Systems thinking & complexity

Dave Snowden

The idea of systems and thinking systematically, about the properties of the whole being different from the parts and the dependency on interaction between system elements has been around for a long time. But general systems theory traces back to the start of the twentieth century.

The Chinese Test Example

Stephen Downes: Half an Hour

It''s encouraging to see recent trends in math instruction trying to move beyond the "Old Way" - that hallowed, relentless focus on the process of performing calculations without ever helping students see what the calculations *mean*. That''s a really interesting use of the Chinese Room example (it is well known as such to philosophers). link] The example was originally intended as a response to the ''Turing Test'' model for evaluating artificial intelligence.

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Complex Systems and the “Rashomon Effect”

Irving Wladawsky-Berger

But part of my fascination with the subject is that I often ask myself similar questions when thinking about the equally mysterious world of highly complex emergent systems, that is, systems where the whole can at times be quite different from the sum of their parts.

Scale and Complex Systemic Innovation

Irving Wladawsky-Berger

They excel at creative destruction , the term that economist Joseph Schumpeter popularized almost seventy years ago to describe the process of transformation that accompanies disruptive innovation. By investing in new products or processes, the company can sell them to their already large customer base and reap greater rewards faster. This kind of complex systemic innovation leverages lots of known ideas and makes them work together to help address important problems.

Design Principles for Complex, Unpredictable, People Oriented Systems

Irving Wladawsky-Berger

But, they do not work so well when dealing with highly complex systems with fast changing, interacting components, where it is much less clear what is going on in the present, let alone how things will evolve into the future. We need different principles and processes to address this class of highly complex problems, many based on disruptive innovations which we have not encountered before. But, socio-technical systems are oriented toward people and services.

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Innovation is not a repeatable process

Harold Jarche

Can innovation be promoted through better processes? I have not been able to find any regular correllation between well adopted innovation processes and actual innovation outcomes, and I’ve been looking pretty hard. I want every knowledge worker to discover his or her own processes.

Cognitive Systems and Big-Data-driven Applications

Irving Wladawsky-Berger

In the first week of October I participated in a Cognitive Systems Colloquium hosted by IBM at its Thomas J. These systems will learn and interact to provide expert assistance to scientists, engineers, lawyers, and other professionals in a fraction of the time it now takes.” .

The Science of Complex Systems

Irving Wladawsky-Berger

When I look back over my long, relatively eclectic career, complex systems have been a common theme in all the activities I’ve been involved in. It started in the 1960s, when I was an undergraduate and graduate student at the University of Chicago majoring in physics, - the study of complex natural systems. My main research interests were centered on large computer systems, including mainframes, supercomputers and distributed systems.

Systems Thinking, Safety and Risk Management

Irving Wladawsky-Berger

Several participants cited the sharp rise in volume and speed of high-frequency trading over the past decade as an example of a current practice that is potentially increasing volatility and systemic risk in financial markets. Toward the end of the roundtable, the moderator asked us to reflect on the kinds of controls needed to make financial systems more stable and less prone to another major crisis. Financial systems are an example of such complex engineering systems.

A Neural, Digital System for the Economy

Irving Wladawsky-Berger

Dr. Arthur is external professor at the Santa Fe Institute and visiting researcher at PARC’s Intelligent Systems Lab. So we can say that another economy - a second economy - of all of these digitized business processes conversing, executing, and triggering further actions is silently forming alongside the physical economy.” This second, digital economy is essentially acting as the neural system for the overall economy. Other examples are found in our social organizations.

Montessori Is An Example Of The New Culture of Learning

Steve Denning

I reported a few days ago on a conversation with the authors , Douglas Thomas and John Seely Brown, of the wonderful new book, A New Culture of Learning: Cultivating the Imagination for a World of Constant Change.

Design the process, not the outcome

Dave Snowden

Once that change happens, it cannot be reversed and there are many examples in nature. It's a very useful concept when applied to human systems, and it is not just an analogy, although some of my biologist friends would disagree with me there.

Unlease Your Organizations Knowledge Sharing Processes

Beth Kanter

We are so focused on getting things done, checking it off the to do list and the forward momentum that it requires, that we miss an important opportunity to hit the pause button, reflect, and improve process.

