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Monday, July 25
 

2:00pm

Taking Advantage of Systems Thinking to Improve a STEM Project to Promote Regional Development
2748 Taking Advantage of Systems Thinking to Improve a Stem Project to Promote Regional Development Luis Arturo Pinzon-Salcedo, Erika Van den Bergue Patiño & Angélica María Castaño-Herrera Email address: lpinzon@uniandes.edu.co, e.van10@uniandes.edu.co, am.castano263@uniandes.edu.co Between 2014 and 2016, a group of researchers from three different universities and a social innovation park, developed a STEM Project to promote regional development in three areas from the province of Cundinamarca, Colombia. The project was financed with public funds and supported the official regional plans. The intervention was carried out by a group of almost thirty researchers using several systemic and non-systemic approaches. The involvement of researchers from diverse disciplines who believed in very different paradigms, as well as the participation of communities with dissimilar interests and problems, posed serious challenges to the project. During the research inquiry the participants experienced the difficulty of integrating elements from apparently incommensurable paradigms from the social sciences, the natural sciences, and several engineering disciplines. This experience, as well as others that involved the promotion of regional development by taking advantage of the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics disciplines, served to propose a systemic model of intervention that we consider might be helpful in developing future STEM projects to promote regional development. The aforementioned intervention drew upon several systems thinking principles, methodologies and techniques, such as boundary critique, soft systems methodologies, critical systems heuristics, Midgley’s creative design of methods, and system dynamics. The model proposed for new regional STEM interventions takes advantage of several systemic methodologies, principles and techniques, and proposes a new multi-paradigm multimethodolgy that aims an improving the efficacy and effectiveness of regional interventions. The model includes several key elements that we consider particularly relevant: the promotion of community capacity to guarantee a sustainable future, community development at different levels (cultural, social, economic, etc.), training that involves both individual and social learning, and continuous evaluation. This paper also illustrates the important role that computer supported collaborative learning and other information and communication technologies can play in these interventions, as well as the relevance of the communities of practice theories to address diverse issues but particularly identity, power and learning issues.

Chairs
avatar for Dr. Jennifer Wilby

Dr. Jennifer Wilby

Vice President Admin, ISSS
In 1978 Wilby started working in urban planning, followed by database programming and textbook publishing. From 1994-97 she worked as a Research Assistant in the Centre for Systems Studies at the University of Hull and then from 1997-99 at the University of Lincoln. From 1999 to 2004... Read More →

Monday July 25, 2016 2:00pm - 2:30pm
ECCR 1B55

4:00pm

A Systems Approach to the Development of Research Capacity: A Case Study of a Systems Practice Masters Programme
2879 This paper brings together a systems approach and an academic literacies perspective to offer a response to the problem of how to support professionals enrolled for postgraduate study in the transition to scholarly research practice. While such study presents exciting opportunities for practice-led research, there are a number of challenges for the academic staff member who supervises the research. For becoming a researcher and scholar is more than a process of bridging a gap between the world of work and academia, as these students seek to maintain their professional identities while navigating what is valued in the academy and the power relations in and between contexts. Recent approaches to research capacity development have shifted away from viewing the transition to scholarly research practice as simply a matter of transferring skills across contexts or as socialization into the valued research conventions. Rather, from an academic literacies perspective, becoming a research scholar means coming to participate in a practice characterized by particular knowledge, tools, values, behaviours, ways of using language, and power relations, some of which is tacit and some of which is explicit. From this perspective, language use such as reading and writing is central to the process of thinking, producing data, and generating new knowledge. Supporting students in this process can present a challenge to academic staff for whom, as experts, the process of doing scholarly research has become tacit. Pressure to increase graduation rates and to reduce time to completion in postgraduate programmes, has placed the role, practice and responsibility of the supervisor in facilitating the development of research practice under increased scrutiny. Many universities have intensified their efforts at supervisor and research training by creating human activity systems with purposes aligned with this goal. At the University of Cape Town where the research reported in this article is located, discipline experts have also taken the initiative to draw on language and literacy experts to support students in research writing development for the research report or dissertation. This contribution of the literacy expert has often been in the form of a course or series of lectures as a service to a programme or group of students. This paper reports on an example of the systemic collaboration, at the level of a programme, between literacy and discipline experts in the design of a dissertation process. This programme attracts students who are working full time, usually in engineering disciplines and is offered as a block release Systems Practice Masters Programme. The purpose of supervisory practice in this programme is to develop practice-led research drawing on systems theory and practice. The specific aim of the collaboration between discipline and literacy expert is to facilitate the holistic development of the reading and writing practices valued in scholarly research practice. This design incorporates the integration of activities, modelling and feedback that facilitates interaction between the conventions of the research practice, what the student brings to the practice, and the agency of the student. The systemic approach involves working together at programme level with a clear conceptual framework of academic literacies. In this paper we present the integrative design as an activity system. We present preliminary findings of our investigation of the development of students’ research writing practices and their perceptions of the dissertation preparation process. These findings are based on the analysis of student texts, focus group interviews and reflections on the impact of supervisory practice. Key words: Academic literacies; dissertation preparation; postgraduate research capacity development; practice-led research; systemic design for learning; systemic collaboration

