EP9 Joe Norman: Applied Complexity – The Jim Rutt Show

Joe Norman is affiliated with the New England Complex Systems Institute (NECSI), the Real World Risk Institute (RWRI), and Applied Complexity Science, LLC. In this podcast, Jim and Joe discuss applied complexity, emergence, climate science and GMOs.

Source: EP9 Joe Norman: Applied Complexity – The Jim Rutt Show

A Scrum Book: The Spirit of the Game (published 2019/08/14) – Systems Changes – Open Learning Commons

 

Source: A Scrum Book: The Spirit of the Game (published 2019/08/14) – Systems Changes – Open Learning Commons

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Aug 16

In the pattern language movement, this book, long under development, is worth noting:

Jeff Sutherland, James O. Coplien, and The Scrum Patterns Group, A Scrum Book: The Spirit of the Game, The Pragmatic Bookshelf, Release 1.0 2019, ISBN: 978-1-68050-671-6, https://pragprog.com/book/jcscrum/a-scrum-book 3

The hardcopy book is also available via Amazon, at https://www.amazon.com/Scrum-Book-Spirit-Game/dp/1680506714

For background, there’s an interview with Jeff Sutherland and Jim Coplien as ” Q&A on A Scrum Book: The Spirit of the Game” | Ben Linders | June 29, 2019 | InfoQ at https://www.infoq.com/articles/book-review-scrum-spirit-game/ 2

The Scrum Book has two pattern languages:

  • The Product Organization Pattern Language; and
  • The Value Stream Pattern Language

The long development period for the 2019 publication dates back to 2008, when there was a preliminary meeting at VikingPLoP 2008. The second meeting at ScumPLoP 2010 meeting was described as the “world’s first topically focused PLoP” to capture patterns of Scrum practice.

The work of the worldwide community has been conducted in the wiki way.

The scale of the decade that passed between the initiation of the project and a bound copy of the book may be compared to that of Christopher Alexander.

The effort required for major works should not underestimated.

“We always overestimate the change that will occur in the next two years and underestimate the change that will occur in the next ten. Don’t let yourself be lulled into inaction.” From his book, “The Road Ahead,” published in 1996. [via “The quotable Bill Gates” | Nancy Weil | June 23, 2008 | PC World at https://www.pcworld.idg.com.au/article/225699/quotable_bill_gates/

 

 

 

Scrum Pattern Community

Home page of the Scrum PLoP conference community

Source: Scrum Pattern Community

 

 

what is black?

Graham Berrisford on Beer and Ashby

I haven’t included Graham’s attempts to – I guess – reconceputalise – much of systems thinking at http://grahamberrisford.com/, although he often comments and posts in the systems thinking groups. This is principally because I don’t usually feel I understand them, but tend to think of his content as obtuse and a bit off – a combination which tends to be the most effective in preventing me from posting. If I don’t agree but understand, I can post (with or occasionally without comment – my view is that everything intellectual has to be ‘buyer beware’), and if I agree – even if I don’t understand – I’m ok to amplify the signal…

However, there’s no doubt Graham’s efforts are sincere and I think there are some good challenges and interesting interpretations in these two pieces, in particular, which are worth a look. They also led me – with Graham’s voiced suspicion that the 1974 Hayek Nobel Prize Lecture might be a direct response to Cybersyn – to that interesting piece.

 

 

Link – Beer’s ideas: Overview

Beer’s ideas – applying cybernetic ideas to management science

https://bit.ly/2uPxFn5

Copyright 2017 Graham Berrisford. One of more than 100 papers on the “System Theory” page at http://avancier.website . Last updated 16/09/2019 12:59

Thinkers like Ackoff, Beer and von Foerster were wise men with good advice to offer people.

Arguably however, they and other thinkers in 1970s undermined the concept of a system.

Many today refer to ideas found in Beer’s work, especially his attempts to apply classical cybernetics and Ashby’s ideas about variety.

In my view, Beer stretched cybernetics beyond what Ashby would have regarded as science.

And stretched his analogy between the central nervous system and business management beyond rational analysis.

To say Beer succeeded in applying Ashby’s law to a nation’s economy, or in applying the structure of the central nervous system to the management of a business, seems pseudo-scientific.

Empirical evidence that Beer’s VSM is a useful reference model is better put down to the experience of Beer as a manager, and the experience of consultants who use it.