ICTs in Higher Education Systems of Arab States: Promises and Effective Practices - A Summary Report

Stephen Downes: Half an Hour

El Hassan made the same observation with respect to the American University of Beirut, pointing to the use of ICTs in monitoring and assessment of processes and outcomes. offered as an example the Global Campus student information and campus management application. For example, Prof.

Dr. Watson, Please Report to the Health Care System

Andy McAfee

For example, Watson might recognize that the kidney failure in our patient is linked to kidney failure in a patient in Buffalo and another in San Antonio; all three patients, he might inform me, were taking a “natural” weight loss supplement that contained a Chinese herb, aristolochia, that has been associated with more than 100 cases of kidney failure. Current speech recognition and natural language processing technologies are so good that I could give this description over the phone.

An Operating System for the Mind

Stephen Downes: Half an Hour

A commenter, for example, says, "we want them to think critically, to criticize, analyze, and apply. Quite the opposite is the case - we understand, and can prove (and have proved, over and over) that we can teach facts very simply and easily, through repetition, rote, memorization, practice examples, worked examples, and more. Put the facts into the system, and come up with some mechanism to get them out. Let's return to the computer system analogy.

Corporate Survival: Lessons from Biology

Irving Wladawsky-Berger

Therefore, the principles that confer robustness in these systems, whether natural or manmade, are directly applicable to business.”. Let’s take a closer look at the nature of complex adaptive systems. Why are these systems so complex?

The MIT Systems Thinking Conference

Irving Wladawsky-Berger

I recently participated in MIT’s 2010 Systems Thinking Conference for Contemporary Challenges. This annual conference is sponsored by Systems Design and Management (SDM) - an interdisciplinary program between MIT’s School of Engineering and Sloan School of Management. The SDM program aims to provide mid-career professionals with a systems perspective that will help them address and solve large-scale, global, complex challenges. Riding a bicycle is an obvious example.

The Simple, Economic Value of Artificial Intelligence

Irving Wladawsky-Berger

Only then can we really figure out how things might change.” For example, the semiconductor revolution can be viewed as being all about the dramatic reductions in the cost of arithmetic calculations.

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What’s the Value of Blockchain?

Irving Wladawsky-Berger

Blockchain has the potential to transform our economic and social systems, but such a transformation is still many years away. IGF provides over $40 billion of financing to the IT channel annually and processes over 35,000 returned IT assets per week around the world.

On Saving the American Health System: Dr. Donald Berwick's.

Bob Sutton

WSJ CareerJournal | Though Now Routine, Bosses Still Stumble During the Layoff Process. The Observer | Business | You could be a genius - if only you had a good system. 11 Books Every Leader Should Read » On Saving the American Health System: Dr. Donald Berwicks Farewell Speech. To show these aren't just theories or pipe dreams, look at these examples from Dr. Berwick's speech: It is not possible to claim that we do not know what to do. Bob Sutton.

Global Trends and Business Strategy

Irving Wladawsky-Berger

Resource-related business opportunities will turn up in unexpected places, and there’s room for a multitude of new products and services,” writes McKinsey. “An example is new carbon-based materials that are lighter, cheaper, and conduct electricity with limited heat loss.

Digital Identity - the Key to Privacy and Security in the Digital World

Irving Wladawsky-Berger

From time immemorial, our identity systems have been based on face-to-face interactions and on physical documents and processes. But, the transition to a digital economy requires radically different identity systems.

Could Blockchain Prove to Be “The Next Big Thing”?

Irving Wladawsky-Berger

In its early years, - ’60s, ’70s, ’80s - companies deployed IT primarily to automate their existing processes, - leaving the underlying structure of the business in place. While these legacy systems operate with a high degree of robustness, they’re rather inflexible and inefficient.

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The (Uneven) Digitization of the US Economy

Irving Wladawsky-Berger

For example, since the mid 1990s there has been a dramatic widening in the disparity in profits between the leading and lagging firms in industries that use technology intensively (as opposed to producing technology).

