Systems Change for New(s) Media

Peter Jones Civil media, Media Ecology, Systemic Design

(First posted on Medium) We have credible understanding to suggest that news media, and the journalism supposedly informing the news, no longer contributes to a meaningful shared public reality. With the arrest of Julian Assange, and Big Media’s denouncement of him as a publisher/journalist and as a person, society suffers another major blow from officialdom in the ongoing struggle to locate responsibility in public reporting. Assange built Wikileaks into a self-organizing publishing system, the newsroom of the future. If Western media actually cared about access to truth via “certified authentic documents” there might be less distrust of the content, process, and intentions of news organizations. But instead, when the Guardian (of all outlets) and New York Times actually cheer on the framing and takedown of an influential independent publisher, who has arguably put his life on the line, it serves the function of a political gang hit on a rival content producer. Albeit, a producer whose work embarrasses the state-conformity of the mainstream newsies. I mean, the Guardian wants you to believe he’s culpable for rape — when there is …

Systemic Barriers to Effective Societal Response to Terrorism

Peter Jones Civil media, Dialogic Design, Governance

“Organizational learning must concern itself not with static entities called organizations, but with an active process of organizing which is, at root, a cognitive enterprise. Individual members are continually engaged in attempting to know the organization, and to know themselves in the context of the organization. At the same time, their continuing efforts to know and to test their knowledge represent the object of their inquiry. Organizing is reflexive inquiry.” (Argyris & Schön, 1978, 16–17). Systems Thinkers Toronto turned out a dozen people last week for a demonstration the new SDD dialogue management software and a discussion of dialogic design practice, which can be seen as an embodiment of organizational and social system cognitive organizing.  I teach a basic form of the methodology in my Systemic Design course in OCAD University’s Strategic Foresight and Innovation graduate program. As a core practice of the Institute for 21st Century Agoras these methods have been developed from Christakis and Warfield’s Interactive Management over the last decade. The formal events are recognized and certified as Co-laboratories of Democracy). The unique contribution of the software is in guiding a group of stakeholders to map out the influence relationships among structured statements …

Flourishing Cities: Toward an Ecological Governance

Peter Jones Civil media, Sustainable Systems, Transformation Design

We held a participatory design workshop at Urban Ecologies 2015 (June 19) to test-run a process with the Flourishing Cities canvas, a system map for citizen co-design for planning future governance commitments and preferred future outcomes The Flourishing Cities framework adapts a design tool from the Flourishing Business Model, a planning system for constructing strongly sustainable business models. The design tool in both cases is a visual organizer for engaging stakeholders in co-creating values-centred operational guidance, in the Cities case, adapted for civil society engagement with urban planners and local governments.  This is based on research work developed from OCADU sLab Strongly Sustainable Business Model group as applied to the flourishing of cities and settlements. As suggested by the “strongly sustainable” terminology, the normative commitment of the planning system is toward a fullY-integrated social system of an organization with its inclusive societal contexts, human participants, and the natural ecosystem. A significant design challenge of our time is anticipating the relationships of multiple environmental and social problems as a complex system of nonlinear effects.  Consider how climate change debates stay mired in the unproductive positions of …

Future Evolution of Canadian Governance in the Digital Era

Peter Jones Civil media, Governance, Strategic Foresight, Systemic Design

A team of faculty and grad students with the OCAD U Strategic Innovation Lab facilitated a series of civic and expert engagements for an ongoing SSHRC research project on futures of governance, led by PI Evert Lindquist of U Victoria.  The sLab contribution was to iteratively develop a Gigamap, a snapshot of which is shown here. A Gigamap is a large-scale visualization of the systemic relationships in the domain, in this variation of the technique, revealing participant’s understanding of the spectrum of changes influencing and transforming governance in the digital era.  The issue is not one of “digital governance,” instead our focus is on the systemic shifts anticipated within federal, provincial and local governance and citizen experience driven by the rapid alterations brought on by digital cultures. The March issue of Canadian Government Executive printed and posted a story about the evolving Gigamap our team developed to reflect the contributions from policy experts, innovators, and interested citizens over three invitational workshops. The brief version of the story is available online: Systems evolution: A Gigamap by Greg van Alstyne.         …