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Beyond the Tavistock and S-cubed legacy

While it’s important to appreciate the systems thinking foundations laid down by the Tavistock Institute and U. Pennsylvania Social Systems Science (S3, called S-cubed) program, practically all of the original researchers are no longer with us.  Luminaries who have passed include Eric L. Trist (-1993), Fred E. Emery (-1997), and Russell L. Ackoff (-2009).  This does not mean that systems research has stopped.

One individual who participated in it all is David L. Hawk.

We have been continuously been collaborators ever since.  DLH served as the thesis advisor for Aalto University on my Open Innovation Learning research.… Read more (in a new tab)

While it’s important to appreciate the systems thinking foundations laid down by the Tavistock Institute and U. Pennsylvania Social Systems Science (S3, called S-cubed) program, practically all of the original researchers are no longer with us.  Luminaries who have passed include Eric L. Trist (-1993), Fred E. Emery (-1997), and Russell L. Ackoff (-2009).  This does not mean that systems research has stopped.

One individual who participated in it all is David L. Hawk.

We have been continuously been collaborators ever since.  DLH served as the thesis advisor for Aalto University on my Open Innovation Learning research.… Read more (in a new tab)

Systemic design agendas in education and design research

Research can take some time to wend through reflection, reviews and revisions.  An article coauthored with Susu Nousala and Peter Jones took about 2 years to formal publication.

While a working paper can be more open-ended, a scientific publication seeks greater closure.  From the conclusion, here’s a paragraph that wasn’t in our original 2016-2017 writing.

The RSD5 DesignX workshop provided for continuity and discourse building between members of various design programmes, practices and allegiances. It was a not intended as a venue for specifically articulating and defining the design research agendas linking DesignX with systemic design studies or with these agendas. Further development of these enquiries through other workshops and discourses will extend the continuity of the discussion and evolve something of a common language, if not a corpus, to better fulfil the potential of design research agendas in systemic design.

The RSD5 workshop held in Toronto October 2016 resulted in a rich body of conversations amongst participants that is only partially reflected in this summary.

Read more (in a new tab)

Research can take some time to wend through reflection, reviews and revisions.  An article coauthored with Susu Nousala and Peter Jones took about 2 years to formal publication.

While a working paper can be more open-ended, a scientific publication seeks greater closure.  From the conclusion, here’s a paragraph that wasn’t in our original 2016-2017 writing.

The RSD5 DesignX workshop provided for continuity and discourse building between members of various design programmes, practices and allegiances. It was a not intended as a venue for specifically articulating and defining the design research agendas linking DesignX with systemic design studies or with these agendas. Further development of these enquiries through other workshops and discourses will extend the continuity of the discussion and evolve something of a common language, if not a corpus, to better fulfil the potential of design research agendas in systemic design.

The RSD5 workshop held in Toronto October 2016 resulted in a rich body of conversations amongst participants that is only partially reflected in this summary.

Read more (in a new tab)

Learning data science, hands-on

For the Quantitative Methodologies for Design Research (定量研究方法) course for Ph.D. students at Tongji University in spring 2017, Susu Nousala invited me to join the team of instructors in collaborative education in Shanghai.  Experts were brought in during the course to guide the graduate students.

My participation in the course over two days had three parts:  (a) preparing a lecture outline; (b) orienting the students; and (c) equipping the students with tools.

(A) Preparing a lecture outline

While I’m comfortable with the mathematics underlying statistical analysis, I have a lot of practical experience of working with business executives who aren’t.  Thus, my approach to working with data relies a lot on presentation graphics to defog the phenomena.  While the label of data science began to rise circa 2012, I’ve had the benefit of practical experience that predates that.

In my first professional assignment in IBM Canada in 1985, data science would have been called econometrics.  My work included forecasting country sales, based on price-performance indexes (from the mainframe, midrange and personal computer product divisions) and economic outlooks from Statistics Canada.  Two years before the Macintosh II would bring color to personal computing, I was an early adopter of GRAFSTAT: “An APL system for interactive scientific-engineering graphics and data analysis” developed at IBM Research.  This would eventually become an IBM program product by called AGSS (A Graphical Statistical System) by 1994.… Read more (in a new tab)

For the Quantitative Methodologies for Design Research (定量研究方法) course for Ph.D. students at Tongji University in spring 2017, Susu Nousala invited me to join the team of instructors in collaborative education in Shanghai.  Experts were brought in during the course to guide the graduate students.

My participation in the course over two days had three parts:  (a) preparing a lecture outline; (b) orienting the students; and (c) equipping the students with tools.

(A) Preparing a lecture outline

While I’m comfortable with the mathematics underlying statistical analysis, I have a lot of practical experience of working with business executives who aren’t.  Thus, my approach to working with data relies a lot on presentation graphics to defog the phenomena.  While the label of data science began to rise circa 2012, I’ve had the benefit of practical experience that predates that.

