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David Ing
Innovation Strategist, Systems Architect, Data Scientist, Technology Executive
Innovation Strategist, Systems Architect, Data Scientist, Technology Executive

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Washington suffers from #Gerontocracy; Ottawa is 1-1/2 #Generations younger. To gauge the measure of the gerontocracy, Ottawa offers a remarkable comparison. The average age of Washington’s leaders – Mr. Trump, Ms. Pelosi, Mr. McConnell – is 75. In…
Gerontocracy in leadership
Gerontocracy in leadership
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The impending shutdown of Google+ will lead our Systems Sciences community to rely more on a Wordpress.COM platform put into place in January 2018. This is described at .

The multiplatform systems thinking community has encountered challenges since a (eventually recovered) LinkedIn community shutdown, causing many to flock to Facebook. Using Wordpress with an O2 theme enables commenting, and the Internet Archive backs up over the open Internet.

I (personally) am on Mastodon, awaiting others to join me at . (I've been at since 2015, and haven't seen much action there). Mastodon and Diaspora are more like Twitter, with the added feature of a gradient of intimacy (i.e. like Google Circles). Mastodon seems to be gaining traction, more than Diaspora (so I'm not betting on Plusplora, which is Diaspora pod).

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Anthropocene in the Mississippi provokes asking (i) more human intervention, or (ii) more working with nature, to restore a desired stable state.

> “The price tag for environmental neglect has come due,” says Colin Wellenkamp, executive director of the Mississippi River Cities & Towns Initiative, a group representing 85 mayors in cities scattered along the river.

> Since 2005, the cost of natural disasters along the Mississippi River has topped $200-billion, says Mr. Wellenkamp, in part due to the removal of wetlands that would have previously helped absorb floodwaters. [....]

> ... 29 locks and dams were constructed nearly 90 years ago. Today, the river is a navigation channel with barges ferrying more than 175 million tons of goods each year to supply international markets, the largest of which is Canada.

> The [United States Army] Corps [of Engineers] now has as much control over the river as it likely ever will; with an array of technical monitoring tools, they have the power to raise and lower water levels throughout vast stretches of the Upper Mississippi. Its once-surging flows, now blocked by dams, have been reduced to near-listless pools. [....]

> That success, cautions Mr. Wellenkamp, comes with a price as climate change exerts pressure on the region. An extended shutdown of the river – through extreme flooding or drought – would effectively cripple the complex agricultural distribution networks of much of the world. [....]

> A recent study in the scientific journal Nature arrived at the same conclusion: the overengineering of the river is likely far more responsible for the recent spike in large floods, even more than climate change.

"Big river, deep trouble: Can the Mighty Mississippi’s crisis be averted?" | Leyland Cecco | Sept. 11, 2018 | Globe & Mail at

"Mississippi rising" | Scott St. George | April 4, 2018 | Nature at

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The 2002 Ikea lamp ad on American television now has a 2018 Canadian sequel . Will Americans follow suit in a less consumerist style?

"IKEA - Lamp (2002, USA)" | The Hall of Advertising at

"Lamp 2" | Ikea Canada (2018) at

> While the U.S. commercial urged people to toss out old hand-me-down items whose value was nostalgic, rather than aesthetic, part two suggests that the new one is not necessarily better.

> It’s all part of IKEA’s strategy shift. The retailer now sees an untapped opportunity in consumers' growing willingness to reuse products: people are more inclined to visit product-swap groups on social media, or buy-and-sell websites such as Craigslist and Kijiji, to get rid of unneeded items without contributing to the landfill. The secondhand market in Canada was worth $28.5-billion last year, according an annual research paper released by Kijiji, and furniture is the fourth most popular product category.

> IKEA’s Canadian team regularly runs searches on secondhand sites to see how much of that furniture is theirs; on a recent morning there were 50,020 pieces of furniture for sale on Kijiji in Toronto alone, 5,980 of them IKEA items, or almost 12 per cent. A couple of weeks before that, the same search showed it was 14 per cent.

> “That is a higher market share than we have in our own market category. And we’re not participating in it," said IKEA Canada’s head of marketing, Lauren MacDonald. (IKEA has a roughly 10-per-cent share of the furniture market in Canada.) So the company is currently piloting a partnership with Kijiji to promote products for sale in the “As is" section − display models and returned or damaged items that are usually marked down in price in stores.

> It is also exploring a buy-back program that has been implemented in 14 other countries, allowing people to exchange lightly used items for IKEA gift cards; the company will either recycle many of the item’s materials or sell it to someone else. Ms. MacDonald believes these offerings could appeal not just to existing secondhand buyers and sellers, but also to people who may be reticent to meet up with a stranger to exchange products.

"IKEA’s new Canadian ad reflects a strategic shift" | Susan Krashinsky Robertson | Sept. 9, 2018 | Globe & Mail (for subscribers) at
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Breadth with depth in #systemsthinking courses @OUFreeLearning MOOCs free on the Internet. Discovered curriculum while reading on Sustainable Development Goals paper and presentation.

