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Last Build Date: Wed, 18 Oct 2017 05:45:10 +0000


Comment on Christopher Alexander, Horst Rittel, C. West Churchman by James O. Coplien, D. Wet., Ph.D

Wed, 18 Oct 2017 05:45:10 +0000

I don't have graduate work in systems thinking? My Ph.D work at VUB integrated multiple paradigms and was referred to as an "integrative thesis." My Doktoral work integrates thinking from design, architecture, biology, and subatomic particle physics. Perhaps, David, you should learn how to check your facts. It's called research. You can't publicly disparage an individual based on five minutes of discussion. You need to be able to do fact research before getting to systems thinking. I am very disappointed in your attitude and your post.

Comment on Christopher Alexander, Horst Rittel, C. West Churchman by Jessie Henshaw

Tue, 17 Oct 2017 12:46:31 +0000

David, nice to see this broad view of your recent work. In my view Alexander was more intent on discovering universal properties, exploring nature in search of what makes wholes whole, and finding it has something to do with "centers of environmental structure". His main focus for that was on architecture, of course, and the marvel of well packaged services that are the architectural ideal. Still I see him as more of a natural scientist searching for a new language, in architecture and elsewhere, for understanding patterns (structures) of natural design with emergent life giving properties. One can take various other views too, of course, but that's the common thread I see in his varied approaches.

Comment on Christopher Alexander, Horst Rittel, C. West Churchman by Kevin Dye

Mon, 16 Oct 2017 16:53:25 +0000

This is a very interesting piece which helps us remember the uniqueness of these different approaches. All too often the words associated with these three are jumbled together into one soup by people that have not investigated the historical context of their perspectives or the relationships and incompatibilities of their approaches. Thanks for pulling it together.

Comment on Christopher Alexander, Horst Rittel, C. West Churchman by Doug McDavid

Sun, 15 Oct 2017 17:47:12 +0000

Wow, David. This is a mouthful, albeit parenthetical: "(Systems consultants working for corporate clients had to promise more concrete results on time and budget to get contracts, than were warranted e.g. by wicked problem properties… )" That is a very pertinent indictment of systemic moral hazard intrinsic to the consulting professions.

Comment on Pattern Manual for Service Systems Thinking by Service Systems Thinking, with Generative Pattern Language (Metropolia 2016/12) – Coevolving Innovations

Mon, 26 Jun 2017 20:39:15 +0000

[…] emphasis on how, with why subsequently provided as the need for that arises.  Since I had given a dense 20-minute theoretical talk in the month earlier, the invitation from Satu Teerikangas to the program in International Service Business […]

Comment on The producer-product relation, and coproducers in systems theory by Sjon van 't Hof

Wed, 05 Oct 2016 19:09:00 +0000

Thanks David. This is not the first time I found a useful explanation I needed on your website. FYI, I am working on an understanding of Churchman's trilogy dealing with the systems approach in its totality in order to further its use as a 'pre-methodology' (1) for direct application; (2) to precede other systems methodology; and (3) as a systems learning tool.

Comment on Education of the average Canadian worker and the Fourth Industrial Revolution by Jack

Sun, 24 Jul 2016 14:54:57 +0000

Though I am in the US, I agree that austerity is a pessimistic reaction that further shrinks or undermines the economy and especially hits those lower in the socioeconomic tiers. I have been supportive if the Tax Wall Street Party here in great part because of their proposal for investment in 21st century infrastructure not only here, but worldwide. Perhaps far too much political will is squandered through fear tactics to allow people to think expansively with optimism in regard to their nation- again, at least here in the US. Not only is there global competition, there is also incredible room for global collaboration as we intermingle and mutually benefit from exchange.