In my first professional assignment in IBM Canada in 1985, data science would have been called econometrics.  My work included forecasting country sales, based on price-performance indexes (from the mainframe, midrange and personal computer product divisions) and economic outlooks from Statistics Canada.  Two years before the Macintosh II would bring color to personal computing, I was an early adopter of GRAFSTAT: “An APL system for interactive scientific-engineering graphics and data analysis” developed at IBM Research.  This would eventually become an IBM program product by called AGSS (A Graphical Statistical System) by 1994.… Read more (in a new tab)

Curriculum Making for Trito Learning

Slides and audio of our joint talk at the RSD5 Symposium on the experiences and learning about leading systems thinking courses are now available.

Over five years, the Creative Sustainability program evolved from pilot into full practice with a series of courses.  In reflection, the course instructors better learned how to guide students through teaming, mindset, methods and theory.

The presentation is titled “Curriculum Making for Trito Learning: Wayfaring along a meshwork of systems thinking”.  With such a dense title for the Relating Systems Thinking and Design Symposium, our aim was to explain what those chosen words meant.

Audio [20161015_RSD5_Ing_Nousala_CurriculumMakingTrito.mp3]
(29MB, 29m44s)
[20161015_RSD5_Ing_Nousala_CurriculumMakingTrito_3db.mp3]
(volume boosted 3db, 29MB, 29m44s)
[20161015_RSD5_Ing_Nousala_CurriculumMakingTrito6db.mp3]
(volume boosted 6db, 29MB, 29m44s)
Video HD (29m44s)
H.264 MP4 [1280×720 384Kbps m4v]
(89MB)
[1280×720 5000Kbps m4v]
(96MB) [on archive.org]
WebM [1280×720 279Kbps webm]
(89MB)
[1280×720 384Kbps webm]
(197MB)

The streaming media adds the slides to the audio presentation.  In person, in Toronto, we had two instructors from the course speaking: David Ing and Susu Nousala.

Here’s the officially published abstract:

In winter 2016, the Systems Thinking 2 course in the Creative Sustainability (CS) program at Aalto University was led by one of the original curriculum developers from 2010. Over five years, the core CS curriculum had evolved, allowing the level of learning amongst student to advance to a higher level. While this winter 2016 cohort of students was challenged by the intensiveness of the course, satisfaction in the learning appeared to be high.

Read more (in a new tab)

Slides and audio of our joint talk at the RSD5 Symposium on the experiences and learning about leading systems thinking courses are now available.

Over five years, the Creative Sustainability program evolved from pilot into full practice with a series of courses.  In reflection, the course instructors better learned how to guide students through teaming, mindset, methods and theory.

The presentation is titled “Curriculum Making for Trito Learning: Wayfaring along a meshwork of systems thinking”.  With such a dense title for the Relating Systems Thinking and Design Symposium, our aim was to explain what those chosen words meant.

Audio [20161015_RSD5_Ing_Nousala_CurriculumMakingTrito.mp3]
(29MB, 29m44s)
[20161015_RSD5_Ing_Nousala_CurriculumMakingTrito_3db.mp3]
(volume boosted 3db, 29MB, 29m44s)
[20161015_RSD5_Ing_Nousala_CurriculumMakingTrito6db.mp3]
(volume boosted 6db, 29MB, 29m44s)
Video HD (29m44s)
H.264 MP4 [1280×720 384Kbps m4v]
(89MB)
[1280×720 5000Kbps m4v]
(96MB) [on archive.org]
WebM [1280×720 279Kbps webm]
(89MB)
[1280×720 384Kbps webm]
(197MB)

The streaming media adds the slides to the audio presentation.  In person, in Toronto, we had two instructors from the course speaking: David Ing and Susu Nousala.

Here’s the officially published abstract:

In winter 2016, the Systems Thinking 2 course in the Creative Sustainability (CS) program at Aalto University was led by one of the original curriculum developers from 2010. Over five years, the core CS curriculum had evolved, allowing the level of learning amongst student to advance to a higher level. While this winter 2016 cohort of students was challenged by the intensiveness of the course, satisfaction in the learning appeared to be high.

Read more (in a new tab)

2013/10/07 Lectures at Aalto University (web video)

The Creative Sustainability program at Aalto University recorded the two lectures that they hosted on October 7.  They’ve done the post-production work to make the videos available on the web. The recordings are HD-quality, so they can be viewed full screen on Vimeo.

The first talk on “Service Systems, Natural Systems: Systems Approaches to Urban Issues”, given at the Aalto University Design Factory, is at https://vimeo.com/76852952.  The slides, on the Coevolving Commons, were originally written for a City Sciences meeting at the University of Toronto, about a year ago.

David Ing – Service Systems, Natural Systems: Systems Approaches to Urban Issues from Creative Sustainability on Vimeo.

The second talk on “Design Flaws and Service Systems Breakdowns: Learning from Systems Thinking”, given at the Aalto University Media Factory, is at https://vimeo.com/77131431 .  The slides, on the Coevolving Commons, were a preview of the presentation for the Relating Systems Thinking and Design 2 2013 meeting at AHO (The Oslo School of Architecture and Design) later that week.

David Ing – Design Flaws and Service System Breakdowns: Learning from Systems Thinking from Creative Sustainability on Vimeo.