Chairs
avatar for Professor Ockie Bosch

Professor Ockie Bosch

President, International Society for the Systems Sciences
Professor Ockie Bosch was born in Pretoria, South Africa. He first came to Australia in 1979 where he was an invited senior visiting scientist with the CSIRO in Alice Springs. After one year in Longreach (1989) he emigrated to New Zealand where he was offered a position with Landcare... Read More →

Monday July 25, 2016 4:00pm - 4:30pm
ECCR 245
 
Tuesday, July 26
 

1:30pm

A Whole Systems Approach to Education Redesign: A Case Study on the Need for Inter-Generational Perspectives and Inclusion
2740 This study was commissioned by the Global Education Futures forum for presentation at its fourth International Conference in Moscow, Russia, from 29 February to 2 March 2016 (http://edu2035.org/#program). The objective was to conduct field research with a special focus on the vision of the future of education held by young people. This report presents some views and perspectives of my generation regarding what they want education to be like in the future. In northern California, my teachers Ms. B and Mr. Wahanik used the framework of questions and activities that my father and I developed to gather this kind of information by running a sort of “focus group” with my 10th Grade class and to find out what their views, perspective, opinions, ideas, hopes and concerns are regarding this theme. This group consisted of mainly 15 and 16 year olds, and there are around 40 students in my class. They had less than an hour to run the whole process, but everyone already knew each other really well so they could go quickly through the process, as described in this report. A similar process was run with a group of young people in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Here I had to work with people whom I had never met before and who also didn't know each other at all. We had exactly 12 students from a variety of public and private schools with an age range from 12 to 17 years old. However, we had a total of three hours with them, so we could do an icebreaker and take our time to move through the whole thing. In both cases (California and Argentina), the idea was to engage young people in a series of structured creative Future Thinking adventures that helped them “invent” what education (learning and teaching) should be like in the year 2035. The idea behind this is that educators and those involved in the systemic re-design of education systems might want to include this kind of data and these kind of perspectives in the work they are doing. I would like to present my findings at the ISSS and to see whether others think more of this kind of work should be done.

Chairs
avatar for Dr. Alexander Laszlo

Dr. Alexander Laszlo

President, Bertalanffy Center for the Study of Systems Science
SIG Chair: Leadership and Systemic Innovation | The LaSI SIG focuses on the formal area of research related to the theme of systemic innovation. As a place where change leaders and change makers team up with systems scientists to co-create impactful innovations, it aims to catalyze... Read More →

Tuesday July 26, 2016 1:30pm - 2:00pm
ECCR 1B51

2:00pm

Crucial Institutional Innovations: Evolutionary Change in Higher Education
2752 In 1969, Erich Jantsch published his paper about the disruptive forces affecting higher education and society. He was serving as a research associate at MIT and studying the futures of MIT and the American University at the time. Jantsch (1969) said students were concerned about whether the college curriculum was relevant. Meanwhile, society was concerned about the degrading side effects of technology on the systems of human living, cities, and the natural environment. Lastly, Jantsch pointed to the rising concern about the lack of systems and futures thinking. He coined these concerns “disruptive forces” and believed that the university was well-positioned to assume a new leadership role in society in order to assist in transforming these concerns. Jantsch predicted (hoped for) five crucial institutional innovations in order to transform disruptions into “cohesive forces”. Jantsch passed away ten years after the publication of this document and didn’t have the opportunity to see if his ideas came to fruition. Using a mixed methods approach, this study explores the evolution of higher education institutions by posing questions that revolve around Jantsch’s five crucial innovations, including a new purpose for the university, socio-technological system engineering, altering the structure of the university, re-orienting the operational principles of the university, and a more active relationship between the new university and society. Five institutions highly referenced for their innovation will be invited to participate in this research. Jantsch’s “crucial innovations” frame this investigative study. The conceptual framework consists of the concepts of disruptive forces, the three functions of higher education, self-renewal, and integrative planning. This paper will present the preliminary findings to this study. Keywords- Erich Jantsch, higher education, disruptive forces, self-renewal, integrative planning, innovation.

