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What Can Systems Thinkers Learn From Music City-making? | Adam Hogan + Ziyan Hossein | Systems Thinking Ontario 2024-03-18

Beyond city-building as urban planning is the idea of a Music City.  This sees development of cultural life across a wide variety of arts, alongside economic benefits brought to the region.  At the 119th meeting of Systems Thinking Ontario in March 2024, socio-cultural designer Adam Hogan and musician-designer Ziyan Hossain joined moderator Zaid Khan in conversation.  Both panelists are alumni of the Strategic Foresight and Innovation program at OCADU.

After short self-introductions by participants, the panelists were lightly guided through some focus questions.  How does a music city relate to urban communities?  What encourages or discourages a music city?  What systems are associated with a music city?  Between focus questions, participants were invited to offer reflections and insights.

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

Video H.264 MP4
March 18
(1h53m)
[20240318_ST-ON_MusicCityMaking AdamHogan_ZiyanHossein.m4v
(1920×1080 1156kbps 908MB)
[on the Internet Archive]

A standalone audio was also created during the meeting.

Audio
March 18
(1h53m)
[20240318_ST-ON_MusicCityMaking AdamHogan_ZiyanHossein.m4a]
(126kbps, 91 MB)
[on the Internet Archive]

A short description of the session follows below, with pre-readings linked on the original abstract.


— begin excerpt —

Music and urbanization. Two aspects of life that together form the concept of a “music city”. Music cities have typically been framed as vehicles for economic development. But what else do music cities provide? What can systems thinkers learn from the the dynamics of music cities?… Read more (in a new tab)

Beyond city-building as urban planning is the idea of a Music City.  This sees development of cultural life across a wide variety of arts, alongside economic benefits brought to the region.  At the 119th meeting of Systems Thinking Ontario in March 2024, socio-cultural designer Adam Hogan and musician-designer Ziyan Hossain joined moderator Zaid Khan in conversation.  Both panelists are alumni of the Strategic Foresight and Innovation program at OCADU.

After short self-introductions by participants, the panelists were lightly guided through some focus questions.  How does a music city relate to urban communities?  What encourages or discourages a music city?  What systems are associated with a music city?  Between focus questions, participants were invited to offer reflections and insights.

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

Video H.264 MP4
March 18
(1h53m)
[20240318_ST-ON_MusicCityMaking AdamHogan_ZiyanHossein.m4v
(1920×1080 1156kbps 908MB)
[on the Internet Archive]

A standalone audio was also created during the meeting.

Audio
March 18
(1h53m)
[20240318_ST-ON_MusicCityMaking AdamHogan_ZiyanHossein.m4a]
(126kbps, 91 MB)
[on the Internet Archive]

A short description of the session follows below, with pre-readings linked on the original abstract.


— begin excerpt —

Music and urbanization. Two aspects of life that together form the concept of a “music city”. Music cities have typically been framed as vehicles for economic development. But what else do music cities provide? What can systems thinkers learn from the the dynamics of music cities?… Read more (in a new tab)

From Unfreezing-Refreezing, to Systems Changes Learning | EQ Lab Dialogic Drinks | 2024-03-14/15

EQ Lab runs Dialogic Drinks, “the kind of philosophical discussion you have in a coffee shop or bar”, twice per week.  Wtih this group interested loosely in questions on leadership, I was invited to host an online session on March 12 (evening in Hong Kong and Singapore, really early in Toronto) and on March 14-15 (evening in Toronto, morning in Hong Kong and Singapore).

The majority of the organizational change approaches presume the “unfreeze-move-refreeze” metaphor attributed to Kurt Lewin. Taking a different approach has resulted in the converging of a comprehensive alternative with Systems Changes Learning, after 5 years of development.

These Dialogic Drinks sessions are weighted less on presentation, and more on discussions and reflections.

