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 …

Synthesis Maps: Making Complex Systems Tangible

Peter Jones Media Ecology, Strategic Foresight, Systemic Design

Gigamaps and synthesis maps look very similar as finished products. However they differ in their developmental processes. Both are rich images that visualize complex system problems, and both are used as design artifacts in similar domains (from health to public policy, from service experiences to social change). Both are used with stakeholders for advising, planning, and designing for social and systemic challenges (wicked problems). Gigamaps are more “direct engagement in the relations of a system.” Sevaldson explains Gigamaps in a well-regarded paper and in RSD proceedings. Gigamaps employ a research through design (RTD) practice of engaging directly with a system problem and following the contours of the complexity as expressed in a design space. Synthesis maps evolved from the SFI pedagogy necessary to train students in systems thinking and to learn both system formalisms and systemic design for complex multistakeholder problems. Synthesis maps are typically designed as communicative artifacts that translate multiple knowledge perspectives about social systems to illustrate the dilemmas and challenges within a complex system scenario. Due to the coursework setting in which these are trained, often without …

MISC Magazine Interview

Peter Jones Design for Care, Media Ecology, Strategic Foresight

Interview with Dr. Peter Jones Thanks to Dustin Johnston-Jewell, Strategic Foresighter at Idea Couture and SFI MDes grad student, for the terrific interview and publication in IC’s MISC magazine. While MISC is Idea Couture’s own curated and published magazine, it has very high design values and a good range of authors, from within the fast-growing Toronto innovation firm and from outside. It extends their thought leadership by putting a printed and online journal on the street where they can curate a huge volume of ideas while scanning and managing trends. I was happy to do the 90 minute interview with Dustin, who edited and wrote much of it for the online MISC (and a shorter version in print if you’re lucky enough to get the exclusive journal). A brief excerpt follows: With the advent of biotechnology, genomics, and human-centric patient care, the healthcare industry is going through an era of rapid change. Both the rate and potency of this change are going to increase as the combined efforts of technological advancement and demographic shift bring about business opportunity for patient …

Appetite for Disruption

Peter Jones Human Values, Innovation, Media Ecology

The goal of a startup is no longer just user engagement or viability. A “preference for disruption” is celebrated, without reservation, whether a small or big business. (Only recently were reservations even fussed over – Jill Lepore’s critique of Disruption culture was published the week after this conference talk, June 23.)  She states (without critical analysis of causation): “Ever since “The Innovator’s Dilemma,” everyone is either disrupting or being disrupted. There are disruption consultants, disruption conferences, and disruption seminars. This fall, the University of Southern California is opening a new program: “The degree is in disruption,” the university announced. “Disrupt or be disrupted,” the venture capitalist Josh Linkner warns in a new book.” As an ethnographer of innovation practices, I have always appreciated Christensen and his contribution to theories of change. I also observe the trend signified by Lepore, the increasing meta-narrative of “disruption is good.” Disruptive innovation is not always beneficial to a society or even markets.  In Design for Care I fret over the preference for disruption in current business thinking and its unjustified hubris in the healthcare …