Coevolving Innovations

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Strategic Communications + The Brand Stack, Zaid Khan + David Akermanis (ST-ON 2020/09/14)

Two Major Research Projects (MRPs) — they might be called master’s theses elsewhere — by Zaid Khan and David Akermanis reflect the Systemic Design agenda within the OCADU program on Strategic Foresight and Innovation (SFI).    To graduate, all SFI students complete an MRP.  With many subjects and techniques covered during SFI studies, only a few exercise Systemic Design at their core.

The September session of Systems Thinking Ontario came shortly after the defence of the two MRPs in August.  As we had suspended convening in person during 2020, our monthly meeting was conducted online.  This afforded recordings to be shared more widely.

The video file is also available on the Internet Archive, for those who prefer a downloadable option.

Video H.264 MP4
September 14
(1h27m)
[20200914_ST-ON_Khan_Akermanis.mp4]
(FHD 785kbps 293MB) [on archive.org]

The digital audio originally in M4A format has also been transcoded to MP3.

Audio
September 14
(1h27m)
[20200914_ST-ON_Khan_Akermanis.m4a]
(43MB)
20200914_ST-ON_Khan_Akermanis.mp3]
(38MB)

Here is the original description for the Systems Thinking Ontario September 14, 2020, session.

— begin paste —

Strategic Communications + The Brand Stack

A Major Research Project at OCADU is roughly equivalent to a Master’s Degree thesis (with some administrative differences). To start off the new academic year, we will have fresh presentations following the successful defences in the Strategic Foresight & Innovation Program at OCADU over the last month, by Zaid Khan and David Akermanis.

(1) A Systems-Oriented Approach to Strategic Communications — Zaid Khan

Systemic Design has emerged as both a theory and a practice that integrates design thinking and systems thinking to help designers cope with complex social systems.… Read more (in a new tab)

Two Major Research Projects (MRPs) — they might be called master’s theses elsewhere — by Zaid Khan and David Akermanis reflect the Systemic Design agenda within the OCADU program on Strategic Foresight and Innovation (SFI).    To graduate, all SFI students complete an MRP.  With many subjects and techniques covered during SFI studies, only a few exercise Systemic Design at their core.

The September session of Systems Thinking Ontario came shortly after the defence of the two MRPs in August.  As we had suspended convening in person during 2020, our monthly meeting was conducted online.  This afforded recordings to be shared more widely.

The video file is also available on the Internet Archive, for those who prefer a downloadable option.

Video H.264 MP4
September 14
(1h27m)
[20200914_ST-ON_Khan_Akermanis.mp4]
(FHD 785kbps 293MB) [on archive.org]

The digital audio originally in M4A format has also been transcoded to MP3.

Audio
September 14
(1h27m)
[20200914_ST-ON_Khan_Akermanis.m4a]
(43MB)
20200914_ST-ON_Khan_Akermanis.mp3]
(38MB)

Here is the original description for the Systems Thinking Ontario September 14, 2020, session.

— begin paste —

Strategic Communications + The Brand Stack

A Major Research Project at OCADU is roughly equivalent to a Master’s Degree thesis (with some administrative differences). To start off the new academic year, we will have fresh presentations following the successful defences in the Strategic Foresight & Innovation Program at OCADU over the last month, by Zaid Khan and David Akermanis.

(1) A Systems-Oriented Approach to Strategic Communications — Zaid Khan

Systemic Design has emerged as both a theory and a practice that integrates design thinking and systems thinking to help designers cope with complex social systems.… Read more (in a new tab)

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. 
Read more (in a new tab)

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)

Digest on Service Systems Science at Tokyo Institute of Technology (2009)

Systems Sciences Meet Service SciencesThe Service Innovation Educational Program at the Tokyo Institute of Technology hosted an “Open Seminar on Service Systems Science” (with a flyer in PDF) — as well as a private “Invited Workshop on Services Science, Management and Engineering” — in February 2009.

