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Theoretical Grounds, Pragmatic Grounds: Methods for Reordering our Priorities through Systems Changes Learning (ST-ON 2020/10/19)

For the second of three workshops by the Systems Changes Learning Circle in October 2020, we convened a session for the monthly Systems Thinking Ontario meeting.  The focus of this workshop was a review of progress to date on methods by the scholarly team, informed by the adoption and use by the field team.

The framing of this presentation centered on developing methods that have validity balanced between theoretical grounds (i.e. it seems right based on logic and science) and pragmatic grounds (i.e. it works when applied in practice).

This workshop had more of a “teach-the-teachers” style to it, explaining the deeper choices in concepts, terms and techniques.  Compared to the other two workshops, this audience has a stronger grasp of systems theory.  Many regular attendees have attended meetings over the past 5 years.

In the web video , the presentation slides were mostly covered sequentially.  Attendees clarified their understandings with questions posed towards the end.

The video file are downloadable from the Internet Archive .

Video H.264 MP4
October 19
(1h57m)
[20201019_ST-ON_SystemsChanges.m4v]
(FHD 806kbps 790MB) [on the Internet Archive]

For those who like digital audio on-the-go, the session has been transcoded to MP3 .

Audio
October 19
(1h57m)
[20201019_ST-ON_SystemsChanges.mp3]
(44MB)

This session extended prior presentations on Systems Changes, with the benefit of the RSD9 version oriented towards designers having been completed just a few days earlier.  The freshness of that experience encouraged a reflections on ideas that had gone over over well fort the designers, as well as some examples and metaphors that may need to be rethought.… Read more (in a new tab)

For the second of three workshops by the Systems Changes Learning Circle in October 2020, we convened a session for the monthly Systems Thinking Ontario meeting.  The focus of this workshop was a review of progress to date on methods by the scholarly team, informed by the adoption and use by the field team.

The framing of this presentation centered on developing methods that have validity balanced between theoretical grounds (i.e. it seems right based on logic and science) and pragmatic grounds (i.e. it works when applied in practice).

This workshop had more of a “teach-the-teachers” style to it, explaining the deeper choices in concepts, terms and techniques.  Compared to the other two workshops, this audience has a stronger grasp of systems theory.  Many regular attendees have attended meetings over the past 5 years.

In the web video , the presentation slides were mostly covered sequentially.  Attendees clarified their understandings with questions posed towards the end.

The video file are downloadable from the Internet Archive .

Video H.264 MP4
October 19
(1h57m)
[20201019_ST-ON_SystemsChanges.m4v]
(FHD 806kbps 790MB) [on the Internet Archive]

For those who like digital audio on-the-go, the session has been transcoded to MP3 .

Audio
October 19
(1h57m)
[20201019_ST-ON_SystemsChanges.mp3]
(44MB)

This session extended prior presentations on Systems Changes, with the benefit of the RSD9 version oriented towards designers having been completed just a few days earlier.  The freshness of that experience encouraged a reflections on ideas that had gone over over well fort the designers, as well as some examples and metaphors that may need to be rethought.… Read more (in a new tab)

Eight infographics on Systems Methods (UToronto iSchool 2018)

Learning only a single systems method is reductive.  A course that exposes breadth in a variety of systems methods encourages students to reflect on their circumstances-at-hand, and their explicit and implicit influences on guiding others in projects espousing systems thinking.  This was a premise behind the structuring of “Systems Thinking, Systems Design“, an Information Workshop (i.e. 6-week elective quarter course) offered to master’s students at the University of Toronto Faculty of Information (iSchool).

The first class day had a short course introduction focused on the history of the systems sciences, and a minimal orientation to the most basic concept in systems theory.  Then, for the four class days that followed, student groups led 8 presentation-facilitations on a research reference cluster (with the instructor on standby as a subject matter expert on the content).  The topics included:

  1. Object Process Methodology
  2. Dialogue Mapping
  3. Idealized Design
  4. Soft Systems Methodology
  5. Viable System Model
  6. Resilience in Socio-Ecological Systems
  7. Service Systems
  8. Generative Pattern Language

After each of the four days, students wrote Personal Appreciation Diary Logs (blog posts), mostly on the open web.  These provided feedback to the instructor for commentary (and some remediation) at the beginning of the subsequent class meeting.  We could review common understandings, difficulties and misconceptions about systems methods.

For the last (sixth) class meeting, each student group was asked to “prepare and present an infographic poster on their impressions about the system approaches most relevant to their research”.  The conclusions reflected different interests, experiences and orientations amongst the iSchool students.… Read more (in a new tab)

Learning only a single systems method is reductive.  A course that exposes breadth in a variety of systems methods encourages students to reflect on their circumstances-at-hand, and their explicit and implicit influences on guiding others in projects espousing systems thinking.  This was a premise behind the structuring of “Systems Thinking, Systems Design“, an Information Workshop (i.e. 6-week elective quarter course) offered to master’s students at the University of Toronto Faculty of Information (iSchool).

The first class day had a short course introduction focused on the history of the systems sciences, and a minimal orientation to the most basic concept in systems theory.  Then, for the four class days that followed, student groups led 8 presentation-facilitations on a research reference cluster (with the instructor on standby as a subject matter expert on the content).  The topics included:

  1. Object Process Methodology
  2. Dialogue Mapping
  3. Idealized Design
  4. Soft Systems Methodology
  5. Viable System Model
  6. Resilience in Socio-Ecological Systems
  7. Service Systems
  8. Generative Pattern Language

After each of the four days, students wrote Personal Appreciation Diary Logs (blog posts), mostly on the open web.  These provided feedback to the instructor for commentary (and some remediation) at the beginning of the subsequent class meeting.  We could review common understandings, difficulties and misconceptions about systems methods.

For the last (sixth) class meeting, each student group was asked to “prepare and present an infographic poster on their impressions about the system approaches most relevant to their research”.  The conclusions reflected different interests, experiences and orientations amongst the iSchool students.… Read more (in a new tab)

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