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Systems Changes Dialogues on Social Innovation | Centre for Social Innovation | 2024-03-18

Having reached year 6 of an espoused 10-year journey, the Systems Changes Learning Circle is (again) convening monthly Dialogues on Social Innovation at the Centre for Social Innovation in Toronto.

Starting up in 2019, the Circle was convening regularly in the Climate Ventures space at 192 Spadina Avenue. The pandemic interrupted in-person meetings, and the core group continued philoosophical and theoretical development.

A return to normalcy encourages the Circle to serve as mentors on thinking through systems echanges.

As an introduction, an online Lunch and Learn was scheduled. Dialogues can be free-flowing, with a light guidance along three questions:

  • 1. Which differences make a difference in your social innovation? Which rhythms are normal, and which are shifts?
  • 2. What influences advance or block the rhythmic shifts of your social innovation?
  • 3. Where can the pacing of systems changes, as faster or slower, favour your social innovation?

To better describe these questions, very short (5-minute) presentations were provided as orientation.

A. Welcome :05
B. Rhythms: Normal or Shift? Presentation One :05
Dialogue One :10
C. Influences: Advancing or Bocking? Presentation Two :05
Dialogue Two :10
D.Pacing that favours: Faster or Slower? Presentation Three :05
Dialogue Three :10
E. Next Meeting (poll)
Better Questions?
:10

With only an hour scheduled for the Lunch and Learn session, participants only got a brief taste of the way a dialogue would run.

Brief animations served as metaphors on which dialogues could be built. Oriented towards an audience of practitioners, the presentation defers more rigourous theoretical explanations into later mentoring.… Read more (in a new tab)

Appreciating systems changes via multiparadigm inquiry (SRBS)

An article related to the ISSS plenary talk of July 2022 has now passed the peer review process, and is published in early view for Systems Research and Behavioral Science.  It should shortly be printed in the November issue of SRBS that serves as the General Systems Yearbook.

Update on Nov. 22, 2023: A full-text, read-only version is available via the author on Article Share https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/share/author/YEVWGPGURZ5IVE7AWQRM?target=10.1002/sres.2973

Those without institutional access to journals can contact me, and I’ll send you a copy.  The article is otherwise embargoed until September 2025, at which point it can be self-archived with open access on the Coevolving Commons publications website.

The process of review, with a helpful editor, sharpens and shortens the content.  This formally published version is about 5,000 words.  The original manuscript that appears in the 2022 proceedings is about 15,000 words.  Since I cite a lot of published works of others, I prefer to embed long quotations from the original sources, so that I can keep the original meanings clear.  The extra details enable a diligent reader to not have to cross-reference and look up extended research sources, at the risk of being tedious for researchers who are familiar with that territory.

The article concludes with the following acknowledgement;

This research has been guided since 2019 by the core members of the Systems Changes Learning Circle: Zaid Khan, Dan Eng and Kelly Okamura. We have benefitted by the largess offered on the Open Learning Commons and Digital Life Collective by Robert Best.

Read more (in a new tab)

An article related to the ISSS plenary talk of July 2022 has now passed the peer review process, and is published in early view for Systems Research and Behavioral Science.  It should shortly be printed in the November issue of SRBS that serves as the General Systems Yearbook.

Update on Nov. 22, 2023: A full-text, read-only version is available via the author on Article Share https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/share/author/YEVWGPGURZ5IVE7AWQRM?target=10.1002/sres.2973

Those without institutional access to journals can contact me, and I’ll send you a copy.  The article is otherwise embargoed until September 2025, at which point it can be self-archived with open access on the Coevolving Commons publications website.

The process of review, with a helpful editor, sharpens and shortens the content.  This formally published version is about 5,000 words.  The original manuscript that appears in the 2022 proceedings is about 15,000 words.  Since I cite a lot of published works of others, I prefer to embed long quotations from the original sources, so that I can keep the original meanings clear.  The extra details enable a diligent reader to not have to cross-reference and look up extended research sources, at the risk of being tedious for researchers who are familiar with that territory.

The article concludes with the following acknowledgement;

This research has been guided since 2019 by the core members of the Systems Changes Learning Circle: Zaid Khan, Dan Eng and Kelly Okamura. We have benefitted by the largess offered on the Open Learning Commons and Digital Life Collective by Robert Best.

