be made so that each would have to do less work.

Reflecting on these methods, I’ve seen a pattern of three stages in this approach:

  • (1) Induction: Rather than coming in with a preconceived model of how work gets done in a particular business, let those closest to the activities speak freely. 
Read more (in a new tab)
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    • daviding: “Reassured that qoto.org is on the Wayback Machine @interneta…” November 27, 2022
      Reassured that qoto.org is on the Wayback Machine @internetarchive .https://web.archive.org/web/20220000000000*/Qoto.org
    • daviding: “Researching #Contextualism, online archive of "#RootMetaphor…” November 26, 2022
      Researching #Contextualism, online archive of "#RootMetaphor: The Live Thought of #StephenCPepper" from Paunch 1980 magazine is helpful. Philosopher of aesthetics a follower of #JohnDewey, contemporary of #KurtLewin, senior to #ThomasKuhn, #EricTrist https://ingbrief.wordpress.com/2022/11/26/root-metaphor-the-live-thought-of-stephen-c-pepper-1980/ #SystemsThinking
    • daviding: “#Autopoiesis, as coined by #HumbertoMaturana, is in the #Con…” November 23, 2022
      #Autopoiesis, as coined by #HumbertoMaturana, is in the #Contextualist #RootMetaphor of #StephenCPepper, rather than the organismic root metaphor, say #HowardMancing and #JenniferMarstonWilliam #PurdueLibArts https://ingbrief.wordpress.com/2022/11/23/autopoiesis-as-in-the-contextualist-root-metaphor-mancing-marston-william-2022/ #SystemsThinking
    • daviding: “As much as #JudithRosen channels the work of her father, #Ro…” November 17, 2022
      As much as #JudithRosen channels the work of her father, #RobertRosen, the long conversations on #AnticipatorySystems she used to have with him have led to #SystemsThinking ideas that are probably officially unpublished by him, and should be credited to Judith herself. > I have come to view the consciously aware mind, as experienced by human […]
    • daviding: “A fork of Mastodon is Fedibird, with features more like Twit…” November 16, 2022
      A fork of Mastodon is Fedibird, with features more like Twitter. https://github.com/fedibird/mastodonThe lead developer is @noellabo . The Fedibird site looks to prefer Japanese writers. https://fedibird.com/explore If anyone knows of English language Fedibird instances, perhaps we could help others to find them.
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