A. Welcome Introduction :05
Ice-breaker :05
B. Rethinking Systems Presentation One :07
Dialogue One :20
Reflection One :10
C. Rethinking Systems Changes Presentation Two :07
Dialogue Two :20
Reflection Two :10
D.Rethinking Systems Changes Learning Presentation Three :07
Dialogue Three :20
Reflection Three :10
E. After Hours :30

With a condensed schedule for presentations, the imagery of short movies can express ideas more readily than the vector lineart that I usually use.  I recorded my voice (without the discussion of participants) and resynchonrized the slides and movies into a package.  The result was about 36 minutes of presentation, while the full Dialogic Drinks sessions each ran for more than 2.5 hours.

This recording of the presentation segments is available on Youtube , as well as on the Internet Archive .… Read more (in a new tab)

EQ Lab runs Dialogic Drinks, “the kind of philosophical discussion you have in a coffee shop or bar”, twice per week.  Wtih this group interested loosely in questions on leadership, I was invited to host an online session on March 12 (evening in Hong Kong and Singapore, really early in Toronto) and on March 14-15 (evening in Toronto, morning in Hong Kong and Singapore).

The majority of the organizational change approaches presume the “unfreeze-move-refreeze” metaphor attributed to Kurt Lewin. Taking a different approach has resulted in the converging of a comprehensive alternative with Systems Changes Learning, after 5 years of development.

These Dialogic Drinks sessions are weighted less on presentation, and more on discussions and reflections.

A. Welcome Introduction :05
Ice-breaker :05
B. Rethinking Systems Presentation One :07
Dialogue One :20
Reflection One :10
C. Rethinking Systems Changes Presentation Two :07
Dialogue Two :20
Reflection Two :10
D.Rethinking Systems Changes Learning Presentation Three :07
Dialogue Three :20
Reflection Three :10
E. After Hours :30

With a condensed schedule for presentations, the imagery of short movies can express ideas more readily than the vector lineart that I usually use.  I recorded my voice (without the discussion of participants) and resynchonrized the slides and movies into a package.  The result was about 36 minutes of presentation, while the full Dialogic Drinks sessions each ran for more than 2.5 hours.

This recording of the presentation segments is available on Youtube , as well as on the Internet Archive .… Read more (in a new tab)

Sensemaking and Theory-Building | Gary S. Metcalf | ST-ON 2023-02-13

The theme for the February online meeting of Systems Thinking Ontario was sparked from the discussion from the January session on Root Metaphor and World Hypotheses.  What does it mean to have a theory?  How does sensemaking contribute to this?

Gary Metcalf volunteered to guide a conversation on these topics.  Two prereadings were to serve as an orientation for the diligent:

A smaller group convened for this discussion, enabling full participation by each and every attendee.  After a quick round of introductions , the conversation started around 4m20s in.

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

Video H.264 MP4
February 13
(1h42m)
[20230213_ST-ON_Metcalf SensemakingTheoryBuilding.m4v]
(QHD 2560×1440 265kbps 289MB)
[on the Internet Archive]

A standalone audio was also created during the meeting.

Audio
February 13
(1h42m)
[20230213_ST-ON_Metcalf SensemakingTheoryBuilding.m4a]
(94.2MB)

The conversation flowed naturally.  I commented that before Gary was a professor of organizational systems, he had a prior career in family therapy.

Here is the original abstract sent in advance.


Some ideas have become everyday words.… Read more (in a new tab)

The theme for the February online meeting of Systems Thinking Ontario was sparked from the discussion from the January session on Root Metaphor and World Hypotheses.  What does it mean to have a theory?  How does sensemaking contribute to this?

Gary Metcalf volunteered to guide a conversation on these topics.  Two prereadings were to serve as an orientation for the diligent:

A smaller group convened for this discussion, enabling full participation by each and every attendee.  After a quick round of introductions , the conversation started around 4m20s in.

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

Video H.264 MP4
February 13
(1h42m)
[20230213_ST-ON_Metcalf SensemakingTheoryBuilding.m4v]
(QHD 2560×1440 265kbps 289MB)
[on the Internet Archive]

A standalone audio was also created during the meeting.

Audio
February 13
(1h42m)
[20230213_ST-ON_Metcalf SensemakingTheoryBuilding.m4a]
(94.2MB)

The conversation flowed naturally.  I commented that before Gary was a professor of organizational systems, he had a prior career in family therapy.

