Blog Archives

2018/11/19 Niall Ferguson | “Networks and Power” |Long Now (web video + audio)

Niall Ferguson at The Long Now Foundation

Complementing the idea of a @longnow , @nfergus provokes the challenge of a #shortthen as the online social media platforms distract the larger perspectives on history.

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2018/10/09 Dan Stokols, |Social Ecology, Systems Thinking, & Psychology | How to Save the World (web video + audio)

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.

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2016/11/07 David Gelenter, “Consciousness, Computers, and the Tides of Mind”, Econtalk (MP3 audio)

Most destructive analogy last 100 years @DavidGelernter @econtalker : Post-Turing thinkers decided that brains were organic computers, that computation was a perfect model of what minds do … and that mind relates to brain as software relates to computer

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2018/04/23 Kishore Mahbubani, “Has the West Lost It? Can Asia Save It?”

Before judging democratic systems over authoritarian, examine the functioning of governments through its diplomats, where plutocracy has an alternative in meritocracy, says @mahbubani_k @longnow @asiasocietysfx. [1:19:30] … when people compare the American government with the Chinese government, they say: “This

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2012/03/13 Tim O’Reilly interviewed by Andrew McAfee, “Creating More Value Than You Capture”, SXSW Interactive

Digest of an interview of @timoreilly by @amcafee below, abstract from schedule.sxsw.com/2012/events/event_IAP100142: One of the great failures of any company – for that matter of a capitalist economy – is ecosystem failure. Great companies build great ecosystems, one in which

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Cognitive overload as business opportunity for IBM since 2005 | Ginni Rometty | June 1, 2016 | Code Conference (web video + audio)

Cognitive overload is a challenge IBM has worked since 2005, says @GinniRometty in @KaraSwisher interview @RecodeEvents. Thus, cognitive computing combining man and machine is more than artificial intelligence. Better decisions in open domains will lead to solving problems not solved

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Ian Mitroff | “Dirty Rotten Strategies: How We Trick Ourselves and Others into Solving the Wrong Problems Precisely” | Feb. 24, 2010 | Commonwealth Club (web video, MP3 audio)

Don’t solve the wrong problems precisely.  Type 3 Errors and Type 4 Errors, by Ian Mitroff, extending the Design of Inquiring Systems. Abstract, from http://www.commonwealthclub.org/events/2010-02-24/dirty-rotten-strategies-how-we-trick-ourselves-and-others-solving-wrong-problems-p How can people or groups tell whether others are deliberately steering us down faulty paths?

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The Art of the Really Long View (MP3 audio) | Peter Schwartz | Dec. 12, 2003 | Long Now Foundation

Better futures, says Peter Schwartz, means creating and having more options for the future, leaving the future better than we found it. [06:50] How do you take the really long view? What do have to do if you really want

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The Long Now, now (MP3 audio) | Brian Eno, Danny Hillis | January 21, 2014 | Long Now Foundation

The difference between long term thinking and long term planning was articulated by Danny Hillis, with Brian Eno and Stewart Brand. [61:40 Danny Hillis] Maybe the one thing I’ve learned about long term thinking is the difference between long term

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The Origins of Jams at IBM (MP3 audio) | Mike Wing | May 20, 2005 | For Immediate Release

Could an intranet could be used for culture change? Mike Wing says jams captured best practices from individuals on clever ways to get work done and create value, despite organizational complexity in a global enterprise. [27:15] The moment, that, probably

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“Earth Week Lecture” | Joel Salatin | April 27, 2012 | Colorado College

Feeding grain to pigs and chickens, says @JoelSalatin, is ecologically wasteful. On homesteads, pigs foraged and chickens ate kitchen scraps. Herbivore-based cultures relied on nature rather than performing the work of tillage. [24:30] In the future, we will, of necessity,

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Why Architecture is needed even in Agile? (MP3 audio) | Jim Coplien | January 2011 | Business901

Scrum came out of lean and predates agile, says @jcoplien. [29:30] Everyone thinks that Scrum came out of Agile. Now wait a minute, let’s stop this for a second, because Scrum has been around since 1993 and the Agile manifesto was 2001.

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Interview with Pat Metheny | Bob Barker | April 24, 2013 | jazz.fm91

Risk taking in casual sessions with peers now lacks intimacy, says @PatMetheny, since observers can make every event a world premiere by recording anywhere at any time.  Private sessions are the exception rather than the rule.  In the JazzFM91 interview,

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Ronald Coase | On Externalities, the Firm, and the State of Economics (MP3 audio)| May 21, 2012 | EconTalk

In Ronald Coase interview, surprised to hear the “price system is a very expensive system”, agreeing that “firms act like socialists, because it’s cheaper”. On the recording, around 27:00: Roberts: How did you come to write that paper as an

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Nassim Nicholas Taleb “The Fragility Crisis is Just Begun” (MP3 audio) | June 3, 2010 | Radio Open Source with Christopher Lydon

In 2010, @nntaleb said newspapers give over-causation about a system’s environment, @RadioOpenSource read as “newspapers make us stupid” with their explanations. In the interview by Christopher Lydon with Nassim Nicholas Taleb (starting about about 27:00): Taleb … In economic life,

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Jason Hwang | “The Innovators Prescription” (MP3 audio) | Jan. 18, 2012 | The Brad Brooks Show

Healthcare in the U.S. may be trapped in its own thinking, so a radical outside perspective could be an alternative approach. Jason Hwang, M.D., M.B.A. is an internal medicine physician and Executive Director of Healthcare at Innosight Institute, a non-profit