> Many well-known systems thinkers had particular experiences, which led them to devote their lives to their particular forms of systems practice. So, within Systems thinking and practice, just as in juggling, there are different traditions, which are perpetuated through lineages (see Figure 7). +OpenLearn from The Open University

“The Role of Systems Thinking in the Practice of Implementing Sustainable Development Goals” | Martin Reynolds, Christine Blackmore, Ray Ison, Rupesh Shah, Elaine Wedlock | 2017 | Handbook of Sustainability Science and Research at .

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A concise history of ecological economics via Nicholas Georgescu-Roegen and Kenneth E. Boulding laying down foundations in the systems sciences, and their influence on Herman Daly and Robert Costanza.

> Georgescu-Roegen (1971) pointed out that, according to the first law of thermodynamics we can neither create nor destroy matter or energy (Principle of Conservation of Matter and Energy) and consequently asked: What, then, does the economic process do? The answer is: it absorbs, qualitatively transforms low entropy and releases it outside the economic system in the form of high entropy.3 That is, the economic system is a subsystem of the finite global ecosystem, on which it depends to both extract low entropy and, when using it, release it in the form of high entropy (Ayres, Nair, 1984, Constanza et al 1997).

> This entropic perspective of the economic process is the opposite of the mechanistic view addopted by standard economic theory. Unlike the Newtonian worldview – in which a system is time reversible, remaining identical -, the second law of entropy indicates an irreversible and unidirectional qualitative change: The amount of bound (or unavailable) energy in a closed system increases continuously. To decrease the entropy of a system, we need to obtain energy from outside the system, which means increasing the global entropic deficit.

> Living organisms are no exception to the second law of thermodynamics, since they survive by absorbing low entropy from the environment to offset the increase in entropy to which they are subject. Thus, although living organisms temporarily avoid dissipation, they increase the entropy of the system as a whole, i.e., of the environment in which they exist. In other words, the presence of life speeds up the entropic process (Georgescu-Roegen, 1971, 1993).


> Kenneth Boulding, another thinker of huge influence in Ecological Economics was also adamant about the need for changing the economic behavior of humanity.5

> > 5 Although Georgescu-Roegen and Boulding disagreed about the concept of entropy, the congruence between the works of these two thinkers is evident. The sharpest disagreement lies in that Boulding advocates the possibility of a closed system for matter without its dissipation and powered by solar energy. This difference makes Boulding’s view (potentially) less tragic than Georgescu-Roegen’s (see Cechin & Eli da Veiga, 2010; Cleveland, 1999; and Fuks, 1992, 1994).

“Reflections on the paradigm of Ecological Economics for Environmental Management” | Maurício Fuks | Estudos Avançados | vol.26 no.74 São Paulo 2012 at , CC-BY-NC at

<< originally posted at >>

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Should an open (public) online discussion group espousing systems thinking be governed through (i) an open (public) group, or (ii) a private (closed or secret) discussion group?

"Open Systems Thinking, Online Discussion, Governance" | September 2, 2018 | Systems Community of Inquiry at

Cites +Benjamin P Taylor +Werner Ulrich +David Hawk +David Paradice +Gerald Midgley

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In a 2017 TEDx talk, Timothy F.H. Allen describes strategies with high gain resources and low gain resources. Human beings who don't proactively decomplexify their systems may instead face collapse.

> Ecologists can learn from economists, says Timothy F.H. Allen, paying attention to return on effort. This video is a refined presentation of ideas based in hierarchy theory and the collapse of complex societies, jointly researched with Joseph Tainter and published in Supply-Side Sustainability.

The Power of Profit in Ecology | Timothy F.H. Allen | 2017 | TEDxMadison at

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Living Systems (1978), by James Grier Miller, is available in softcopy on the Internet Archive. (I have a copy, but an electronic version works better for me than hoisting the 1100+ page volume!)

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On negotiated order @davidlhawk sees a mode of management, in a 1996 paper rediscovered (which a coauthor in 2005 didn't know about!)

> The first mode begins within the management confines of a narrow box. [....] The rat is a worker that informs management of the nature and depth of worker discontent. [....]

> The second mode is a logical progression from the first. [....] The “rat” retains a role, but in democratic circumstances its role is to help articulate the mission statement, which always tends toward the cynical.

> The third mode is a different logical type. [....] In this mode, the only use of the box is to bong the “rat.” Elsewhere, this third mode is known as the “negotiated order” mode of management. [pp. 13-14]

"Relations Between Architecture and Management" | David L. Hawk | 1996 | J. Architectural and Planning Research at

+David Hawk 1996. “Relations Between Architecture and Management.” Journal of Architectural and Planning Research 13 (1): 10–33, , cached at
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