Read more (in a new tab)

Systems Changes Learning: Recasting and reifying rhythmic shifts for doing, alongside thinking and making | JSCI

A special issue on “Sustainable, Smart and Systemic Design Post-Anthropocene: Through a Transdisciplinary Lens” in the Journal of Systemics, Cybernetics and Informatics edited by Marie Davidová, Susu Nousala, and Thomas J. Marlowe has been released. In that issue, the journey of the Systems Changes Learning Circle from 2019 through 2022 is reviewed.

The editorial team, in the introductory article, wrote some descriptions about the contribution.

In the first paper, Ing (2023) presents an overview of the history, background, and philosophy of System Change Learning, integrating classical Chinese thought with Western professional practices to revisit the Aristotelean trilogy of doing (praxis), thinking (theoria) and making (poiesis) to construct a distinctly inter-/trans-disciplinary and collaborative approach that unifies the three.

The first paper invites a change of perspective through thinking based on in-depth exploration and explanation of the background, and philosophical approach of systemic learning, and the relationship to change. The author does this by introducing us to the concept of System Change Learning and unpacking the potential and versatility of this thinking for future applications, in particular, collaborative approaches.

This is the first fully peer-reviewed article about Systems Changes Learning in an academic journal!

Here’s the published abstract.


Abstract

Entering 2023, the Systems Changes Learning Circle completed in its fourth year of 10-year journey on “Rethinking Systems Thinking”. In a contextural action learning approach, the Circle has elevated rhythmic shifts as the feature that both resonates with practitioners in the field, and fits with a post-colonial philosophy of science bridging classical Chinese thought with Western professional practices.… Read more (in a new tab)

A special issue on “Sustainable, Smart and Systemic Design Post-Anthropocene: Through a Transdisciplinary Lens” in the Journal of Systemics, Cybernetics and Informatics edited by Marie Davidová, Susu Nousala, and Thomas J. Marlowe has been released. In that issue, the journey of the Systems Changes Learning Circle from 2019 through 2022 is reviewed.

The editorial team, in the introductory article, wrote some descriptions about the contribution.

In the first paper, Ing (2023) presents an overview of the history, background, and philosophy of System Change Learning, integrating classical Chinese thought with Western professional practices to revisit the Aristotelean trilogy of doing (praxis), thinking (theoria) and making (poiesis) to construct a distinctly inter-/trans-disciplinary and collaborative approach that unifies the three.

The first paper invites a change of perspective through thinking based on in-depth exploration and explanation of the background, and philosophical approach of systemic learning, and the relationship to change. The author does this by introducing us to the concept of System Change Learning and unpacking the potential and versatility of this thinking for future applications, in particular, collaborative approaches.

This is the first fully peer-reviewed article about Systems Changes Learning in an academic journal!

Here’s the published abstract.


Abstract

Entering 2023, the Systems Changes Learning Circle completed in its fourth year of 10-year journey on “Rethinking Systems Thinking”. In a contextural action learning approach, the Circle has elevated rhythmic shifts as the feature that both resonates with practitioners in the field, and fits with a post-colonial philosophy of science bridging classical Chinese thought with Western professional practices.… Read more (in a new tab)

Appreciating Systems Changes via Multiparadigm Inquiry | ISSS 2022 Proceedings

In the ISSS 2022 Plenary talk, the first 25 minutes were a blast through (a) the rising interest in system(s) change(s); (b) appreciative systems (Vickers); (c1) the philosophy of architectural design; (c2) the philosophy of ecological anthropology; (c3) the philosophy of Classical Chinese Medicine; (c4) the philosophy of rhythms; and (d) methods of multiparadigm inquiry, and open theorizing.

The formal publication of the manuscript in the Proceedings of the 66th Annual Meeting of the International Society for the Systems Sciences unpacks the content for those with an interest in really understanding the breadth of domains that the Systems Changes Learning Circle has explored, from 2019 through 2022.

This proceedings release is a milestone, as a coherent work that has been lightly reviewed. In a more thorough process of peer review, a publication may be further refined by anonymous comments requesting clarification of some points, or suggestions that some sections could be abbreviated. My style of writing presumes that readers might not know all of the references, so I’m explicit about sources. (This also helps me remember from whom I’m learning!)

Here’s the abstract, as it appears in the proceedings.


