Systems Thinking

see MA Metadesign
See The Team Turns Itself Inside Out

  1. First Order systems, feedback processes were seen as centrally important, and categorised into 'positive', or 'negative' types.
  2. positive feedback processes - a given system works by reinforcing itself in a 'runaway' fashion (e.g. an 'avalanche').
  3. negative feedback processes, 'errors' could automatically be 'steered' or corrected (e.g. thermostatic temperature control)
    • All knowledge is tacit if it rests on our subsidiary awareness of particulars in terms of a comprehensive unity (1969).
  4. It also implies that a system will 'immerge' into its environment, of which it is part.
    • (Immergence='submergence' / 'disappearance in, or as if in, a liquid').
  5. At the Second Order, the discrete observer's boundaries become problematic (cannot be conceived in terms of classical science)
  6. Abductive thinking - A creatively interpretive mode of reasoning
  7. Alienation - Based on Karl Marx's theory of estrangement from the self (1844)
  8. Allopoiesis - the process by which organizations produce something other than themselves
  9. Apoptosis - The natural ability of cells to commit suicide when not needed
  10. Autopoiesis - Literally means 'self-creation' (see also sympoiesis and
  11. Bottom-up - Shows how grass-roots initiatives catalyse change
  12. Catalysis - A scientific term that can helpfully be applied to innovation / regeneration
  13. Climate Change Denial - How it works (and other related notes)
  14. Contagious optimism - Useful within a team context
  15. Creative Ensemble - A non-solo opportunity-creating method
  16. Debate - Political method of polarising, then choosing options.
  17. Design - Defined here for our purposes
  18. Entrainment - The natural processes by which things find accord
  19. Feedback|An important factor in making designing work better.
  20. Fractal|Useful for making large systems more coherent
  21. Holarchy|A way to understand complex systems
  22. The Lever|Some notes on this ancient idea
  23. Levers for Change|A term coined by Donella Meadows
  24. Metabolism|links living systems with business and society
  25. Metadesign - Always needs updating.
  26. Negative Feedback
  27. Organisational Consciousness
  28. Paradigm - Explains how the word evolved since Plato.
  29. Paradigm change - A brief summary of our agenda
  30. Positive Feedback
  31. Reciprocal sustainment - A stronger alternative to 'sustainability'
  32. Relational design - A few notes towards a unified approach
  33. Relational mathematics - designing by focusing on relations, not things
  34. Relevate (verb - a term revived by quantum physicist David Bohm
  35. Risk - currently under development
  36. Second Order systems - an interpretation of the idea of 'second order cybernetics'
  37. Self-interest - Differentiating between common alternative meanings
  38. Structural coupling|A term used by Maturana & Varela
  39. Suboptimization|See richly inclusive mapping
  40. Synergy - in progress
  41. Synergy-of-synergies - in progress
  42. Systems Thinking - in progress
  43. Organisational consciousness - in progress
  44. Top-down - Discusses the declarative nature of hierarchal control
  45. Trim-tab - A term used by Richard Buckminster Fuller
  46. Ubuntu - An African word describing allegiances and relations.
  47. Wu wei - The taoist notion of knowing how/when to act

Some Books

  • Ramage & Shipp, 2009. Systems Thinkers - gives biographies (great book)
  • Anderson& Johnson, 1997. Systems Thinking Basics.
  • Bertalanffy, L. von, 1955. General System Theory, General Systems Yearbook of the Society for the Advancement of General Systems Theory, 1: 1-10
  • Capra, F., 1996. The Web of Life
  • Checkland, P., 1972. Towards a Systems-Based Methodology for Real-World Problem Solving.
  • Churchman & Ackoff, 1950. Purposive Behavior and Cybernetics. Social Forces, 29 (1): 32-39
  • Forrester,1971. World Dynamics
  • Hardin, G., 1968. The Tragedy of the Commons. Science, 162:1243-1248.
  • Meadows, D., Randers, J. & Meadows, D.,2004. Limits to Growth: The 30-Year Update
  • Meadows, D., 2008. Thinking in Systems: A Primer
  • Richardson, G., 1999. Feedback Thought in Social Science and Systems Theory
  • Senge, 2006. The Fifth Discipline
  • Sterman, 2000. Business Dynamics: Systems Thinking and Modeling for a Complex World
  • Vernadsky, 1926. The Biosphere
    • Computation Theory - Godel, Church, Turing, Von Neumann, et al
    • Game Theory - von Neumann, Nash, Morgenstern
    • Cyberneutics - Weiner, Bellman, Meede, Bateson et al
    • Algorithmic Info Theory - Chaitin, Kolmogorov
    • Dynamics Systems & Complexity Theory
    • Applied Examples - Industrial & Organizational Theory, Biological Systems

See other terms
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