This dialogue-oriented workshop will be framed by two short position papers (< 30 minutes each) towards energizing a discussion on the prospects for systems thinking and ecological economics.
(1) Systems Changes research program
Shifting the emphasis from stable states to a fluid world, what patterns describe shifts due to (i) human will, and (ii) nature? The Systems Changes program aims to extend research from the 1970s (e.g. West Churchman systems approach; Horst Rittel wicked problems; Christopher Alexander pattern language; Eric Trist and Cal Pava action learning) with 21st century advances (e.g. holons and hierarchy theory; resilience science; ecological anthropology; open sourcing).
(2) Environmental Deterioration: What have we learned about systems change(s) over the past 50 years?
Since the 1960s, nations have enacted regulations towards environment issues, sustainability of resources and stewardship of the environment: USA EPA (1969); Canadian EPA (1988/1999); EU Treaty of Maastricht (1993). Yet in 2009, the Stockholm Resilience Centre declared that human activity has exceeded two thresholds of nine planetary boundaries. Is it too late for the human race to act, or even to try? The 1979 Ph.D. dissertation on “Regulation of Environmental Deterioration” from the University of Pennsylvania will be considered retrospectively.
(3) Dialectic: Group Discussion
In an open group discussion, in what ways might a shift from “systems thinking” towards “systems changes” make a difference (or not)?
At the conference, we had a relaxed and wide-ranging conversation
In synthesizing some appreciation of the discussion from that workshop, we decided that I would take the lead on trying to capture some of the ideas. Final revisions were accepted in October, and magazine production was completed by December. Here’s a rendering of the preprint. Read more...(2936 words, 1 image, estimated 11:45 mins reading time)
Joining these online platforms may not be as convenient as having a commercial enterprise “take care” of communications amongst individuals. While I personally participate (and am named in groups of administrators) on most major social platforms involving systems thinking, my depth of involvement is consciously selective based on terms and conditions. On a Dec. 23 thread on The Ecology of Systems Thinking group on Facebook, I responded to some questions, and have permission to repost the exchange publicly. Read more...(2044 words, 2 images, estimated 8:11 mins reading time)
From the mid-1990s to the mid-2000s, methods for organizing for service engagements at scale were developed at IBM. Although this investment in knowledge management was huge, changes in the organization by the late-2000s saw this rich body of intellectual capital practically disappear. Appreciation for the framework remains in the memories of practitioners in the IBM Global Services organization — particularly the methodologists — immersed during that period. Some foundational historical artifacts can be rediscovered on the open Internet:
The resemblance to pattern language, as prescribed by Christoper Alexander, is not accidental. Excerpts from these three sources are provided here, to entice readers who might seek out the full articles.
1. Configurable Development Processes (2002)
The Work Product based methods started in IBM at the rise of object-oriented methods. With OO as a new paradigm, incompatibilities across the variety of approaches frustrated clients trying to get work done. The end results seemed pretty much the same. The resolution for IBM came through centering on ends (work products) first, and means (techniques) second. The methods originating in software development became cross-appropriated into services engagement for other domain offerings (e.g. business strategy, organizational change). Read more...(2556 words, 7 images, estimated 10:13 mins reading time)
One of my millennial sons has framed IBM as “the Google of my generation”. My career path included assignments and visits to the IBM Advanced Business Institute, in Palisades, NY. Mentions of that team, and the Palisades Executive Conference Center where it was located, have mostly disappeared from the Internet. As one of the younger IBM professionals to have known the ABI, I can provide some history. (If friends want to correct me, I welcome that!)
1. The Palisades Executive Conference Center opened in 1989
2. The Executive Consulting Institute from 1993 was instrumental in education for IBM Consulting Group
3. The Advanced Business Institute offered courses for customer executives 1989-2004
1. The Palisades Executive Conference Center opened in 1989
IBM Palisades is not to be confused with the IBM Learning Centre in Armonk, that was opened in 1979, a facility primarily for the (internal) management development of IBM executives. IBM Palisades is also not the Thornwood Conference Center in Westchester County, opened in 1985, that was more often used for customer technical briefings. Read more...(2857 words, 10 images, estimated 11:26 mins reading time)
In what ways might the generation of wholeness through pattern language be strengthened, through an appreciation of advances in the systems sciences? A workshop at the 2018 International PUARL Conference was an opportunity to review linkages and discuss some details.
An outline to frame the conversation was written in three parts.