Abstract

In which ways is the subject of systems change(s), as a first-class concept, distinct from a reduction into (i) systems and (ii) changes? For practice, theory, and methods to be authentically rigourous, the philosophy underlying an approach to systems changes can be explicated. Through an appreciative systems framework, presumptions are surfaced as to (i) what are and are not systems changes; (ii) when, where, and for whom, systems changes are prioritized for attention; and (iii) how systems changes should be addressed.… Read more (in a new tab)

In the ISSS 2022 Plenary talk, the first 25 minutes were a blast through (a) the rising interest in system(s) change(s); (b) appreciative systems (Vickers); (c1) the philosophy of architectural design; (c2) the philosophy of ecological anthropology; (c3) the philosophy of Classical Chinese Medicine; (c4) the philosophy of rhythms; and (d) methods of multiparadigm inquiry, and open theorizing.

The formal publication of the manuscript in the Proceedings of the 66th Annual Meeting of the International Society for the Systems Sciences unpacks the content for those with an interest in really understanding the breadth of domains that the Systems Changes Learning Circle has explored, from 2019 through 2022.

This proceedings release is a milestone, as a coherent work that has been lightly reviewed. In a more thorough process of peer review, a publication may be further refined by anonymous comments requesting clarification of some points, or suggestions that some sections could be abbreviated. My style of writing presumes that readers might not know all of the references, so I’m explicit about sources. (This also helps me remember from whom I’m learning!)

Here’s the abstract, as it appears in the proceedings.


Abstract

In which ways is the subject of systems change(s), as a first-class concept, distinct from a reduction into (i) systems and (ii) changes? For practice, theory, and methods to be authentically rigourous, the philosophy underlying an approach to systems changes can be explicated. Through an appreciative systems framework, presumptions are surfaced as to (i) what are and are not systems changes; (ii) when, where, and for whom, systems changes are prioritized for attention; and (iii) how systems changes should be addressed.… Read more (in a new tab)

Reifying Systems Thinking towards Changes | ST-ON 2022-10-17

The October online meeting of Systems Thinking Ontario presented an opportunity for an update on progress made by the Systems Changes Learning Circle by 2022.  A slide deck had been prepared an in-person seminar at the Universitat de Barcelona Graduate Programmes in Business, organized by Ryan C. Armstrong, one week earlier.  Our regular monthly meeting, centered in Toronto, allowed a more leisurely pace, and a better affordance for capturing the session for playback.

The agenda provided the background history leading to the Systems Changes Learning Circle, and then focused on the practical approach to “doing” on our pilot engagement.

A. Rethinking Systems Thinking
B. Doing: Hub + 4 spokes
C. Thinking: Action learning for facilitators
D. Making: Systematic methods via multiparadigm inquiry
E. Ongoing learning opportunities

The meeting followed our usual practice of having participants introduce themselves. About 10 minutes in, the presentation on Parts A and B then started.  At 47 minutes, we took a pause for questions and comments.  At 1h14m, the presentation on Parts C, D, and E resumed.  At 1h32m, the presentation was completed, and more questions and comments were taken to the meeting ending at 1h51m.

This recording of the session is available on Youtube , as well as on the Internet Archive .

Video H.264 MP4
October 17
(1h51m20s)
[20221017_ST-ON_Ing_ReifyingSystemsThinkingTowardsChanges.m4v]
(HDPlus 1920×900 643kbps 616MB)
[on the Internet Archive]

A standalone audio was also created during the meeting.… Read more (in a new tab)

The October online meeting of Systems Thinking Ontario presented an opportunity for an update on progress made by the Systems Changes Learning Circle by 2022.  A slide deck had been prepared an in-person seminar at the Universitat de Barcelona Graduate Programmes in Business, organized by Ryan C. Armstrong, one week earlier.  Our regular monthly meeting, centered in Toronto, allowed a more leisurely pace, and a better affordance for capturing the session for playback.

The agenda provided the background history leading to the Systems Changes Learning Circle, and then focused on the practical approach to “doing” on our pilot engagement.

A. Rethinking Systems Thinking
B. Doing: Hub + 4 spokes
C. Thinking: Action learning for facilitators
D. Making: Systematic methods via multiparadigm inquiry
E. Ongoing learning opportunities

The meeting followed our usual practice of having participants introduce themselves. About 10 minutes in, the presentation on Parts A and B then started.  At 47 minutes, we took a pause for questions and comments.  At 1h14m, the presentation on Parts C, D, and E resumed.  At 1h32m, the presentation was completed, and more questions and comments were taken to the meeting ending at 1h51m.

