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The Systems Thinker – A Lifetime of Systems Thinking - The Systems Thinker
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Here is a very small sample of the obvious things I have found to be wrong:

Improving the performance of the parts of a system taken separately will necessarily improve the performance of the whole. False. In fact, it can destroy an organization, as is apparent in an example I have used ad nauseum: Installing a Rolls Royce engine in a Hyundai can make it inoperable. This explains why benchmarking has almost always failed. Denial of this principle of performance improvement led me to a series of organizational designs intended to facilitate the management of interactions: the circular organization, the internal market economy, and the multidimensional organization.
Problems are disciplinary in nature. Effective research is not disciplinary, interdisciplinary, or multidisciplinary; it is transdisciplinary. Systems thinking is holistic; it attempts to derive understanding of parts from the behavior and properties of wholes, rather than derive the behavior and properties of wholes from those of their parts. Disciplines are taken by science to represent different parts of the reality we experience. In effect, science assumes that reality is structured and organized in the same way universities are.

This is a double error. First, disciplines do not constitute different parts of reality; they are different aspects of reality, different points of view. Any part of reality can be viewed from any of these aspects. The whole can be understood only by viewing it from all the perspectives simultaneously.

Second, the separation of our different points of view encourages looking for solutions to problems with the same point of view from which the problem was formulated. Quoting Einstein: “Without changing our pattern of thought, we will not be able to solve the problems we created with our current patterns of thought.” When we know how a system works, how its parts are connected, and how the parts interact to produce the behavior and properties of the whole, we can almost always find one or more points of view that lead to better solutions than those we would have arrived at from the point of view from which the problem was formulated. For example, we do not try to cure a headache by brain surgery, but by putting a pill in the stomach. We do this because we understand how the body, a biological system, works. When science divides reality up into disciplinary parts and deals with them separately, it reveals a lack of understanding of reality as a whole, as a system.

Systems thinking not only erases the boundaries between the points of view that define the sciences and professions, it also erases the boundary between science and the humanities. Science, I believe, consists of the search for similarities among things that are apparently different; the humanities consist of the search for differences among things that are apparently similar. Science and the humanities are the head and tail of reality—viewable separately, but not separable. It is for this reason that I have come to refer to the study of systems as part of the “scianities.”
The best thing that can be done to a problem is to solve it. False. The best thing that can be done to a problem is to dissolve it, to redesign the entity that has it or its environment so as to eliminate the problem. Such a design incorporates common sense and research, and increases our learning more than trial-and-error or scientific research alone can.
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systems  philosophy  essay  design 
6 hours ago by np
Shirky: Ontology is Overrated -- Categories, Links, and Tags
One reason Google was adopted so quickly when it came along is that Google understood there is no shelf, and that there is no file system. Google can decide what goes with what after hearing from the user, rather than trying to predict in advance what it is you need to know.

Let's say I need every Web page with the word "obstreperous" and "Minnesota" in it. You can't ask a cataloguer in advance to say "Well, that's going to be a useful category, we should encode that in advance." Instead, what the cataloguer is going to say is, "Obstreperous plus Minnesota! Forget it, we're not going to optimize for one-offs like that." Google, on the other hand, says, "Who cares? We're not going to tell the user what to do, because the link structure is more complex than we can read, except in response to a user query."

Browse versus search is a radical increase in the trust we put in link infrastructure, and in the degree of power derived from that link structure. Browse says the people making the ontology, the people doing the categorization, have the responsibility to organize the world in advance. Given this requirement, the views of the catalogers necessarily override the user's needs and the user's view of the world. If you want something that hasn't been categorized in the way you think about it, you're out of luck.
philosophy  innovation  Emergence 
13 hours ago by janpeuker
Nathan Phillips, Nick Sandmann encounter: a viral video shows a different side - CNN
The comments draw the students back to the group. Some respond with boos and gather around the men.
"How you gonna tell somebody to go shoot up a school -- that's like really rude," says a voice from the young crowd.
The men accuse them of reaping the benefits of slave labor. The men repeatedly use the n-word to refer to the black teens in the group, prompting cries from group. The men ask the students if the water they're drinking "tastes like incest" and call the students "young Klansmen."
The teens listen for a few minutes longer, accusing the men of being racist and booing when the main speaker uses the word "faggots" when talking about equal rights.
Then, the students get a signal from off camera to leave. They cheer and wave, chanting "let's go home" as they run off.
pol.505  philosophy  teaching_pol_theory  political_theory  Passions  reasoning 
15 hours ago by Jibarosoy
Best Practices: What Should We do? Inviting Students into Political Theory through Action
Teaching political theory promises better thinkers, better community members, and better democratic citizens. Teaching political theory in a community of learning is often especially rewarding as the lived community experience of the campus becomes food for thought and a site of action. As an assistant professor beginning my first job, my challenge was to design an introductory course that would be compelling to students highly interested in contemporary politics and activism and less excited about theoretical inquiry and ultimate questions. I needed to develop a political theory course for a theory-shy audience. This is the story of a political theory course thematically centered on action. In a world impatient with thought and much more appreciative of the virtues of action, or at least activity, it is possible to invite students into the study of thought by focusing on the question of action.
pol.505  teaching_pol_theory  Simulations  games  philosophy  political_theory 
20 hours ago by Jibarosoy
Political Theory Simulations in the Classroom: Simulating John Locke’s Second Treatise of Government
Political scientists frequently use in-class simulations as teaching tools. However, few such exercises have been developed to assist in teaching pre-modern political theories. This is unfortunate because simulations effectively promote active learning and excite students about course material. This article develops a new simulation to teach Locke's Second Treatise of Government in an introductory general education or political science course. Surveys of participants indicate that the Locke simulation promotes active learning, as well as understanding of course concepts, teamwork, and interest in the material.
teaching_pol_theory  games  Simulations  philosophy  political_theory  pol.505 
20 hours ago by Jibarosoy
How Azavea Selects Projects - Azavea - Beyond Dots on a Map
As a mission-based organization, how we select the projects we pursue is an ongoing conversation at Azavea. We share our thought process here.
consulting  philosophy  work 
20 hours ago by mojodna
Star Wars: Droids Are Slaves | National Review
If you’re opposed to slavery, is it okay to still like Star Wars?
fantasy  philosophy  essays 
22 hours ago by Kjaleshire
Was ist philosophische Bildung? – Annäherung an eine Reflexionskategorie – Praefaktisch
Nicht Halbbildung ist das Problem unserer Epoche, sondern die Abwesenheit jeder normativen Idee von Bildung, an der sich so etwas wie Halbbildung noch ablesen ließe. (Liessmann,  2006, S. 9) In der schulischen Praxis ist von Bildungsprozessen meist nur noch als Kompetenzerwerb die Rede.
philosophy 
22 hours ago by fwhamm

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