Comment on Systems generating systems — architectural design theory by Christopher Alexander (1968) by Michele Beaulieux

Sun, 12 Jun 2016 03:27:52 +0000

I’m the daughter of the late Joseph C. White, who was vice president, Modular Systems Division, Inland Steel Products Company in the 1960's, and I wanted to share the history of Alexander's 1968 article, "Systems Generating Systems." It is a reprint of a monograph with a 1967 copyright by Inland Steel Products Company. My father commissioned Christopher Alexander and James Robertson to develop an exhibit for the Aspen Design Conference. My father referred to the exhibit display, which was approximately 10’ long, 4’ wide, and 6’ high as “Systemat.” It had a blue steel frame and the graphics in the monograph were enlarged in the display. An original copy of the monograph is archived with my family's papers at the Milwaukee Historical Society. David Parsons, my father’s long time business partner, quoted Robertson Ward giving some historical context at my dad’s memorial service. Please feel free to contact me. I am happy to share what I know. Sincerely, Michele Beaulieux

Comment on Systems thinking and (the) systems science(s) in a system of ideas by Coevolving Innovations | Synergy, parts, wholes

Sun, 03 Jan 2016 18:38:44 +0000

[…] with multiple wholes.  There could not only be multiple wholes in the physical world, but also multiple wholes in general (e.g. Angyal 1941).  Hierarchy theory recognizes scale, at the same time it introduces logical type as a frame for […]

Comment on Towards a federated social web by daviding

Sat, 31 Oct 2015 13:13:40 +0000

To be transparent ... I've made a minor modification/clarification to the blog post after having had a conversation with +Doug McDavid yesterday. While I'm on, I had originally suggested that others might find a pod geographically closer to them than New York. Doug (in California) started the search, and asked me why geography should make a difference over the Internet. A federated social web means that people could choose to have a different pod as part of the larger federation, and work in another language. +Nicolas Stampf is on a French pod, and it makes sense for that pod to be conversing in French (rather than pinging off a server in New York). For Doug on the Internet, New York is as close as California. So, I may have initiated a campaign to make the pod for English-speaking #systemsthinking. In a federalist (rather than imperialist mode), maybe Nicolas will do the equivalent for the French-speaking community. It would then make sense for interactions between the pods ... with appropriate translations for people who aren't bilingual!

Comment on Purplsoc 2015 digests and presentation by Coevolving Innovations | Industrial Ecology in 2015

Sun, 16 Aug 2015 20:49:38 +0000

[…] enticing.  A quick check of airfares made the trip feasible, so I went (with a fortunate routing through Austria for Purplsoc bringing down the cost even […]

Comment on From Environmental Structure to Service Systems Thinking by Coevolving Innovations | Purplsoc 2015 digests and presentation

Tue, 11 Aug 2015 03:10:30 +0000

[…] — followers of Christopher Alexander’s approach — is distributed globally.  I participated in PLoP 2014 at Allerton Park, Illinois last September, and then attended AsianPLoP 2015 in Tokyo […]

Comment on Incubating Service Systems Thinking by Coevolving Innovations | From Environmental Structure to Service Systems Thinking

Tue, 30 Jun 2015 02:19:11 +0000

[…] cross-disciplinary in nature, and written at level beyond an undergraduate audience.  Since preceding presentations at other conferences had been workshop presentations of 3 to 5 hours in length, a written work turned out to be […]

Comment on Sustainable scale of an organization: A case study at IBM? by

Thu, 19 Mar 2015 10:53:08 +0000

Well, 400,000 employees for a company will definitely not be an unsignificant number. Interesting details here in the post by the way!

