Discovery Sampling for Requisite Social Variety

Peter Jones Dialogic Design, Governance, Social Systems Design

Stakeholder selection may be the most critical step in the design of fair and inclusive dialogues that reflect a community’s contributions and perspectives. This is a classic social systems problem that we resolve through a stakeholder identification and recruiting process that, in Dialogic Design, is called Evolutionary Stakeholder Discovery. Over the last decade we have been instrumenting, through careful definition of criteria and observation, how stakeholder discovery can be conducted to identify and recruit optimal participants from a theoretical population sample. As a documented case, in 2012 the Strategic Innovation Lab convened a Dialogic Design Co-Laboratory as a multi-stakeholder panel for the SSHRC Imagining Canada’s Future initiative, as one of the six regional cross-Canadian panels. With only 20 stakeholders, we aimed to represent Southern Ontario for the question of future impacts of urbanism in the region for a 20 year horizon. For this project we selected participants by an evolutionary sampling from a matrix mapping the following characteristics: STEEP/CI (Foresight categories): Social, Technological, Ecological, Economic, Political, Cultural/Intellectual Christakis Five I’s: Intelligence, Impact, Implementation, Interest, and Involvement Sector: Public, Academic, Private/commercial, …

Rethinking “Design” in the Public Sector

Peter Jones Governance, Social Systems Design

(Edited version first published in Jan 2016 Canadian Government Executive ) Government is widely perceived as lagging and fragmented in providing integrated online services to citizens. In the meantime, people take to the Web for managing nearly every service and information requirement. We have learned to expect a high quality of customer service online, well-designed sites and experiences, and thoughtful consideration to the management of personal transactions. There is a reason why the quality of online engagement has been steadily perfected by the private sector: it is because it has put a premium on “design.” The intentional rethinking of the so-called user experience, combined with continual research into customer preferences, and evaluation of new features and design changes, has made all the difference. Amazon, Facebook, Google, and Microsoft have built their holds on the public by a constant dedication to user-centered design and service engineering. They have set a high bar for access and usability that public services must address, or risk becoming less relevant in citizen’s lives. We could say this is an emerging digital divide between customers and citizens. …

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 …

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.         …