Chairs
avatar for Dr. Alexander Laszlo

Dr. Alexander Laszlo

President, Bertalanffy Center for the Study of Systems Science
SIG Chair: Leadership and Systemic Innovation | The LaSI SIG focuses on the formal area of research related to the theme of systemic innovation. As a place where change leaders and change makers team up with systems scientists to co-create impactful innovations, it aims to catalyze... Read More →

Tuesday July 26, 2016 2:00pm - 2:30pm
ECCR 1B51

3:30pm

Patterns that Connect: Exploring the Potential of Patterns and Pattern Languages in Systemic Interventions towards Realizing Sustainable Futures
2778 “On each continent and in each nation one can find creative bubbling, a multitude of political initiatives in the direction of economic, social, political, cognitive, educational, ethical or existential regeneration. But everything that must be connected is yet dispersed, fragmented, separated. These initiatives are not aware of each other, no institution enumerates them, and no one is familiar with them. They are nonetheless the breeding stock for the future. It is now a matter of recognizing, aggregating, enlisting them in order to open up transformational paths. These multiple paths, jointly developing, will intermesh to form a new Path which will decompose the path we are following, and which will guide us toward the still invisible and inconceivable metamorphosis.” (Morin, 2011, p34) Working towards more sustainable systems is a critical endeavor of the 21st century requiring collaborative efforts for the broad development of systemic literacy. This paper explores the potential of patterns and pattern languages as tools for systemic change and transdisciplinary collaboration, investigation and design, and outlines the ways they could be further operationalized to develop and leverage collective intelligence and agency towards Curating the Emergence of Thrivability and Realizing Sustainable Futures in Socio-Ecological Systems. Considering patterns and pattern languages, social organization, and systemic change from a variety of perspectives, the author suggests that the concept of pattern has an unfulfilled potential as cognitive technology for meaning-making, mediation, systemic configuration and exchange of knowledge, both within and across domains of human activity. In particular, patterns have properties that could help address the unity versus diversity dilemma while dealing with complex challenges. Rather than giving a complete theoretical review of the field of transdisciplinarity and systemic change, the paper sets key elements of the context and investigates possibilities and directions for future work. Starting with an outline of the nature and dimensions of the complexity challenges the world is faced with from a systemic and cybernetic perspective, the paper explores the versatile properties and functions of patterns and shows how they could help conceive and develop a whole family of tools for systemic focus, interpretation and connectivity. Finally, it presents possibilities of applications of pattern-based approaches in transdisciplinary intervention contexts, using patterns as boundary objects to bring into focus different dimensions of complexity. Keywords: complex systems, patterns, pattern languages, systems literacy, critical systems thinking

Chairs
avatar for Dr. Alexander Laszlo

Dr. Alexander Laszlo

President, Bertalanffy Center for the Study of Systems Science
SIG Chair: Leadership and Systemic Innovation | The LaSI SIG focuses on the formal area of research related to the theme of systemic innovation. As a place where change leaders and change makers team up with systems scientists to co-create impactful innovations, it aims to catalyze... Read More →

