A global community interested in systems science(s). Includes members of the International Society for the Systems Sciences.
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Bob Stanke

Discussion  - 
 
Systems are complex and that is why I love them. -- http://www.bobstanke.com/blog/building-new-systems-to-help-build-other-new-systems
Systems are extremely complex entities. Many of us don’t realize that on a daily basis because we interact with so many different kinds of systems seamlessly throughout our days. If you take any form of transportation to work each morning, you are interacting with traffic systems, and inside those traffic systems, other transportation systems like train systems, detour systems, and traffic light systems, for example. If you or someon...
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A good intro, Bob!
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David Ing
owner

Discussion  - 
 
Forward-looking ecology takes @LongNow present, says @FreshwaterSteve, into cross-scale interactions.

> The phrase ‘‘long now’’ expresses the history dependence of the current state of ecosystems, and the impact of current ecological processes and human action on future ecosystems.
> Stewart Brand (1999), in The Clock of the Long Now, asks, ‘‘How do we make long-term thinking automatic and common instead of difficult and rare? How do we make the taking of long-term responsibility inevitable?’’ Long-term perspectives are important in ecology, and ecology can contribute to environmental problem
solving by helping to advance long-term thinking.
> Why a forward-looking ecology? There are important, fundamental, scientific opportunities in research about the future of ecological systems. When we take forecasting seriously, we look for connections between slow and fast processes, or between rare events and ecological transformations. Such connections are fun-
damental for understanding ecological systems. They lead to multicausal, integrative explanations.

The ideas of "sharing layers" or "pacing layers" from +Stewart Brand +Long Now Foundation  can be tied to hierarchical organization in the work of Timothy F.H. Allen, which is a foundation panarchy ideas in resilence science.

Stephen R. Carpenter, "Ecological Futures: Building an Ecology of the Long Now" (Robert H. MacArthur Award Lecture) | 2002 | Ecology at https://scholar.google.ca/scholar?cluster=2691735037112411057
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David Ing
owner

Discussion  - 
 
Students of systems thinking @VSB_EMBA_Alumni and family honor @Gharajedaghi in 12-minute video for conference on Systems Thinking and Transformational Leadership on June 10, 2016.

"The Legacy of Systems Thinking" (featuring +jamshid gharajedaghi) | Jason Hall | June 2016 at https://vimeo.com/169863045 via +John Pourdehnad

"EMBA 11th Annual Conference: Systems Thinking and Transformational Leadership" | June 10, 2016 at http://alumni.villanova.edu/s/1695/alumni/index.aspx?sid=1695&gid=2&pgid=1504

I hadn't appreciated that the Villanova EMBA had become centered on systems thinking, https://www1.villanova.edu/villanova/business/graduate/mba/execmba/curriculum.html .

The beginning of systems thinking at Villanova U. was in 1999 with "Russell L. Ackoff and the Advent of Systems Thinking: A Conference to Celebrate the Work of Russell L. Ackoff on his 80th Birthday and the Development of Systems Theory and Practice", with proceedings at http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/summary?doi=10.1.1.24.358 . This is where I first remember meeting +David Hawk.

Some papers from the conference were more formally edited by +Kent Myers and Margaret M. Nicholson in Systems Practice and Action Research v12 n4 1999 at http://link.springer.com/journal/11213/12/4 .

This was as I was entering the systems community, contributing "Studying the Sense & Respond Model for Designing Adaptive Enterprises, and the Influence of Russell Ackoff's System of Thinking" at http://systemicbusiness.org/pubs/1999_Villanova_Ackoff_80th_Ing_Sense_Respond_Influence.html .

With Russell Ackoff retiring from University of Pennsylvania, part of the knowledge went with Jamshid Gharajedaghi to Villanova University, with the last vestiges of the Social Systems Science program going to the Ackoff Collaboratory for Advancement of the Systems Approach http://www.acasa.upenn.edu/history.htm .

Jamshid was a featured speaker on the last day of the ISSS 1999 Asilomar meeting, on "Iterative Design: the Third Generation of Systems Thinking" at http://www.isss.org/1999meet/plenary.htm
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David Ing
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Discussion  - 
 
As alternative to embodied energy in the environment, Gregory Bateson's view of a difference that makes a difference in a coevolutionary ecosystem has a relational triad of (i) circular causation at several levels including morphogenesis; (ii) co-learning in adaptation, including between animals and their environment; and (iii) genetics, a memory system at a slower pace.

New book by anthropologist emeritus Peter-Harries Jones includes excerpts from unpublished Bateson archives.

> According to an unpublished manuscript of his entitled “The Evolutionary Idea,” Bateson’s discussion of coevolution was to have included a lengthy commentary on appropriate syntax.” As we have seen, the "syntax" of the dominant view in biology weds its conception of embodied energy in the environment to a “field” of complex physical resources, biomass, and bioenergy. whose operations functionally interact to provide physical necessities of life. On the other hand, which difference makes a difference in any ecosystem is “a threesome business," he wrote, and is a relational triad, The first term of the triad is circular causation at several levels, which must therefore include morphogenesis, the generation of form per se, The second term is that of co-learning in adaptation, which would include co-learning between animals and their environments. The third term is that of genetlcs, which is a memory system, and a much slower temporal variable than the other two. Each draws upon the other recursively as relations of the other. Bateson goes on to argue that the study of coevolution is a means for unearthing all the processes we call “knowing,” and that evolutionary theory, will consist of subject-predicate sentences in which the subject will always be a relationship and not an object (Bk. Mss.. Box 5,1987, 205.27). [p. 169]

"Upside-Down Gods: Gregory Bateson's World of Difference" | Peter Harries-Jones | 2016 | Fordham U. Press / Oxford U. Press at https://books.google.com/books?id=aPomDAAAQBAJ

I was searching on morphogenesis related to Christopher Alexander's Nature of Order book 2 "The Process of Creating Life", which is oriented more towards geometrics.