This recording of the session is available on Youtube , as well as on the Internet Archive .

Video H.264 MP4
October 17
(1h51m20s)
[20221017_ST-ON_Ing_ReifyingSystemsThinkingTowardsChanges.m4v]
(HDPlus 1920×900 643kbps 616MB)
[on the Internet Archive]

A standalone audio was also created during the meeting.… Read more (in a new tab)

Appreciating Systems Changes via Multiparadigm Inquiry: Architectural Design, Ecological Anthropology, Classical Chinese Medicine, Systems Rhythms | ISSS plenary 2022-07-08

On the path towards a publication in 2023, this plenary talk for the International Society for the Systems Sciences 66th Annual Meeting came with a preamble. Slides were provided in advance at http://coevolving.com/commons/2022-07-08-appreciating-systems-changes, so that details might be later perused at leisure.

Here is the agenda for the presentation:

A. Rising interest in System(s) Change(s)
B. Appreciative Systems (Vickers)
C1.
Philosophy of Architectural Design
C2.
Philosophy of Ecological Anthropology
C3.
Philosophy of Classical Chinese Medicine
C4.
Philosophy of Rhythms
D. Methods: Multiparadigm Inquiry, Open Theorizing
E. Systems Changes via Three Philosophies → Systems Rhythms
F. Contributions that Systems Rhythms Offer to Systems Changes

A key aim of the presentation was to elevate systems rhythms as central to understanding. With a 60-minute time slot, an expectation was set that progress towards the table on slide 43 (Part E) would be expedited. Flipping rapidly through philosophies of architectural design, ecological anthropology, and Classical Chinese Medicine, slide 43 was reached at 25 minutes. At 44 minutes, questions and comments were welcomed. While other presentations orient more towards theory and pratice (that the audience may not have already encountered), the emphasis for this session was more methodological.

This video available on Youtube has also been archived on the Internet Archive .

Video H.264 MP4
July 8
(1h12m)
[20220708_ISSS_plenary Ing_AppreciatingSystemsChanges.m4v]
(HD 1536×720 325kbps 237MB)
[on the Internet Archive]

Audio downloadable onto mobile devices was transcoded from the video into MP3.

Audio
July 8
(1h12m)
[20220708_ISSS_plenary_Ing_AppreciatingSystemsChanges.mp3
Read more (in a new tab)

On the path towards a publication in 2023, this plenary talk for the International Society for the Systems Sciences 66th Annual Meeting came with a preamble. Slides were provided in advance at http://coevolving.com/commons/2022-07-08-appreciating-systems-changes, so that details might be later perused at leisure.

Here is the agenda for the presentation:

A. Rising interest in System(s) Change(s)
B. Appreciative Systems (Vickers)
C1.
Philosophy of Architectural Design
C2.
Philosophy of Ecological Anthropology
C3.
Philosophy of Classical Chinese Medicine
C4.
Philosophy of Rhythms
D. Methods: Multiparadigm Inquiry, Open Theorizing
E. Systems Changes via Three Philosophies → Systems Rhythms
F. Contributions that Systems Rhythms Offer to Systems Changes

A key aim of the presentation was to elevate systems rhythms as central to understanding. With a 60-minute time slot, an expectation was set that progress towards the table on slide 43 (Part E) would be expedited. Flipping rapidly through philosophies of architectural design, ecological anthropology, and Classical Chinese Medicine, slide 43 was reached at 25 minutes. At 44 minutes, questions and comments were welcomed. While other presentations orient more towards theory and pratice (that the audience may not have already encountered), the emphasis for this session was more methodological.

This video available on Youtube has also been archived on the Internet Archive .

Video H.264 MP4
July 8
(1h12m)
[20220708_ISSS_plenary Ing_AppreciatingSystemsChanges.m4v]
(HD 1536×720 325kbps 237MB)
[on the Internet Archive]

Audio downloadable onto mobile devices was transcoded from the video into MP3.

Audio
July 8
(1h12m)
[20220708_ISSS_plenary_Ing_AppreciatingSystemsChanges.mp3
Read more (in a new tab)
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