Handbook of Systems Sciences

Peter Jones Cybernetics, Systemic Design, Systems Thinking

A Massive Tome – Too Big for Home? The Springer Handbook of Systems Sciences, at nearly 1500 pages, isn’t the desk reference for everybody. Today the major science publishing platforms provide references and edited books as independent, searchable chapters, so a web search should find most of these. The Handbook has 9 sections and 49 chapters, ranging from systemic design. The Handbook included mainly what I would call second and third generation systems science. The volume is co-edited by two past-presidents of ISSS, and maybe 7 others wrote chapters, as well as Michael Lissack, recent president of ASC. Unlike an Encyclopedia, the Handbook did not aim to index the field or update the popular topics in systems thinking. These are largely works from 21st century systems theory, relevant to applied research and practice. The section areas included: Systems modeling and methodology Management and organizations Systems practice Complex systems modeling Systems …

SDN Touchpoint: Systems Thinking in Service Design

Peter Jones Design for Practice, Service Design, Systemic Design

Touchpoint is back! The long-awaited issue on systems thinking in service design was just published by the Service Design Network, and of course, we find it is beautifully designed. The guest editors were two well-regarded academics, J. Tuomas Harviainen from Tampere University and Josina Vink, who is a graduate of an early cohort in the OCADU SFI MDes program, and is now a service design professor at Oslo’s AHO, a partner school of ours for many years. Josina’s editorial titled “The Systems Turn in Service Design” sets out a grand challenge for both disciplines: “There is a transition underway in service design that ischallenging traditional ways of working. As the scopeof service design projects continues to expand, servicedesigners are increasingly confronted by the immensecomplexity of overlapping service systems. Amidentangled global crises – including climate change,migration, eroding democratic norms and strainedhealthcare systems – there is growing awareness of theurgent need for …

Critical Crisis Convergences

Peter Jones Cultural innovation, Governance, Systemic Design

The Global Problematique – A Lindy Megacrisis We are blessed & cursed to live in unusual times. Nassim Taleb speaks of the Lindy effect, the observation that the life expectancy of a practice (or idea) is proportional to its current age. Long-established practices tend to endure, statistically and culturally. (The Lindy Effect was named after the Lindy Deli in NYC, the last one of which closed soon after Antifragile was published). Don’t bet the Eastern Orthodox Church will disappear during modernism, as it will outlive your lifespan. So will the Global Problematique. The Year 2020 now represents 50 years since the presentation of The Predicament of Mankind, Hasan Özbekhan’s prospectus to the inaugural Club of Rome. The Predicament assembled the first structured assessment of the highest-concern challenges acknowledged universally across the world, the first model of what today we would call a global challenges report. I recently held a talk …

Our Theories of Theories of Change: The Social Construction of Transformation

Peter Jones Governance, Social Systems Design, Systemic Design, Transformation Design

Theories of Change (ToC) are well-known in changemaking initiatives and program evaluation as structural models that represent the expected enactment of proposed change programs. They are logic models that portray proof of process that present the sequences of action and the desired outcomes to justify systems change programs. With a research collaborator Ryan Murphy (PhD student, OCAD SFI alum) we have been tracing an emerging research agenda this year to explore the systems theory basis for theories of change. We are starting with critiques of the formalist logic models used in change programs to define claims of social causality from proposed action plans and aim to design systemic approaches to improve visual narration, systems logics, and reliability. See: Murphy, R. & Jones, P. (2020). Systemic Strategy: Systemic Design Methods for Complex Systems Change. RSD9 Symposium, NID Ahmedabad, India. Murphy, R. and Jones, P. (2020). Design management for wicked problems: Towards …