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The Emergence of Cognitive Computing

Irving Wladawsky-Berger

The colloquium, - which was part of IBM’s Centennial celebration, - brought together experts across industry and academia to discuss and debate the direction of four key Grand Challenges at the very leading edge of IT: nano systems, exascale, big data, and cognitive computing. We will be able to design sophisticated, powerful nano systems-on-a-chip that will be totally contained within such a trillion transistor nano device.

Lean Principles in the Digital Economy

Irving Wladawsky-Berger

Such methods include quality control of the processes involved in production; just-in-time production to reduce the costs associated with excess inventory; and continuous improvement involving everyone in the organization in the quest for new, easy to implement ideas. .

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Intervention Design: Overcoming Stiff Resistance to a New, Disruptive Innovation

Irving Wladawsky-Berger

The article argues that we should apply design thinking to the launch of the disruptive innovation itself - a process they call intervention design. . It has gradually won commitment throughout the process of its creation.” .

The Datafication of Business and Society

Irving Wladawsky-Berger

In contrast to digitalisation, which enabled productivity improvements and efficiency gains on already existing processes, datafication promises to completely redefine nearly every aspect of our existence as humans on this planet.

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Anticipating the Future of the IT Industry

Irving Wladawsky-Berger

Let me share some of my personal impressions of this journey through the lens of three key areas, each of which has played a major role throughout IT’s history, and will continue to do so well into its future: data centers, transaction processing, and data analysis.

The Smart London Plan

Irving Wladawsky-Berger

Complex Systems Data Science and Big Data Economic Issues Education and Talent Innovation Management and Leadership Political Issues Smart Systems Society and Culture Technology and Strategy

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Open Innovation 2.0

Irving Wladawsky-Berger

Their scientists and engineers came up with a variety of technology breakthroughs and inventions, including the transistor, the laser, the UNIX operating system, the personal computer, DRAM, disk drives, relational data bases and many more. Process - Innovation is a team sport.

The Transformative Power of Cloud Computing

Irving Wladawsky-Berger

With the advent of PCs, they moved to support less well defined, personal productivity applications like word processing and spreadsheets. A prominent example of this shift is the embrace of cloud-based IT services.”.

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Design Thinking and the Workplace Experience

Irving Wladawsky-Berger

To help overcome the stiff resistance often encountered by disruptive innovations, - both within one’s own organization and in the marketplace, - the article proposed that design thinking should be applied to their actual introduction, - a process it calls intervention design.

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The MIT Second Machine Age Conference

Irving Wladawsky-Berger

The second age machines are now enhancing our cognitive powers, giving us the ability to process vast amounts of information and make ever more complex decisions. And question-answering systems like IBM’s Watson are enabling us to solve increasingly complex problems. . “We’re

The New Era of Smart, Connected Products

Irving Wladawsky-Berger

Last week, for example, I discussed a recent article in Wired by Kevin Kelly on the future of AI. The article introduces a whole new class of smart connected products - “complex systems that combine hardware, sensors, data storage, microprocessors, software, and connectivity in myriad ways.”.

The Digitization of the Economy

Irving Wladawsky-Berger

Economic evolution has been going on for centuries and society has always successfully adapted to technological change creating more jobs in the process.

New Tools Beget Revolutions: Big Data and the 21st Century Information-based Society

Irving Wladawsky-Berger

In 1676, for example, Antonie van Leeuwenhoek used a microscope , a relatively recent and rare tool, to discover the existence of microorganisms in a drop of water. We’re only now at the beginning of understanding how to map the financial system,” Lo said. “I’m

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Are Smart Cities Empty Hype?

Irving Wladawsky-Berger

Throughout the process, people were invited to vote on the motion, as well as to post their own comments. . Just about every aspect of human endeavor is part of the mix of cities, and they all interact with each other leading to a highly dynamic system of systems.

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What Will Life Be Like in an AI Future?

Irving Wladawsky-Berger

In a 1930 essay , for example, English economist John Maynard Keynes warned about the coming technological unemployment , a new societal disease whereby automation would outrun our ability to create new jobs. People have long argued about the future impact of technology.

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