Here is the original abstract sent in advance.


Some ideas have become everyday words.… Read more (in a new tab)

World Hypotheses, Contextualism, Systems Methods

The first Systems Thinking Ontario session for 2023 is scheduled for January 9, on “Root Metaphors and World Hypotheses”.  This is philosophical content, for which a guided tour and discussion will be better than attempting a solo reading of the World Hypotheses wiki on the Open Learning Commons.  Upon announcing the session on social media, I was honoured to receive a response from Michael C. Jackson, OBE.

Very interesting, David. And great that you are bringing Pepper and Emery/Trist back into centre of debates about systems thinking – where they belong.

Thanks, also, for drawing attention to my 2020 discussion of world hypotheses.

Sociotechnical thinking went through a brief ‘mechanical systems’ phase (Trist and Bamforth) before discovering von Bertalanffy and embracing organicism. It is also true that both Trist and Emery later claimed to have moved beyond organicism and embraced contextualism.

My own view is that they did not succeed and that organicism continued to dominate in the L22 work and even in the later socio-ecological work.

I recently had an exchange with Merrylyn Emery on this who, of course, says I am wrong and that her and Fred’s later work is clearly contextualist.

My argument, which I still adhere to, can be found in the chapter on sociotechnical thinking in my ‘Critical Systems Thinking and the Management of Complexity’. It is this chapter Merrylyn objected to. She is still very active in Australia.

Read more (in a new tab)

The first Systems Thinking Ontario session for 2023 is scheduled for January 9, on “Root Metaphors and World Hypotheses”.  This is philosophical content, for which a guided tour and discussion will be better than attempting a solo reading of the World Hypotheses wiki on the Open Learning Commons.  Upon announcing the session on social media, I was honoured to receive a response from Michael C. Jackson, OBE.

Very interesting, David. And great that you are bringing Pepper and Emery/Trist back into centre of debates about systems thinking – where they belong.

Thanks, also, for drawing attention to my 2020 discussion of world hypotheses.

Sociotechnical thinking went through a brief ‘mechanical systems’ phase (Trist and Bamforth) before discovering von Bertalanffy and embracing organicism. It is also true that both Trist and Emery later claimed to have moved beyond organicism and embraced contextualism.

My own view is that they did not succeed and that organicism continued to dominate in the L22 work and even in the later socio-ecological work.

I recently had an exchange with Merrylyn Emery on this who, of course, says I am wrong and that her and Fred’s later work is clearly contextualist.

My argument, which I still adhere to, can be found in the chapter on sociotechnical thinking in my ‘Critical Systems Thinking and the Management of Complexity’. It is this chapter Merrylyn objected to. She is still very active in Australia.

Read more (in a new tab)

Being a scholar-practitioner, humble inquiry, human and non-human systems

With recent invitations to mentor graduate students, I’ve had to more strongly assert my identity as a scholar-practitioner.  It’s now been over 10 years since I “graduated” from a career at IBM of 28 years.  University students are often amused to discover that, besides having spent a lot of time around universities, I first entered a Ph.D. program in 1982.  When I met my future spouse, I was a doctoral student.  Many years later, I’m still a doctoral student.

My colleagues in the Systems Changes Learning Circle have surfaced an interest in humility.  This reminds me that in spring 1982, I met with Edgar Schein in his office at the MIT Sloan School of Management.  (In the end, I was #2 on a list of 1 for admission into the doctoral program on information systems research, so my life took a different path).

The ties from organization development back into systems theory surfaced in a 2021 interview with Ed Schein.

— begin transcript of Rainey and Schein (2021) —

[35:30 Chris Rainey] Ed, I’ve seen you speak quite a few times, now, about diagnosis versus intervention. Could you share more of your thoughts on this, because I found it very interesting.

[35:42 Ed Schein] Well, I think, the thing that we haven’t yet come to terms with, is a phrase that important philosopher by the name of [Sir Geoffrey] Vickers stated, is the human systems are different.… Read more (in a new tab)

With recent invitations to mentor graduate students, I’ve had to more strongly assert my identity as a scholar-practitioner.  It’s now been over 10 years since I “graduated” from a career at IBM of 28 years.  University students are often amused to discover that, besides having spent a lot of time around universities, I first entered a Ph.D. program in 1982.  When I met my future spouse, I was a doctoral student.  Many years later, I’m still a doctoral student.