Tuesday July 26, 2016 3:30pm - 4:00pm
ECCR 1B51

4:30pm

Developing a Theory of Systems Change Approach to Practice-Based Research in a Professional Public Health Doctoral Program
2921 At the University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health, we are developing a distance learning doctoral program in public health (DrPH) focusing on adaptive leadership. Students complete dissertations, some explicitly using action research models, but all in support of the overarching program goal of developing practice based evidence for guiding systemic change. Core principles and skills embedded in our curriculum include systems thinking and systematic reflection. Dissertation research begins with building a problem statement for a “wicked” problem the student wishes to address, with associated initial action relevant broad research questions (how do we solve this problem?). We have required students to articulate their assumptions about what the problem is or might be and critically consider alternative ways of framing their problem statements, and have drawn from soft systems, systems dynamics, and Bob Williams’ syntheses of these and other systems traditions in doing so. As a next step, we require students to develop a conceptual framework and a visual representation of it that draws both from scholarly literature and from reflection on their practice experience. Identifying alternative ways of stating the problem does itself open up the exploration of more possibilities for solutions. Since, however, the ultimate goal of student scholarship is to contribute to solving a problem, not just stating it, developing the conceptual framework or model often involves describing a current state of affairs, selecting and specifying constructs or dimensions relevant to a description of this current state, as well as envisaging a more desirable future state and a pathway(s) to get to the future state from the current state. So there is a “theory of change,” or assumptions about what gets included in a description of the system, and how to get from point A to point B, that is at least implicit in the student’s model or conceptual framework, which we want to see made explicit. Furthermore, students need to develop, and operationalize (be able to apply to data collection and analysis) specific research questions investigating those pathways for change and/or refining the description of the current state. Thus far, not surprisingly, the results of research often include a re- or amended conceptualization of the model with which the student started, which can become the basis for action recommendations for change. In the more participatory action research options taken by some of the students, the student researcher is an active agent in those pathways for change, for instance acting as a developmental evaluator or facilitating community of practice discussions. In a “theory of change” approach one of the sources we draw from is evaluation methodology: evaluators from the Aspen Institute used the term in the 1990’s to discuss a participatory approach to evaluation that directed evaluators to facilitate discussions among stakeholders about what assumptions about how change happens they were bringing to a given intervention and, ideally, come to some consensus about this before finalizing a logic model for the intervention and relevant indicators. This has been further developed in evaluation circles via increasing critical attention paid to program logic and theory and intervention models. Another, more research-based approach to developing ‘theories of change,’ however, has to do with comparing the received ideas of the students as public health practitioners with what is supported in systems and social science literature. We would like to discuss with ISSS colleagues the implications of taking a “theory of change” approach to the development of conceptual frameworks and associated research questions as applied to the “wicked problems” our students select, and to that end will present some examples from our recent work with students.

Chairs
avatar for Prof. Shankar Sankaran

Prof. Shankar Sankaran

Professor, University of Technology Sydney
Vice President Research and Publications, International Society for the Systems Sciences.SIG Chair: Action Research (see below for information)Shankar Sankaran specialises in project management, systems thinking and action research. He is a Core Member of a UTS Research Centre on... Read More →

Tuesday July 26, 2016 4:30pm - 5:00pm
ECCR 151
 
Thursday, July 28
 

1:30pm

Design for Social Innovation: Integrating the Theory and Practice of Action Research and Participatory Design for Organizational and Social Impact
2810 This paper explores the similarities, differences and potential synergy between action research, social systems design, and design thinking. As three distinct participatory approaches to systemic change with different origins and assumptions, the authors explore ways in which these approaches can converge for maximum social impact. Kurt Lewin is often referred as the originator of action research within the field of social psychology. In the late 1930s he created the foundation for organizational behaviour and introduced an interactive cycle of reflection, discussion, decision and action which empowered people affected by a problem to cooperate in its solution. Social systems design, as developed by Bela H. Banathy in the 1980s, is a disciplined future creating inquiry that synthesizes and grows from the soft systems science tradition. Its emphasis is in designing the ideal system through a values-driven dialogic process that engages stakeholders into an exploration of “what should be” rather than trying to fix the existing problems. Design thinking is a recent articulation of a similar way of thinking but with the intention of addressing the lack of creativity and innovation capacity in business corporations. Tim Brown coined the buzzword in 2009 and his design company, IDEO, became the leader is popularizing ‘human-centered design” for creative problem solving. Although there are differences in language, assumptions, and methodological approaches, these three participatory processes share the intention of involving people in the creation of new possibilities that will directly impact them. When looking at the complexity of social problems, it is becoming clear than trying to “fix” the current social systems is not sufficient to create a peaceful and sustainable culture. A systemic, future-oriented, and ideal-informed design orientation is necessary to innovate the evolution of human institutions. Education is one of those institutions that is ripe for radical redesign. Rather than continuing to prepare our youth for a broken socio-economic system that does not produce equity and is destroying the environment, we need to empower future generations to engage in a learning process that explores the edge between the known and unknown, and in the spirit of design, involves them in the design and experimentation of new possibilities. As part of the inquiry, the authors share insights, lessons and reflections from the experience of designing an alternative high school program. A group of stakeholders from a charter school in California engaged in the redesign of single subject classes to trans-disciplinary workshops, replacing grades with competency-based assessments such as digital badging, and incorporating deeper experiential learning throughout the high school curriculum. Designing a school in collaboration with the stakeholders was enlightening beyond developing pedagogical innovations customized for the community of learners. Concepts in human-centered design were critical to assist stakeholders, especially traditionally trained teachers, in embracing the systemic changes. Emotional challenges, such as anxiety and apprehension, were addressed through design-thinking principles, such as empathy. The authors learned how elements of each of the three methodologies of action research, social systems design and design thinking each contribute critical components in the process of creating systemic change. This paper explores the similarities, differences and potential synergy between action research, social systems design, and design thinking. As three distinct participatory approaches to systemic change with different origins and assumptions, the authors explore ways in which these approaches can converge for maximum social impact. Kurt Lewin is often referred as the originator of action research within the field of social psychology. In the late 1930s he created the foundation for organizational behaviour and introduced an interactive cycle of reflection, discussion, decision and action which empowered people affected by a problem to cooperate in its solution. Social systems design, as developed by Bela H. Banathy in the 1980s, is a disciplined future creating inquiry that synthesizes and grows from the soft systems science tradition. Its emphasis is in designing the ideal system through a values-driven dialogic process that engages stakeholders into an exploration of “what should be” rather than trying to fix the existing problems. Design thinking is a recent articulation of a similar way of thinking but with the intention of addressing the lack of creativity and innovation capacity in business corporations. Tim Brown coined the buzzword in 2009 and his design company, IDEO, became the leader is popularizing ‘human-centered design” for creative problem solving. Although there are differences in language, assumptions, and methodological approaches, these three participatory processes share the intention of involving people in the creation of new possibilities that will directly impact them. When looking at the complexity of social problems, it is becoming clear than trying to “fix” the current social systems is not sufficient to create a peaceful and sustainable culture. A systemic, future-oriented, and ideal-informed design orientation is necessary to innovate the evolution of human institutions. Education is one of those institutions that is ripe for radical redesign. Rather than continuing to prepare our youth for a broken socio-economic system that does not produce equity and is destroying the environment, we need to empower future generations to engage in a learning process that explores the edge between the known and unknown, and in the spirit of design, involves them in the design and experimentation of new possibilities. As part of the inquiry, the authors share insights, lessons and reflections from the experience of designing an alternative high school program. A group of stakeholders from a charter school in California engaged in the redesign of single subject classes to trans-disciplinary workshops, replacing grades with competency-based assessments such as digital badging, and incorporating deeper experiential learning throughout the high school curriculum. Designing a school in collaboration with the stakeholders was enlightening beyond developing pedagogical innovations customized for the community of learners. Concepts in human-centered design were critical to assist stakeholders, especially traditionally trained teachers, in embracing the systemic changes. Emotional challenges, such as anxiety and apprehension, were addressed through design-thinking principles, such as empathy. The authors learned how elements of each of the three methodologies of action research, social systems design and design thinking each contribute critical components in the process of creating systemic change.

