Can ‘Approach X’ be used to tackle Wicked Problems?

Abbe Boulah's Weblog

An invitationto examine claims of design and planning approaches

to effectively ‘solve’ wicked problems.

Thorbjørn Mann 2021

(This post is the first part of several attempts to explore the question, in comments or further posts)

The question whether certain design and planning approaches can be used to ‘solve’ or ‘tackle’ wicked problems [1] is an issue raised anew with each new ‘approach’ being brought out on the market. Such claims have been made for widely popular ‘thinking’ ways — ‘systems thinking, ‘design thinking’, ‘holistic thinking’, ‘sociocracy’ and Pattern Language [2], for example:

The question may have to be restated somewhat. Of course every such approach ‘can’ be used to try to address wicked problems. If we only have one tool, that will be the one we will, indeed must use. But the real question is about the validity or plausibility of claims that an approach will reliably be effective

View original post 2,038 more words

What might Coordinated System-Wide Climate Emergency Activity look like?

jon@thanflowers.com

Context

As we know, the response to the climate change emergency is such a ferociously complicated system problem that no-one can solve it on their own; all must play a part. But the disparate nature of different organisations and the very many different things that need to happen can mean that we end up (potentially) pulling in different directions and confusing the general public who are less close to the whole thing.

I wanted to paint a vision of what coordinated action could look like, to provoke discussion.

Let’s Suppose…

That in a place, let’s call it Snorbenden, the multiple active community groups, local employers who cared about this, the council, other public institutions, decided that they would coordinate their various activities, for a year, around a theme of air quality. I’ve just taken air quality as an example, but the rationale could run along the lines of:

  • It’s important…

View original post 1,142 more words

What is work? What’s your definition?

the once-chosen path

It’s a deeply cybernetic concept – and it’s incredibly useful to realise this.

Gangs of men on relief work during the depression, 1930s, by Sam Hood

Work is:

>> ‘effort, to a purpose, using judgement and discretion, within boundaries, over time’. <<

(This is based on two definitions by Elliott Jacques, given with citations below).

Korean workers take their lunch break from their construction work at the Korean Operational Tactical Air Range (KOTAR). The KOTAR, assigned to the 51st Services Squadron, is being developed during Exercise Commando Crest

This formal definition turns out to be deeply cybernetic, and very helpful in thinking about this engagement. It relates to the ideas of ‘purpose’, ‘the situation’, and ‘sensemaking’.

Critical elements here are:

Purpose.
A fundamental and powerful idea. The intent to achieve something.
Purpose depends on context, framing, understanding, level of thinking and much more. The purpose and the context must…

View original post 408 more words

New Books Network | Martin Reynolds and Sue Holwell, “Systems Approaches to Making Change: A Practical Guide” (2020)

Martin Reynolds and Sue Holwell (Retired) Jul 27, 2021 Systems Approaches to Making Change: A Practical Guide SPRINGER 2020

New Books Network | Martin Reynolds and Sue Holwell, “Systems…

Creative Systemic Research, Susu Nousala + Jelena Sucic (ST-ON 2021-02-08) – Coevolving Innovations

source:

Creative Systemic Research, Susu Nousala + Jelena Sucic (ST-ON 2021-02-08) – Coevolving Innovations

Creative Systemic Research, Susu Nousala + Jelena Sucic (ST-ON 2021-02-08)

 July 26, 2021  daviding

The Creative Systemic Research Platform (CSRP) Institute, led by Susu Nousala and Jelena Sucic, is distinctive in approaching systemic design from a bottom-up, longitudinal perspective.  The co-presidents were able to join us in conversation at a Systems Thinking Ontario session, remotely from Finland and Switzerland, at a significant time disadvantage.

continues in source:

Creative Systemic Research, Susu Nousala + Jelena Sucic (ST-ON 2021-02-08) – Coevolving Innovations

Leydesdorff L. (2021) Social Order: Continuously Reconstructed in Terms of Expectations. Constructivist Foundations 16(3): 372–374

Social Order: Continuously Reconstructed in Terms of Expectations Loet Leydesdorff