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Eric D. Beinhocker | “Beyond left and right: An evolutionary way of thinking about economics and public policy” (MP3 audio) | This View of Life on SoundCloud

Seeing the economy as a complex adaptive system may dissolve political positions of right and left, when approached from an evolutionary perspective. Eric D. Beinhocker is the author of The Origin of Wealth and a senior advisor to McKinsey &

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Geoffrey Hodgson, “Evolutionary Thinking and Its Policy Implications for Modern Capitalism” (MP3 audio) | Sept. 22, 2011 |This View of Life, SoundCloud

Economists who cite Darwin may consider a deeper reading, or looking at the interpretation by Geoffrey Hodgson. David Sloan Wilson interviews economist Geoffrey Hodgson at a workshop organized by the Group for Research in Organizational Evolution. Check out the workshop

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Lawrence Busch | “Standards: Recipes for Reality” (MP3 audio) | July 15, 2011 | Department of Food, Agricultural and Resource Economics (FARE), University of Guelph

Standards can help economic and social progress not only in technologies, but also in agriculture. Dr. Lawrence Busch [in] his book “Standards: Recipes for Reality.” … argues that standards play a central role in constructing reality. We discuss this argument

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David Sloan Wilson, “The Psychopathic Chicken (and Other Lessons of Evolution)” (MP3 audio) | August 27, 2008 | Culture Snob

Evolution is often portrayed in the biological frame.  It can also be relevant in viewing systems in other frames. [David Sloan] Wilson, a distinguished professor of biology and anthropology at Binghamton University in Binghamton, New York, is one of the

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This content is syndicated to Twitter. For professional perspectives, look to Coevolving Innovations; for a photoblog, look to Reflections, Distractions.
  • Causal Texture of the Environment
    For those who haven’t read the 1965 Emery and Trist article, its seems as though my colleague Doug McDavid was foresighted enough to blog a summary in 2016!  His words have always welcomed here, as Doug was a cofounder of this web site.  At the time of writing, the target audience for this piece was primarily Enterprise Architecture practitioners.   [DI] Pub […]
  • Causal texture, contextualism, contextural
    In the famous 1965 Emery and Trist article, the terms “causal texture” and “contextual environment” haven’t been entirely clear to me.  With specific meanings in the systems thinking literature, looking up definitions in the dictionary generally isn’t helpful.  Diving into the history of the uses of the words provides some insight. 1. Causal texture 2. Conte […]
  • Trist in Canada, Organizational Change, Action Learning
    Towards appreciating “action learning”, the history of open systems thinking and pioneering work in organization science, the influence of Action Learning Group — in the Faculty of Environment Studies founded in 1968 at York University (Toronto) — deserves to be resurfaced. 1. Trist in Canada 2. Environmental studies, and contextualism in organizational-chan […]
  • Remembering Doug McDavid
    The news that Doug McDavid — my friend, colleague, and one of the original cofounders of the Coevolving Innovations web site in 2006 — had passed, first came through mutual IBM contacts.  More details subsequently showed up on LinkedIn from Mike McClintock. Doug left us on May 9, while working at his desk, likely in the very earliest hours of the morning. Hi […]
  • Pattern language, form language, general systems theory, R-theory
    One of the challenges with the development of pattern languages is the cross-appropriation of approaches of techniques from one domain (i.e. built physical environments) into others (e.g. software development, social change). The distinction between pattern language and form language is made by Nikos Salingaros. Design in architecture and urbanism is guided […]
  • How do Systems Changes become natural practice?
    The 1995 article by Spinosa, Flores & Dreyfus on “Disclosing New Worlds” was assigned reading preceding the fourth of four lectures for the Systemic Design course in the Master’s program in Strategic Foresight and Innovation at OCAD University.  In previous years, this topic was a detail practically undiscussed, as digging into social theory and the phen […]
  • 2020/06 Moments June 2020
    Most of month in Covid-19 shutdown Phase 1, so every photograph is an exterior shot. Bicycling around downtown Toronto, often exercising after sunset.
  • 2020/05 Moments May 2020
    Life at home is much the same with the pandemic sheltering-in-place directives, touring city streets on bicycle, avoiding the parks on weekends.
  • 2020/04 Moments April 2020
    Living in social isolation in our house with 5 family members, finishing off teaching courses and taking courses.
  • 2020/03 Moments March 2020
    The month started with a hectic coincidence of events as both a teacher and student at two universities, abruptly shifting to low gear with government directives for social distancing.
  • 2020/02 Moments February 2020
    Winter has discouraged enjoying the outside, so more occasions for friend and family inside.
  • 2020/01 Moments January 2020
    Back to school, teaching and learning at 2 universities.
  • Wholism, reductionism (Francois, 2004)
    Proponents of #SystemsThinking often espouse holism to counter over-emphasis on reductionism. Reading some definitions from an encyclopedia positions one in the context of the other (François 2004).
  • It matters (word use)
    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 […]
  • Systemic Change, Systematic Change, Systems Change (Reynolds, 2011)
    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 mo […]
  • Environmental c.f. ecological (Francois, 2004; Allen, Giampietro Little 2003)
    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).
  • Christopher Alexander’s A Pattern Language: Analysing, Mapping and Classifying the Critical Response | Dawes and Ostwald | 2017
    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.
  • Field (system definitions, 2004, plus social)
    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 […]
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