Chairs
avatar for Louis Klein

Louis Klein

SIG Chair: Organizational Transformation and Social Change, louis.klein@segroup.de
Vice President Conferences (2015), International Society for the Systems Sciences SIG Chair:    Systems Applications in Business and Industry SIG Chair:    Organizational Transformation and Social ChangeLouis Klein is an internationally recognized expert in the field of systemic... Read More →

Thursday July 28, 2016 1:30pm - 2:00pm
ECCR 200

1:30pm

Analysis of Global Quality Indicators in the National Polytechnic Institute, Mexico
2927 The public education of quality can mitigate educational differences between rich and poor families, according the report of United Nations about Human Development in 2014. The Human Development Index (HDI) is an index that measures the achievements of a country in three basic dimensions of human development: 1) A long and healthy Life, 2) Access to education and knowledge and 3) Dignified standard of life. The same report states that primary and secondary education worldwide remains at acceptable progress but in higher education levels there are large gaps between developed countries and those it in developing. Derived of policy national and institutional in education of Mexico, quality indicators involve various parameters within which highlighted, approval rating, the reproof rate and the desertion rate; although these rates are not the best way to measure the quality that exists in the process of educational training. It has been observed that ethics and responsibility of all stakeholders in the education system of this level have an influence unfavorably on the values presented by the mentioned parameters. This research attempts to find relation between educational performance and the behavior of the actors involved in the educational system; employing, a systemic methodology that allows us to evaluate the problem and contributing to the resolution of a holistically. Keyboards: Quality indicators, Educational Performance, Ethics, Responsibility.

Chairs
avatar for Professor Ockie Bosch

Professor Ockie Bosch

President, International Society for the Systems Sciences
Professor Ockie Bosch was born in Pretoria, South Africa. He first came to Australia in 1979 where he was an invited senior visiting scientist with the CSIRO in Alice Springs. After one year in Longreach (1989) he emigrated to New Zealand where he was offered a position with Landcare... Read More →

Thursday July 28, 2016 1:30pm - 3:00pm
ECCR 245