Contents

Beer’s inspiration

Ashby’s cybernetics

Ashby’s “variety”

Project Cybersyn

The five systems of the Viable System Model (VSM)

Beer’s use of the biology-sociology analogy

Conclusions and remarks

Further reading and references

Link – Beer’s ideas: Overview

 

Link – Ashby’s introduction to cybernetics with respect to Enterprise Architecture: http://grahamberrisford.com/AM%204%20System%20theory/SystemTheory/ChallengingSystemsThinkers/06%20An%20introduction%20to%20cybernetics%20(Ashby).htm

Ashby’s introduction to cybernetics

With respect to Enterprise Architecture

Copyright 2017-9 Graham Berrisford. One of a hundred papers on the System Theory page at http://avancier.website. Last updated 12/03/2019 21:17

TOGAF says EA “regards the enterprise as a system, or system of systems.”

A general system theory was developed in the1950s by Bertalanffy, Wiener, Ashby and others.

This discussion includes several quotes from Ashby’s Introduction to Cybernetics (1956).

  1. Ross Ashby (1903-1972) was a psychologist and systems theorist.

“Despite being widely influential within cybernetics, systems theory… Ashby is not as well known as many of the notable scientists his work influenced.”

Understanding Ashby’s ideas helps you to understand much else in the field of systems thinking.

The discussion that follows relates Ashby’s ideas to Enterprise Architecture (EA).

 

For example:

“Cybernetics was defined by Wiener as “the science of control and communication, in the animal and the machine” in a word, as the art of steersmanship.

Co-ordination, regulation and control are its themes, for these were of the greatest biological and practical interest.” (1956)

One may say coordination (or integration), regulation and control are the themes of Enterprise Architecture (EA).

This paper copies some sections from Ashby’s book.

It paraphrases some sentences, replacing Cybernetics by EA, and added comments presenting EA as a branch of Cybernetics.

Note that this is Cybernetics in its classical form – before sociologists messed with it by speaking of second-order cybernetics.

Contents

Chapter 1: WHAT IS NEW

Chapter 2: CHANGE

Chapter 3: THE DETERMINATE MACHINE

VECTORS

Chapter 4 THE MACHINE WITH INPUT

THE VERY LARGE SYSTEM

Chapter 5: STABILITY (intro only)

Chapter 6: THE BLACK BOX (intro only)

Chapter 7: QUANTITY OF VARIETY (intro only)

Chapter 8: TRANSMISSION OF VARIETY

Chapter 9: INCESSANT TRANSMISSION (intro only)

Chapter 10: REGULATION IN BIOLOGICAL SYSTEMS (intro only)

Chapter 11: REQUISITE VARIETY (intro only)

Chapter 12: THE ERROR-CONTROLLED REGULATOR (intro only)

Chapter 13: REGULATING THE VERY LARGE SYSTEM

Link – Ashby’s introduction to cybernetics with respect to Enterprise Architecture: http://grahamberrisford.com/AM%204%20System%20theory/SystemTheory/ChallengingSystemsThinkers/06%20An%20introduction%20to%20cybernetics%20(Ashby).htm

 

 

 

 

Systems Changes: Learning from the Christopher Alexander Legacy (ST-ON, 2019/02/11) – Coevolving Innovations (David Ing)

Source: Systems Changes: Learning from the Christopher Alexander Legacy (ST-ON, 2019/02/11) – Coevolving Innovations

Learning from the Christopher Alexander Legacy

One of the aims of the Systems Changes research program is to build on the pattern language approach.  This body of work stretches back into the 1960s, and has been cross-appropriated from built environments to software development (e.g. agile methods) and organizational change.  The February 2019 meeting of Systems Thinking Ontario was an opportunity to bring some people not familiar with the territory up to speed.

Here is the abstract for the talk:

The 1977 book, A Pattern Language: Towns, Buildings, Construction is prominent in public library collections around the world. It represents, however, only one stage of the many works by Christopher Alexander, from his first book published in 1964, to his final book released in 2012. In addition multiple international conferences continue his legacy, in architecture and urban design (PUARL, for 10 years), in software development (PLoP, for 25 years), and in social change (PURPLSOC, for 5 years). Alexander was a builder of environment structure — an architect — and other communities have aspired to adopt the approach that he championed.

This Systems Thinking Ontario session will review pattern languages in three parts:

  1. The Eishin School project (1985, published as a book in 2012);
  2. Multi-Service Centers (1968); and
  3. Beyond Built Environments, cross-appropriating the approach from architecture to other domains.

The pursuit of “systems generating systems” at the foundation of Christopher Alexander’s pattern language has generally not been appreciated, and deserves a deeper inquiry.

Noticeable by their absence are the books A Pattern Language (1977), and The Timeless Way of Building (1979), that are the most frequently cited works.  With the domain primarily not built environments, and instead other systems domains, the Eishin School and Multi-Service Centers projects reveal more about methods-in-practice.