1. Communicative Framing
1.1 Form and synthesis
1.2 Organization as semi-lattice
1.3 Systems generating systems
1.4 Generative patterns and non-generative patterns in software development
1.5 System-A and system-B, as two ways of shaping and building living environments
1.6 Holons (from systems ecology)
2. Dialectical Sensemaking
2.1 Types of systems and models
2.2 Autopoiesis and allopoiesis
2.3 Economies as agricultural, industrial and services (coproduction)
3. Narrative Synthesizing
In full, the abstract read:
Does a pattern language generate into (a) whole(s)? This workshop will discuss the meaning of architecting a system, complemented with recent research from the systems sciences.
In 1967, at the formation for Center for Environmental Structure, Pattern Manual specified that (sub)systems are fewer in number (and implicitly larger) than patterns: Read more...(571 words, 1 image, estimated 2:17 mins reading time)
In an ecology of nations, > “For the British and Canadians to say no publicly is highly unusual,” given their closeness to the United States, said Carl Bildt, the former Swedish prime minister. P.S. I am a Canadian. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/02/world/europe/trump-merkel-allies.html
Will this decade be called the "Dark Twenties", in post-pandemic economic sociology? #JohnIbbitson writes: > It took years for Western economies to fully recover from the economic shock of 2008-09. This shock is far worse. How much worse? No one can be sure. [....] > We are entering the Dark Twenties. No one knows when […]
Moderating social media context in an nuanced way may be done with a warning or caution, rather than by deleting the message or banning the individual. #HenryFarrell at #WashingtonPost analyzes fact-checking on POTUS. > Now, Twitter has done just this. Trump’s tweet has not been removed — but it has been placed behind a notice, […]
Our immune systems are complex, so improving resistance to disease may be puffery, writes #TimothyCaulfield . > I looked at how the phrase “boosting our immune system” is being represented on social media. This concept is everywhere right now: it is being pushed by .... But in reality, the immune system is fantastically complex and can’t be “boosted.” (Even […]
Ventures founded on growth maximization thinking unicorn might instead turn towards sustainability as camels. > Where Silicon Valley has been chasing unicorns (a colloquial term for startups with billion-dollar valuations), “camel” startups, such as those founded by leading global entrepreneurs, prioritize sustainability and resiliency.> The humble camel adapts to multiple climates, survives without food or […]
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 […]
It's been challenging to find sources that specifically define two-word phrases -- i.e. "systemic change", "systematic change", "systems change" -- as opposed to loosely inferring reductively from one-word definitions in recombination. MartinReynolds @OpenUniversity clarifies uses of the phrases, with a critical eye into motives for choosing a specific label, as well as associated risks and […]
The term "environmental" can be mixed up with "ecological", when the meanings are different. We can look at the encyclopedia definitions (François 2004), and then compare the two in terms of applied science (i.e. engineering with (#TimothyFHAllen @MarioGiampietro and #AmandaMLittle, 2003).
While many outside of the field of architecture like the #ChristopherAlexander #PatternLanguage approach, it's not so well accepted by his peers. A summary of criticisms by #MichaelJDawes and #MichaelJOstwald @UNSWBuiltEnv is helpful in appreciating when the use of pattern language might be appropriate or not appropriate.
Systems thinking should include not only thinking about the system, but also its environment. Using the term "field" as the system of interest plus its influences leaves a lot of the world uncovered. From the multiple definitions in the International Encyclopedia of Systems and Cybernetics , there is variety of ways of understanding "field".
In web conference, #HermanDaly says #EcologicalEconomics used to get attacked from the right, now it's from the left. Panel @revkin @jon_d_erickson @ktkish @sophiesanniti #TimCrowshaw #KatieHorner livestreamed #sustainwhat .Read more ›
Social ecology and environmental psychology described @dstokols @Social_Ecology , interviewed by @katiepatrick . References #WilliamsJames on attention. Book on Social Ecology in the Digital Age released in 2018.Read more ›
Concerns on #personaldata should be reframed as interpersonal, says @sheldrake , less the nodes and more the edge connections. “I want to take back control” superficial, @hartzog says control doesn’t scale. Agency is about negotiation in the world, more rhizomatic…Read more ›
Doing science should be wayfinding (pathfinding), says #TimIngold , gaining grounding in the art of paying attention, towards research as the pursuit of truth. Truth is more than objective facts, where science and art are embraced with materials, so that we can see the quality inside the natural world as it forms, rather than as […]
We should be more vigourous, says @MazzucatoM , in debating differences between value extraction and value creation, and between profits and rents. Lecture at Blavatnik School of Government, Oxford U., January 2019Read more ›