For the “Understanding Systems & Systemic Design” course in the program for the Master of Design in Strategic Foresight and Innovation at OCAD University, the lecture slides were the same for both the full-time cohort on March 8 and part-time cohort on March 9, while the oral presentation varied. The target, in about 90 minutes, was to cover at least 4 of 5 sections, from:
The students were alerted that some of the arrows in the section headings were double-headed, and some were single-headed — with specific meanings. For each day, the classroom audio was recorded. That digital audio has now been synchronized with slides that had previously been posted on the Coevolving Commons.
This session was #8 of 15 lectures for the OCADU SFI students. They had already done some basic reading on systems approaches. Since they were working towards a Major Research Project (a lighter weight form of a thesis) for their Master of Design degree, my overall agenda for this lecture was to have them reflect on acts of representation. Systems have already been represented to them in a variety of forms: textually, orally and visually. For their Major Research Projects, they would be creating detailed representations, as ways of having their audience appreciate the in-depth study of the world and issues selected for the term.
daviding June 7th, 2017
At the PUARL Conference 2016, a proposal was made on adapting pattern language for service systems thinking. In 1967, Christopher Alexander published Pattern Manual at the founding of the Center for Environmental Structure, describing a pattern format for physical built environments. While we can learn a lot from the nearly 50 years work originating at the CES, service systems have features beyond physicality that suggest reconsidering some of the foundations of pattern language.
An article for discussion was accepted into the proceedings for the PUARL conference. The 20-minute presentation quickly covered the following topics:
Slides have been added over the audio recording to produce a video presentation.
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daviding November 17th, 2016
Design professionals were attracted at the RSD5 (Relating Systems Thinking and Design) Symposium to a preconference workshop on October 13 at OCADU in Toronto, with the following abstract:
Since 2014, an international collaborative of design leaders has been exploring ways in which methods can be augmented, transitioning from the heritage legacy focus on products and services towards a broad range of complex sociotechnical systems and contemporary societal problems issues. At last year’s RSD4 Symposium, DesignX founder Don Norman presented a keynote talk on the frontiers of design practice and necessity for advanced design education for highly complex sociotechnical problems. He identified the qualities of these systems as relevant to DesignX problems, and called for systemics, transdisciplinarity and the need for high-quality observations (or evidence) in design problems. Initial directions found were proposed in the first DesignX workshop in October 2015, which have been published in the new design journal She Ji. In October 2016, another DesignX workshop will be held at Tongji University in Shanghai, overlapping with the timing of the RSD5 Symposium.
We propose to sustain the relationships between RSD and DesignX with this RSD5 half-day workshop, to explore the relationships between systemic design, existing educational programs and the DesignX agenda. We invite RSD participants engaged in both of these contexts to join in a collaborative discussion aimed at further developing the design and education agendas in these discourse communities. We aim to capture experiences and insights from design leaders, educators and practitioners in Toronto, as input, validation and/or suggestions for further development of the DesignX direction.
The morning started with 26 participants, who were briefed on the context for discussion, and given some instructions on a suggested approach.
The participants broke up into 5 groups for an open discussion over 90 minutes, and then gave brief verbal recaps supported by flipcharts on which that had collaborated. For the impatient, here are some initial summaries expressing voices on emergent issues, that may serve as a basis for further inquiry.
Group 1‘s discussion centered on social designers:
Group 2‘s discussion centered on design educators:
Group 3‘s discussion centered on designers working in policy:
Group 4‘s discussion centered on designers engaged with stakeholders:
Group 5‘s discussion centered on design learners:
Comments on refining these questions are welcomed at the foot of this post, or through private communications.
Susu Nousala chaired the workshop. The agenda was to explore together what people know, think, feel and experience about the field of design in relation to the DesignX and Systemic Design initiatives. On the wall was a shrub (initially envisioned as a tree) of quotations on DesignX, published in She Ji.
Some excerpts were read out, and participants were welcomed to come up to refer to the text during the discussion period.
daviding November 9th, 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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
daviding March 9th, 2016
Posted In: systems
As part of the Master’s Program in Creative Sustainability at Aalto University, I’ll be in Finland for 3 weeks in February, as an instructor. I’m doing this as a favour for Katri Pulkkinen, who has been teaching the course since 2010, and felt that she needed some extra time to work on her Ph.D. dissertation.
Systems Thinking 2 follows in a series of compulsory courses, each with specified learning outcomes:
The official content of the course is delivered in intensive sessions:
On January 12, my colleagues Susu Nousala and Glen Forde launched the course in a 2-hour session with orientation materials. The course content is available on the open Internet at http://coevolving.com/aalto/201602-st2-muo-e8004/, and has been evolving over the past week.
The 25 students have been organized into 8 groups. Each group is preparing to stake a position on a research reference cluster, to lead an hour discussion for the class. The systems concepts have been specified as:
daviding January 18th, 2016
A lecture for the Master’s Program in Industrial Management at Helsinki Metropolia University of Applied Sciences was an opportunity to talk about the research that has been brewing over the past 18+ months, from the basics. These students were unlikely to have heard much about (i) systems thinking; (ii) service systems, (iii) generative pattern language, or (iv) federated wiki.
Coming to Metropolia in 2015 was like a return home. In 2006, the institution was named Helsinki Polytechnic Stadia, and I collaborated on starting up the curriculum as part of the Rendez project. In recent years, I haven’t been so involved. As I was planning a trip to Europe this fall, I discovered that Satu Teerikangas had returned from teaching at UCL in the UK to Finland, becoming the Head of the Industrial Management Program. My itinerary coincided well with the course dates, so I pulled together a presentation from the evolving ideas over the last year. The audience would be a combination of students from the Industrial Management program and the Logistics program.
The session was conducted in two parts, each slightly under 60 minutes. The first part covered:
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In the second part after the break, the agenda covered:
daviding October 21st, 2015