Comment on Sustainable scale of an organization: A case study at IBM? by Thomas Wallace

Fri, 27 Feb 2015 09:14:34 +0000

"On a constant dollar basis, this could be interpreted as a 30% drop in productivity by employees between 2001 and 2013. In order to maintain productivity per employee, either the revenue should have continue to rise, or else the number of employees should drop." However, IBM's net profit margin has continued to climb during this period. IBM In 2002, IBM bought PwC consulting and became one of the largest consulting firms in the world. Profit in consulting is a function of paying $x per hour in wages and billing at $y per hour. Costs are largely marginal. In addition, IBM has divested (sold) businesses that did not have high profit margins. In 2014, it sold its commodity x86 server unit, its money losing microelectronics business, and an outsourcing business, Customer Care. As far as IBM being in crisis -- they are now the 10th most profitable company in America. Profits have been flat the last few years, without a meaningful trend. Especially if adjustments are made for currency and other one time items. As long as they continue to make over $15 billion in profits per year, they will be just fine. And if they cut their low cost, low margin Customer Care business, which they did, employees will decrease and profits will stay roughly flat.

Comment on Sustainable scale of an organization: A case study at IBM? by Thomas Wallace

Thu, 26 Feb 2015 22:43:39 +0000

Thomas Wallace Says: IBM’s pre tax income margins have been increasing at IBM steadily since 2002. Since it looks like revenue per employee is trending towards zero, how can this be the case? Huge ‘mix of business’ changes within IBM. In 2002, IBM bought PwC consulting, and this business has grown significantly over the succeeding years. At the same time, IBM has gotten out of commodity hardware with low profit margins. Determining profitability in consulting is simple … you pay an employee X per hour and bill him at Y per hour. Not a lot of fixed costs – mostly variable costs. If a company requires a 20% margin, they simply have to accept engagements where they bill their employees at a 20% markup. And refuse to take engagements where they can’t get it. IBM’s total cash flow has been reasonably stable for the last few years, and the changes are driven more by the timing of large payments and receipts (for example, a tax windfall) than significant trends. In 2014, IBM sold its ‘customer care’ unit of global services to Syntex. It is clear that this was on the low end of IBM’s service offerings and was facing pressure on margins. Customer care includes help desk outsourcing. My only points are: 1. IBM’s mix of business is a major driver of financial metrics and can’t be ignored in an analysis. 2. IBM’s strategy has been to divest low margin, commodity like businesses and all unprofitable businesses (microelectronics) to increase margins/profits instead of revenues. 3. IBM is about the 10th most profitable company in the US, and has no problems with its balance sheet and very little chance of serious financial difficulties. It’s high investment grade credit rating is a good place to start for any doubters.

Comment on Sustainable scale of an organization: A case study at IBM? by Paul Sutera

Sun, 01 Feb 2015 20:04:53 +0000

A nice study on how IBM offshored 10s of thousands of jobs, laying waste to middle-class incomes in the first world. While being in every geography is a good strategy, I would hesitate to quote Sam Palmisano. Look at the billions in cash flow that were squandered on stock-buybacks. These buybacks didn't increase IBM's revenue or profits. IBM was in the position to buy its way to hegemony in any market it chose. It had a database product fully equal to Oracle, for example. It could have led the way in Cloud Computing but now is playing catch up. IBM was in the right place at the right time in China and other BRICs countries, but they counted on continued expansion in these markets instead of new product development.

Comment on A Proposal for Collaboration on a Pattern Language for Service Systems by Coevolving Innovations | Incubating Service Systems Thinking

Sat, 25 Oct 2014 13:05:55 +0000

[…] the Proposal to Collaborate on a Pattern Language for Service Systems from January, the initiative has now taken on a label of Service Systems Thinking.  The […]

Comment on Incubating Service Systems Thinking by 2014/10/16 16:15 David Ing, “An Invitation to Service Systems Thinking: Collaborating on a New Generative Pattern Language”, #RSD3 | In brief. David Ing.

Fri, 17 Oct 2014 21:58:41 +0000

[…] want to look at the two 90-minute videos of “Incubating Service Systems Thinking” at […]

Comment on T-shaped professionals, T-shaped skills, hybrid managers by The Future of Professional Membership Associations | unlocking content value

Fri, 10 Oct 2014 10:24:57 +0000

[…] within adult skills, there is a growing use of the terms, “The T-shaped Learner” and entrepreneurial learning. The vertical part is the individual specialism while the bar is a […]