My colleagues in the Systems Changes Learning Circle have surfaced an interest in humility.  This reminds me that in spring 1982, I met with Edgar Schein in his office at the MIT Sloan School of Management.  (In the end, I was #2 on a list of 1 for admission into the doctoral program on information systems research, so my life took a different path).

The ties from organization development back into systems theory surfaced in a 2021 interview with Ed Schein.

— begin transcript of Rainey and Schein (2021) —

[35:30 Chris Rainey] Ed, I’ve seen you speak quite a few times, now, about diagnosis versus intervention. Could you share more of your thoughts on this, because I found it very interesting.

[35:42 Ed Schein] Well, I think, the thing that we haven’t yet come to terms with, is a phrase that important philosopher by the name of [Sir Geoffrey] Vickers stated, is the human systems are different.… Read more (in a new tab)

Systems Thinking through Changes: An action learning guide | Canadian Digital Service | 2022-03-04

In the 4th year of an espoused 10-year journey, the Systems Changes Learning Circle reached a major milestone.  With Code for Canada, the team conducted its first educational workshop based on the contextural action learning approach currently under review for publication.  The client was the Canadian Digital Service .

The presentation outlining the basic ideas and guiding questions was scheduled for a quick 60 minutes. After lunch, the participants convened for 3 hours in three parallel breakout groups, discussions guided by templates provided in the workbook.

This video has been archived on the Internet Archive .

Video H.264 MP4
March 4
(58m25s)
[20220304_CodeForCanada SystemsThinkingThroughChanges CC-BY-SA_1920x912.m4v]
(1920×912 169kbps 127MB)
[on the Internet Archive]

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

Audio
March 4
(58m25s)
[20220304_CodeForCanada SystemsThinkingThroughChanges CC-BY-SA.mp3]
(22.9MB)

Here is a description of the session.

There are a variety of approaches to systems thinking in practice.

Systems Changes Learning takes a view of living systems over time. As individuals, groups and organizations, we are lines (lifelines) co-responding alongside each other. Our lines have rhythms. Sometimes, the lines weave together in synchrony. At other times, the lines might clash, or get tangled up.

Interest in systems thinking arises when people feel “stuck”. A system could be trapped in a rut, or struggling through an abrupt transformational change. We look into dysfunctions as rhythmic shifts in the primary system of interest, and/or in co-related systems of influence.… Read more (in a new tab)

In the 4th year of an espoused 10-year journey, the Systems Changes Learning Circle reached a major milestone.  With Code for Canada, the team conducted its first educational workshop based on the contextural action learning approach currently under review for publication.  The client was the Canadian Digital Service .

The presentation outlining the basic ideas and guiding questions was scheduled for a quick 60 minutes. After lunch, the participants convened for 3 hours in three parallel breakout groups, discussions guided by templates provided in the workbook.

This video has been archived on the Internet Archive .

Video H.264 MP4
March 4
(58m25s)
[20220304_CodeForCanada SystemsThinkingThroughChanges CC-BY-SA_1920x912.m4v]
(1920×912 169kbps 127MB)
[on the Internet Archive]

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

Audio
March 4
(58m25s)
[20220304_CodeForCanada SystemsThinkingThroughChanges CC-BY-SA.mp3]
(22.9MB)

Here is a description of the session.

There are a variety of approaches to systems thinking in practice.

Systems Changes Learning takes a view of living systems over time. As individuals, groups and organizations, we are lines (lifelines) co-responding alongside each other. Our lines have rhythms. Sometimes, the lines weave together in synchrony. At other times, the lines might clash, or get tangled up.

Interest in systems thinking arises when people feel “stuck”. A system could be trapped in a rut, or struggling through an abrupt transformational change. We look into dysfunctions as rhythmic shifts in the primary system of interest, and/or in co-related systems of influence.… Read more (in a new tab)

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