I’ve just noticed that much of the content is totally opaque to people who don’t read Japanese, so I’ve posted my (English-language) digest of the meetings on the Coevolving Innovation Commons.  The text is incomplete, but it at least provides a minimal sketch of some of the ideas discussed. (Digital photographs help, too!).  Speakers include:

The 2009 meetings were an annual extension of the 2008 21st Century CoE Symposium, and the first Invited Workshop on SSME.

With many of the researchers coming from a perspective of systems science, the trend has been to work out some of the ideas on an emerging science of service systems.

Systems Sciences Meet Service SciencesThe Service Innovation Educational Program at the Tokyo Institute of Technology hosted an “Open Seminar on Service Systems Science” (with a flyer in PDF) — as well as a private “Invited Workshop on Services Science, Management and Engineering” — in February 2009.

I’ve just noticed that much of the content is totally opaque to people who don’t read Japanese, so I’ve posted my (English-language) digest of the meetings on the Coevolving Innovation Commons.  The text is incomplete, but it at least provides a minimal sketch of some of the ideas discussed. (Digital photographs help, too!).  Speakers include:

The 2009 meetings were an annual extension of the 2008 21st Century CoE Symposium, and the first Invited Workshop on SSME.

With many of the researchers coming from a perspective of systems science, the trend has been to work out some of the ideas on an emerging science of service systems.

Innovation as open, collaborative, multidisciplinary, global

On more than one occasion, I’ve heard IBM executives assert:

The nature of innovation has changed. In the 21st century, innovation is open, collaborative, multidisciplinary and global.

The ideas of open, collaborative, multidisciplinary and global appeared in the Global Innovation Outlook 2.0 report that was published in mid-2006. These words appeared on IBM-internal slides presented by Nick Donofrio at an Consulting Leadership Exchange in September 2005, and at the external-facing conference on Education for the 21st Century in October 2006 … with lots of other occasions in between. But what do these four words mean?

To make some sense for myself, I’ve extended these words into phrases and contrasted their contexts in a table .

  Industrial age nature of innovation   21st century nature of innovation
Strategy Private methods and development enabling autonomous control over designs + Open standards and interfaces leveraging expedient platforms for advancing designs
Relationship Transactional production chains linked by inter-organizational contracting + Collaborative alliances coproducing accelerated learning
Method Analytical problem-solving + Multidisciplinary conversations
Economics Colonial trade + Global talent

I’ve been listening to audio recordings of Donofrio in conversation, as well as following Irving Wladawsky-Berger’s blog. While I believe that my reasoning is consistent with theirs, this is not something they’ve endorsed. When I present the right column to audiences, I generally see nods in agreement. At the same time, the implications of a contrasting left column on current business practices provokes some deeper reflections.… Read more (in a new tab)

On more than one occasion, I’ve heard IBM executives assert:

The nature of innovation has changed. In the 21st century, innovation is open, collaborative, multidisciplinary and global.

The ideas of open, collaborative, multidisciplinary and global appeared in the Global Innovation Outlook 2.0 report that was published in mid-2006. These words appeared on IBM-internal slides presented by Nick Donofrio at an Consulting Leadership Exchange in September 2005, and at the external-facing conference on Education for the 21st Century in October 2006 … with lots of other occasions in between. But what do these four words mean?

To make some sense for myself, I’ve extended these words into phrases and contrasted their contexts in a table .

  Industrial age nature of innovation   21st century nature of innovation
Strategy Private methods and development enabling autonomous control over designs + Open standards and interfaces leveraging expedient platforms for advancing designs
Relationship Transactional production chains linked by inter-organizational contracting + Collaborative alliances coproducing accelerated learning
Method Analytical problem-solving + Multidisciplinary conversations
Economics Colonial trade + Global talent

I’ve been listening to audio recordings of Donofrio in conversation, as well as following Irving Wladawsky-Berger’s blog. While I believe that my reasoning is consistent with theirs, this is not something they’ve endorsed. When I present the right column to audiences, I generally see nods in agreement. At the same time, the implications of a contrasting left column on current business practices provokes some deeper reflections.… Read more (in a new tab)

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