Digital audio of the presentation and discussion has been synchronized with slides previously posted on Coevolving Commons.

For listening on-the-go, a downloadable audio file is provided.  In the case it’s hard to hear on a mobile device, there’s also a digitally boosted volume version.

Audio
February 11
(complete,
1h37m)
[20190211_ST-ON_Ing.mp3]
(90MB)
[20190211_ST-ON_Ing_plus3db.mp3]
(volume boosted 3db, 90MB)

The video is available as downloadable, for disconnected devices.

Video H.264 MP4 WebM
February 11
(complete,
1h37m)
[20180211_ST-ON_Ing HD m4v]
(HD 3331Kbps 2.4GB)
[20180211_ST-ON_Ing nHD m4v]
(nHD 71Kkps 147MB)
[20180211_ST-ON_Ing HD webm]
(HD 464Kbps 481MB)
[20170308_0840_OCADU_Ing nHD webm]
(nHD VP9 431MB)

The title reflects that we have much we can learning from the legacy of Christopher Alexander.  The challenge and opportunity is building on that work, recognizing its strengths, and acknowledging the contexts beyond build environments where new value may be uncovered.

Source: Systems Changes: Learning from the Christopher Alexander Legacy (ST-ON, 2019/02/11) – Coevolving Innovations

 

 

Narrating Wholeness: Pattern Language Generating Semi-Lattice(s), System(s), and/or Holon(s) (PUARL 2018/10/27) – Coevolving Innovations (David Ing)

 

Source: Narrating Wholeness: Pattern Language Generating Semi-Lattice(s), System(s), and/or Holon(s) (PUARL 2018/10/27) – Coevolving Innovations

Narrating Wholeness: Pattern Language Generating Semi-Lattice(s), System(s), and/or Holon(s) (PUARL 2018/10/27)

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:

The environmental pattern language will contain hundreds of subsystems and tens of thousands of individual patterns. Every conceivable kind of building, every part of every kind of building, and every piece of the larger environment will be specified by one or more subsystems of the environmental pattern language.

In summary: An environmental pattern language is a coordinated body of design solutions capable of generating the complete physical structure of a city. The language is designed to grow and improve continuously as a result of criticism and feedback from the field (Alexander, Ishikawa, & Silverstein, 1967, p. foreword 3).

Does (and/or should) the pattern language community therefore be architecting and/or designing systems? To be clear, a subsystem is a system, with the additional property that it is contained within a larger whole.

The workshop will be conducted as a participatory session, with an intent to summarize findings for the proceedings. The workshop is organized as three steps:

  • 1. Communicative Framing
  • 2. Dialectical Sensemaking
  • 3. Narrative Synthesizing

The extended abstract (below) outlines the workshop. Subsequent publications (i.e. a blog post) may be released after the event, to summarize some of the discussions and findings.

Audio for the session was recorded.  In a departure from my usual presentations, I decided not to create a full slide deck, but instead step through the textual article.  The video accessible on Youtube roughly lines up the sections in the paper to the talk.

The plenary sessions preceding the workshop had run overtime, so this workshop was cut short in order to let participants catch lunch.

Audio
October 27
(24m16s)
[20181027_PUARL_Ing NarratingWholenessGenerative.mp3]
(23MB)

For people who want to warch offline, here are some downloadable video files.

Video H.264 MP4 WebM
October 27
(24m16s)
[20181027_PUARL_Ing HD m4v]
(HD 1448Kbps 287MB)
[20181027_PUARL_Ing nHD m4v]
(nHD 40Kkps 32MB)
[20181027_PUARL_Ing HD webm]
(HD 217Kbps 76MB)
[20181027_PUARL_Ing nHD webm]
(nHD VP9 57MB)

PUARL has been prominent in continuing the Christopher Alexander legacy, with director Hajo Neis as one of the original coauthors of pattern language works since the 1970s.  Formally, the Portland Urban Architecture Lab has focused on built environments with architects and designers.  Beyond them, the systems foundations in pattern language should recognize that the movement has now included software developer since the 1990s, and social change practitioners since the mid-2000s .

Narrating Wholeness: Pattern Language Generating Semi-Lattice(s), System(s), and/or Holon(s)

Reference:

  • Alexander, Christopher, Sara Ishikawa, and Murray Silverstein. 1967. Pattern Manual. Berkeley, California: Center for Environmental Structure.

Source: Narrating Wholeness: Pattern Language Generating Semi-Lattice(s), System(s), and/or Holon(s) (PUARL 2018/10/27) – Coevolving Innovations