Leydesdorff L. (2021) Social Order: Continuously Reconstructed in Terms of Expectations. Constructivist Foundations 16(3): 372–374

Sillitto, Dori et al – a series of papers on defining ‘system’

What is a System? An Ontological Framework (2017)

What is a System? An Ontological Framework D. Dori, H. Sillitto Published 2017 Computer Science Syst. Eng. Over the past decades, the definition of system has eluded researchers and practitioners. We reviewed over 100 definitions of system to understand the variations and establish a framework for a widely acceptable system definition or a family of system definitions. There is much common ground in different families of definitions of system, but there are also important and significant ontological differences. Some differences stem from the variety of belief systems and worldviews, while others have risen within particular communities. Both limit the effectiveness of system communities’ efforts to communicate, collaborate, and learn from others’ experience. We consider three ontological elements: (1) a worldview-based framework for typology of different system types and categories, (2) key system concepts that are fundamental to the various system types and categories, and (3) appropriate language for the target audience. In this work, we establish the ontological framework, list key concepts associated with different types of system, and point to a direction for agreeing on an integrated set of system definitions in a neutral language consistent with the framework. The definitions are compatible with both the realist and constructivist worldviews, covering real (physical, concrete) and conceptual (abstract, logical, informatical) systems, which are both human-made (artificial) and naturally occurring, using language acceptable to a wide target stakeholder audience. The contribution of this paper is setting up an ontologically founded framework of system typologies, providing definitions for system, and identifying the issues involved in achieving a widely accepted definition or family of definitions of system. Collapse

[PDF] What is a System? An Ontological Framework | Semantic Scholar

System Definition, System Worldviews, and Systemness Characteristics (2020)

System Definition, System Worldviews, and Systemness Characteristics D. Dori, H. Sillitto, +6 authors D. Krob Published 2020 Computer Science IEEE Systems Journal The definition and characteristics of system have eluded humans for a very long time, as different people refer to the concept of system in various ways. A set of surveys conducted by us revealed seven distinct worldviews on system. We describe the surveys, analyze their results, and comment on differences between the responses. Based on the outcomes, we offer a comprehensive definition of system that can be accepted by the various worldview holders as an arrangement of parts or elements that together exhibit behavior or meaning that the individual constituents do not. Further, we present a compiled list of systemness characteristics—features that different worldview holders expect any system to exhibit. Then we present and describe the different worldviews on system, compare them with previous system definitions, and map them to five system domains. We conclude that the various system worldviews offer useful perspectives for systems engineers, who should have the flexibility to accept the fact that different worldviews may be appropriate for different situations and be ready to adopt them as necessary. Collapse

[PDF] System Definition, System Worldviews, and Systemness Characteristics | Semantic Scholar

“System”: a Comprehensive Approach (2017)

Defining “System”: a Comprehensive Approach H. Sillitto, D. Dori, +6 authors D. McKinney Published 2017 Sociology Over the past decades, a common definition of the term system has eluded researchers and practitioners alike. We reviewed over 100 current and historical definitions of system in an effort to understand perspectives and to propose the most comprehensive definition of this term. There is much common ground in different families of definition of system, but there are also important and significant differences. Some stem from different belief systems and worldviews, while others are due to a pragmatic desire to establish a clear definition for system within a particular community, disregarding wider considerations. In either case, it limits the effectiveness of various system communities’ efforts to communicate, collaborate, and learn from the experience of other communities. We discovered that by considering a wide typology of systems, Bertalanffy’s General Systems Theory provides a basis for a general, self-consistent sensible framework, capable of accommodating and showing the relationships amongst the variety of different definitions of and belief systems pertaining to system. Emergence, the appearance of a new phenomenon or capability as a result of relation or interaction between objects, is key in differentiating between objects that are systems and those that are not. Hence we propose a family of definitions, related by the common theme of emergence, which is in line with both the realist and constructivist worldviews, and covers real and conceptual systems. We believe this better reflects the current scope of systems engineering and is required to support the aspirations expressed in INCOSE SE Vision 2025. Collapse

