Coevolving Innovations

… in Business Organizations and Information Technologies

Eight infographics from “Systems Thinking 2” (2016)

Concluding 3 intensive weeks of content immersion, eight student groups created infographics of the ideas that resonated with them from the “Systems Thinking 2” class in the Creative Sustainability program at Aalto University.  Each group had been given 3 weeks in advance to prepare content to lead a learning discussion, staking a position on a list of references.  As students participated in the intensive sessions, the broader contexts reshaped those positions into a broader appreciation of the breadth of systems thinking. The initial positions and concluding syntheses were:

  • 1. Appreciative systems, futures → Into the Future with Systems Thinking
  • 2. Boundary, inquiry, perspectives → Systems thinking — synthesis
  • 3. Learning categories, postnormal science, ignorance → Systems Thinking from learning and knowledge making perspective
  • 4. Dialogue, engagement, intervention → Systems thinking from a dialogue perspective
  • 5. Ecosystems, collapse, resilience → What is the purpose of understanding the differentiation between complexity and complicatedness in systems thinking
  • 6. Coevolution, turbulence, anticipatory systems → Anticipatory systems, turbulence and coevolution
  • 7. Living systems, viable systems, metabolism → How to make STEW (Systems Thinking Endless Wisdom)
  • 8. Social-ecological systems, regime shifts → Systems? No problem!

The ending infographics represent a synthesis of the content from the course, each group having traced a different path. To rebalance team sizes, a few individuals migrated to a different group.  Some anchored more on the content they had led, while others chose to strengthen linkages to other ideas.

Into the Future with Systems Thinking

1. Appreciative systems, futures → Into the Future with Systems Thinking

Group 1 read through a cluster of references on appreciative systems and futures and a map of the basic ideas to produce a presentation slide set.

Appreciative systems, futures

The concluding infographic by Fahimeh Foutouhi, Petra Tammisto, Riikka Ikonen, Marta Jaakkola and Anna Muukkonen additionally swept in dialogues, learning, social ecological systems, complex systems and anticipatory systems.

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Systems thinking - synthesis

2. Boundary, inquiry, perspectives → Systems thinking — synthesis

Group 2 worked through a cluster of references on boundary, inquiry and perspectives and a map of the basic ideas to produce a presentation slide set.

Boundary, inquiry, perspectives

The concluding infographic by Miguel Fonseca, Annina Lattu and Jennifer Pitkänen put a higher emphasis on learning (a cluster of references led by Group 3), wrapping in ideas of resilience, turbulence, anticipatory systems on top the content for which they were primarily responsible.

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Systems Thinking from learning and knowledge making perspective

3. Learning categories, postnormal science, ignorance → Systems Thinking from learning and knowledge making perspective

Group 3 focused on a cluster of references on learning categories, postnormal science and ignorance and a map of the basic ideas to produce a presentation slide set.

Boundary, inquiry and perspectives

The concluding infographic by Emma Berg, Melanie Wolowiec and Lilli Mäkelä added in participation, judgement and anticipation, with larger contexts of cultural systems and biotic systems.  Additionally, they charted a reference timeline of the articles from the course depicting the importance of the content longitudinally.

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Systems thinking from a dialogue perspective

4. Dialogue, engagement, intervention → Systems thinking from a dialogue perspective

Group 4 studied a cluster of references on dialogue, engagement and intervention and a map of the basic ideas to produce a presentation slide set.

Boundary, inquiry and perspectives

The concluding infographic by Caroline Mellberg, Ida-Maria Mannonen, Jukka-Pekka Ovaaksa and Wang Yuchan referred to the earlier discussions on appreciative systems and anticipatory systems, and the later presentations on living sytems, viable systems, turbulence, resilience and collapse.

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What is the purpose of understanding the differentiation between complexity and complicatedness in systems thinking

5. Ecosystems, collapse, resilience → What is the purpose of understanding the differentiation between complexity and complicatedness in systems thinking

Group 5 reviewed a cluster of references on ecosystems, collapse and resilience and a map of the basic ideas to produce a presentation slide set.

Ecosystems, collapse, resilience

The concluding infographic by Karolina Hovi, Jutta Menestrina, Ekaterina Perfilyeva and Yuchen Yao focused on the distinction between complexity and complicatedness, with an example of the global fishing market in risks of collapse and regime shifts.

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Anticipatory systems, turbulence and coevolution

6. Coevolution, turbulence, anticipatory systems → Anticipatory systems, turbulence and coevolution

Group 6 worked through a cluster of references on coevolution, turbulence and anticipatory systems and a map of the basic ideas to produce a presentation slide set.

Coevolution, turbulence, anticipatory systems

The concluding infographic by Kim Dau, Oona Anttila, Norbert Schmidt and Simone Menge extended the swing dancing example in their presentation to include turbulent fields, anticipatory systems, boundary, collapse and ignorance, complex systems, learning and coevolution.

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How to make STEW (Systems Thinking Endless Wisdom)

7. Living systems, viable systems, metabolism → How to make STEW (Systems Thinking Endless Wisdom)

Group 7 studied a cluster of references on living systems, viable systems and metabolism and a map of the basic ideas to produce a presentation slide set.

Living systems, viable systems, metabolism

The concluding infographic by Christine Everaars, Linda Lazarov, Maria Mercer and Noomi Schulman reflected on all of the content for the class, and presented it as a stew that cooked over multiple days.

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Systems? No problem!

8. Social-ecological systems, regime shifts → Systems? No problem!

Group 8 reviewed a cluster of references on social-ecological systems and regime shifts and a map of the basic ideas to produce a presentation slide set.

Social-ecological systems, regime shifts

The concluding infographic by Heini Huotari, Daniele Fasoli, Soroush Moradi, Kristaps Sveisbergs and Song Ping complemented their presentation with anticipatory systems, learning, and resilience.

See the Systems? No problem! infographic as 900px width or as 600px width.

This course on systems thinking recognized the variety of backgrounds across disciplines within student groups, and that their journeys through the content would be different.  The infographics completed at the end of the class show that there isn’t a single way to approach systems thinking, and that diversity in thought is part of the learning.

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