I always look forward to interacting with the students and faculty at Aalto University.  Viewers may notice that, although I may use some of the same stories in different venues, my style is generally not to rehearse presentation in advance, in the interest of being more present in the moment.… Read more (in a new tab)

The Creative Sustainability program at Aalto University recorded the two lectures that they hosted on October 7.  They’ve done the post-production work to make the videos available on the web. The recordings are HD-quality, so they can be viewed full screen on Vimeo.

The first talk on “Service Systems, Natural Systems: Systems Approaches to Urban Issues”, given at the Aalto University Design Factory, is at https://vimeo.com/76852952.  The slides, on the Coevolving Commons, were originally written for a City Sciences meeting at the University of Toronto, about a year ago.

David Ing – Service Systems, Natural Systems: Systems Approaches to Urban Issues from Creative Sustainability on Vimeo.

The second talk on “Design Flaws and Service Systems Breakdowns: Learning from Systems Thinking”, given at the Aalto University Media Factory, is at https://vimeo.com/77131431 .  The slides, on the Coevolving Commons, were a preview of the presentation for the Relating Systems Thinking and Design 2 2013 meeting at AHO (The Oslo School of Architecture and Design) later that week.

David Ing – Design Flaws and Service System Breakdowns: Learning from Systems Thinking from Creative Sustainability on Vimeo.

I always look forward to interacting with the students and faculty at Aalto University.  Viewers may notice that, although I may use some of the same stories in different venues, my style is generally not to rehearse presentation in advance, in the interest of being more present in the moment.… Read more (in a new tab)

October 2013 lectures: Helsinki, Oslo, Hull, Oxford, London

Offers to lecture for some friends at universities in Europe has led to a schedule of seven lectures at six universities. New presentations slides were created for the Relating Systems Thinking & Design 2 meeting. For first few lectures, I’ll be repurposing slides on other topics.

Saturday, October 5, 14:00-15:30 EET Helsinki Metropolia University of Applied Sciences, Master’s Degree Program in Industrial Management (hosted by Marjatta Huhta) Bulevardi 31, second floor, V114 (building front door locked on weekend, students enter on courtyard side with iron gate) Business Models and Evolving Economic Paradigms: A Systems Science Approach

Revised: Rethinking Systems Thinking: Learning and coevolving with the world

Monday, October 7, 10:00-11:00 EET Aalto University, CS 0010 Projects (Regional Innovation Ecosystems Workshop), Lecture on “How to handle complex systems in city-planning context?” (hosted by Tiina Laurila)
  • The main task of this workshop is to plan and design a desirable courtyard for Aalto University Design Factory, Venture Garage and Urban Mill that will inspire the development of the creative community on Otaniemi Campus.
Design Factory, Stage, Otaniemi Campus Service Systems, Natural Systems: Systems Approaches to Urban Issues
Monday, October 7, 14:30-15:30 EET Aalto University, Master’s Programme in Creative Sustainability (public lecture, hosted by Tiina Laurila) Media Factory, Auditorium, Arabia Campus Design Flaws and Service System Breakdowns: Learning from Systems Thinking
Thursday, October 10, 9:45-10:15 CET Relating Systems Thinking & Design 2 Institute of Design, Oslo School of Architecture and Design Design Flaws and Service System Breakdowns: Learning from Systems Thinking
Monday, October 14, 13:30-15:00 GMT Ph.D.
Read more (in a new tab)

Offers to lecture for some friends at universities in Europe has led to a schedule of seven lectures at six universities. New presentations slides were created for the Relating Systems Thinking & Design 2 meeting. For first few lectures, I’ll be repurposing slides on other topics.

Saturday, October 5, 14:00-15:30 EET Helsinki Metropolia University of Applied Sciences, Master’s Degree Program in Industrial Management (hosted by Marjatta Huhta) Bulevardi 31, second floor, V114 (building front door locked on weekend, students enter on courtyard side with iron gate) Business Models and Evolving Economic Paradigms: A Systems Science Approach

Revised: Rethinking Systems Thinking: Learning and coevolving with the world

Monday, October 7, 10:00-11:00 EET Aalto University, CS 0010 Projects (Regional Innovation Ecosystems Workshop), Lecture on “How to handle complex systems in city-planning context?” (hosted by Tiina Laurila)
  • The main task of this workshop is to plan and design a desirable courtyard for Aalto University Design Factory, Venture Garage and Urban Mill that will inspire the development of the creative community on Otaniemi Campus.
Design Factory, Stage, Otaniemi Campus Service Systems, Natural Systems: Systems Approaches to Urban Issues
Monday, October 7, 14:30-15:30 EET Aalto University, Master’s Programme in Creative Sustainability (public lecture, hosted by Tiina Laurila) Media Factory, Auditorium, Arabia Campus Design Flaws and Service System Breakdowns: Learning from Systems Thinking
Thursday, October 10, 9:45-10:15 CET Relating Systems Thinking & Design 2 Institute of Design, Oslo School of Architecture and Design Design Flaws and Service System Breakdowns: Learning from Systems Thinking
Monday, October 14, 13:30-15:00 GMT Ph.D.
Read more (in a new tab)
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    • 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.
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      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 […]
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