Defining “System”: a Comprehensive Approach | Semantic Scholar

An Assessment of the Adequacy of Common Definitions of the Concept of System – Salado and Kulkarni (2021)

An Assessment of the Adequacy of Common Definitions of the Concept of System July 2021 Conference: INCOSE International Symposium 2021 Authors: Alejandro Salado Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University Aditya U Kulkarni

(PDF) An Assessment of the Adequacy of Common Definitions of the Concept of System

Just presented at the INCOSE conference. Systems Engineering (very much in its own terms – starting from ‘we restrict ourselves to systems in the world’, defining ’emergence’ in fixed thermodynamic terms etc) goes second order!

Abstract

In all areas of scientific study, definitions are used to describe the meaning of terms. Thus, a good set of definitions aids the scientific process by enabling researchers to communicate in a common language. In this regard, the Systems Engineering community has allocated significant effort to understanding the nature and scope of common definitions of a system. However, less attention has been given to formally examining whether these common definitions of a system are adequate. In this paper, we argue that the common definitions of a system are limited in their ability to adequately define a system’s boundary. Furthermore, we argue that the common definitions of a system rely on context and prior understanding to communicate the boundary of a system. Finally, by using concepts from philosophy and mathematical logic, we show that the common definitions of a system are nominal in their ability to define a system’s boundary.

Coming of age: a review of embodiment and the neuroscience of semantics – Meteyard et al (2012)

Coming of age: a review of embodiment and the neuroscience of semantics Lotte Meteyard 1, Sara Rodriguez Cuadrado, Bahador Bahrami, Gabriella Vigliocco

Coming of age: a review of embodiment and the neuroscience of semantics – PubMed

 Cortex

. 2012 Jul;48(7):788-804. doi: 10.1016/j.cortex.2010.11.002. Epub 2010 Nov 18.

Coming of age: a review of embodiment and the neuroscience of semantics

Lotte Meteyard 1Sara Rodriguez CuadradoBahador BahramiGabriella ViglioccoAffiliations expand

Free article

Abstract

Over the last decade, there has been an increasing body of work that explores whether sensory and motor information is a necessary part of semantic representation and processing. This is the embodiment hypothesis. This paper presents a theoretical review of this work that is intended to be useful for researchers in the neurosciences and neuropsychology. Beginning with a historical perspective, relevant theories are placed on a continuum from strongly embodied to completely unembodied representations. Predictions are derived and neuroscientific and neuropsychological evidence that could support different theories is reviewed; finally, criticisms of embodiment are discussed. We conclude that strongly embodied and completely disembodied theories are not supported, and that the remaining theories agree that semantic representation involves some form of convergence zones (Damasio, 1989) and the activation of modal content. For the future, research must carefully define the boundaries of semantic processing and tackle the representation of abstract entities.

Melanie Mitchell Trains AI to Think With Analogies

Complexity Digest

Melanie Mitchell has worked on digital minds for decades. She says they’ll never truly be like ours until they can make analogies.

Read the full article at: www.quantamagazine.org

View original post

Transformative Experience – LA Paul

As I grokked this from that one episode of Very Bad Wizards, intution and rationalism in making (certain types of) decisions down based on an understanding of what the outcomes of a choice of action might possibly be like break down as a result of the incommensurability involved in you potentially being a different person with unknown motivations in that possible future.

L.A. Paul: “The Transformative Experience” HeadCon ’14 L.A. Paul [11.18.14]

L.A. Paul: “The Transformative Experience” | Edge.org

85 | L.A. Paul on Transformative Experiences and Our Future Selves February 24, 2020 | Philosophy, Thinking

85 | L.A. Paul on Transformative Experiences and Our Future Selves – Sean Carroll

Transformative Experience L. A. Paul, Transformative Experience, Oxford University Press, 2014, 189pp., $27.95 (hbk), ISBN 9780198717959. Reviewed by Krister Bykvist, Stockholm University 2015.10.09

Transformative Experience | Reviews | Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews | University of Notre Dame

THE (SOCIET) CYBERNETICS SCARE AND THE ORIGINS OF THE INTERNET – Slava Gerovitch

source:

and the Origins of the Internet « balticworlds.com

THE CYBERNETICS SCARE AND THE ORIGINS OF THE INTERNET

Published in the printed edition of Baltic Worlds page 32-38, vol II:1, 2009
Published on Balticworlds.Com on February 11, 2010article as pdf1 commentshare

In the late 1950s, as Soviet society began to shed the legacy of Stalinism, science and engineering became new cultural icons. The new, post-Stalin generation was fascinated with Sputnik, nuclear power stations, and electronic digital computers. The popular image of an objective, truth-telling computer became a vehicle for a broad movement among scientists and engineers calling for reform in science and in society at large. Under the banner of cybernetics, this movement attacked the dogmatic notions of Stalinist science and the ideology-laden discourse of the Soviet social sciences.

Proposed originally in 1948 by the American mathematician Norbert Wiener as a science of control and communication in the animal and the machine,1 cybernetics acquired a much wider interpretation in the Soviet context. Soviet cyberneticians aspired to unify diverse cybernetic theories elaborated in the West ­— control theory, information theory, automata studies and others — in a single overarching conceptual framework, which would serve as the foundation for a general methodology applicable to a wide range of natural and social sciences and engineering.2

The more Soviet society departed from Stalinism, the more radical the cybernetic project became. Step by step, Soviet cyberneticians overturned earlier ideological criticism of mathematical methods in various disciplines, and put forward the goal of “cybernetization” of the entire science enterprise. Under the umbrella of cybernetics, scientific trends that had been suppressed under Stalin began to emerge under new, cybernetic names, and began to defy the Stalin-era orthodoxy. “Biological cybernetics” (genetics) challenged the Lysenkoites in biology, “physiological cybernetics” opposed the Pavlovian school in physiology, and “cybernetic linguistics” (structuralism) confronted traditional comparative philology and historical linguistics. Soviet cybernetics enthusiasts set the goal of achieving a comprehensive “cybernetization” of modern science by representing the subject of every discipline in a unified, formalized way and by moving toward a synthesis of the sciences. They aspired to translate all scientific knowledge into computer models and to replace the ideology-laden, “vague” language of the social and life sciences with the “precise” language of cybernetics.

continues in source: THE CYBERNETICS SCARE AND THE ORIGINS OF THE INTERNET

and the Origins of the Internet « balticworlds.com

ANZSYS home

ANZSYS …Australia and New Zealand Systems Society including South Africa, India and Oceania

ANZSYS home

Hidden Ways of Knowing – Rebel Wisdom (retreat and practice sessions) – Nora Bateson, Tyson Yunkaporta and others

Dates  Hybrid Retreat: September 11 & 12 (3:00pm UK / 10:00am US East / 7am US West)  Practice Sessions: September 16, 23, 30 and 7 October

Hidden Ways of Knowing

Groundbreaking book on methods to study social-ecological systems – Stockholm Resilience Centre

Source:

Groundbreaking book on methods to study social-ecological systems – Stockholm Resilience Centre

Groundbreaking book on methods to study social-ecological systems

Photo: A. Ranjan/Unsplash

Open-access book covers 28 broad groups of methods, featuring contributions from almost a hundred authors in 16 countries

Story highlights

  • For the first time, the wide range of approaches being used in social-ecological research is presented in one handbook
  • The book is edited by centre researchers Reinette Biggs and Maja Schlüter within a team of six editors from Stellenbosch University, SRC and Rhodes university
  • It features a large number of centre researchers as chapter authors, as well as many SRC collaborators around the world

For the first time, the wide range of approaches that are currently being used in social-ecological research is presented in one handbook.

The Routledge Handbook of Research Methods for Social-Ecological Systems is out, and many centre researchers and collaborators have contributed to it.

The book is edited by centre researchers Reinette Biggs (also at Stellenbosch University) and Maja Schlüter together with Alta de Vos, Rika Preiser, Hayley Clements and Kristine Maciejewski from Stellenbosch and Rhodes Universities.

Source:

Groundbreaking book on methods to study social-ecological systems – Stockholm Resilience Centre