John Brockman wrote that "The Evolutionary Idea" got published as "Mind and Nature", but perhaps the content of the above draft didn't come out that way. http://www.heartoftheart.org/?p=3460
books.google.ca - Science's conventional understanding of environment as an inert material resource underlies our unwillingness to acknowledge the military-industrial role in ...
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David Ing
owner

Discussion  - 
 
Videos on Complex Systems Theory and Ecosystem Approaches by James Kay, talks about flips, scales and types. Application on Huron Natural Area, watershed in Southern Ontario. Mentions Timothy F.H. Allen, Silvio Funtowicz and Jerome Ravetz and C.S. (Buzz) Holling along the way.

"Complex Systems Theory and Ecosystem Approaches" | James J. Kay (U. Waterloo) | Sept. 28, 2001 | Environment Canada Seminar Series, playlist of two videos at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9uz17AVSsCY&list=PLCUdZD8xQ448Xv-imrL2-CMkRVs7iarVY, curated by +Martin Bunch

(The term "regime shift" hadn't come into use to describe the flips, when this lecture was given in 2001).
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David Ing
owner

Discussion  - 
 
Recording of lecture on Smarter Cities for Aalto U. Urban Systems course expanded into history and prospectus for cognitive era.

> The popularization of the Smarter Cities movement coincided with IBM’s campaign originating from 2009. The Smarter Cities ideas was an outgrowth from the Smarter Planet initiatives, which had emerged from the IBM Global Innovation Outlooks beginning in 2004.

> This speaker was a consultant at IBM involved in Smarter Cities engagements, while simultanously conducing research into Service Systems Science.

> The evolution of ideas both outside and inside IBM are reviewed, through a history of (i) systems sciences; (ii) service science, management, engineering and design (SSMED), (iii) service systems science; and (iv) smarter planet and smarter cities. Looking forward, the prospects for the (v) cognitive era and a (vi) service systems thinking is outlined.

"Systems Coevolving: Sciences, Service, Smarter, Cognitive" (Aalto U. Feb. 10, 2016) | David Ing | May 29, 2016 | Coevolving Innovations at http://coevolving.com/blogs/index.php/archive/systems-coevolving-sciences-service-smarter-cognitive/
A lecture for the Urban Systems course at Aalto University led to tracing the history before Smarter Cities, and some recent directions.
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David Ing
owner

Discussion  - 
 
Over 400,000 students have joined Big Data University, as IBM provides a community platform for learning.

> Students can sign up independently at home and work at their own speed and on their own initiative, just as they can with Coursera and Futurelearn or other similar services.

> However, IBM also works with partners to tailor course packages to fill the needs of individual organizations. And it allows (actually, encourages) third party vendors to sell on their free course material, while adding their own value such as custom delivery and support packages.

> This parallels the vendor ecosystem which has emerged around distribution of open source software, platforms and services, often said to be “democratizing” access to Big Data technology. Will this democratize access to Big Data education and training in the same way? [....]

> Worldwide the Big Data University has partnered with organizations including Tata Consulting, Trans Neuron Technologies and Cognizant. It has also just this year launched in China and announced a partnership with Kaitan-Weibo, an educational division of the social media giant Weibo.

> As well as opening up new fields of study, Big Data has kick-started a wave of changes in the ways that more traditional subjects are taught. Distance and online learning provides opportunities for more in-depth investigation into how, and why, we learn efficiently.

"IBM's Big Data University: Free Online Learning With Over 400,000 Students" | Bernard Marr | May 26, 2016 | Forbes at http://www.forbes.com/sites/bernardmarr/2016/05/26/ibms-big-data-university-free-online-learning-with-over-400000-students/
It is widely forecasted that a shortage of skills in data science and analytics will mean a great deal of money is wasted through missed opportunities in coming years. Traditional academic establishments have begun to move to fill the gap. However, most courses teaching the hot topic skillsets such as [...]
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Gene Bellinger

Discussion  - 
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Gene Bellinger

Discussion  - 
 
Perspectives V1N1: Understanding Relationships & Their Implications | http://eepurl.com/b2ge-P
Welcome to the first edition of Perspectives, which surfaces noteworthy examples of relationships and their implications to deepen understanding, provide insights, and serve as a basis for more effective action. The perspectives of the first edition are intended to provide a basis for ...
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David Ing
owner

Discussion  - 
 
Theme by +John Kineman of "Leadership for Sustainability of Socio-Ecological Systems" for ISSS Boulder 2016, preceded by outline of plans for conference by +Judith Rosen. Appreciation of reading syntax versus preserving sematics intergenerationally.

John Kineman "ISSS Incoming Presidential Address: Prof. John Kineman, “Leadership for Sustainability of Socio-Ecological Systems” | July 2015 | College of Exploration at https://vimeo.com/136382344
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About this community

The International Society for the Systems Sciences (ISSS) is among the first and oldest organizations devoted to interdisciplinary inquiry into the nature of complex systems, and remains perhaps the most broadly inclusive. Originally founded as the Society for General Systems Research, the initial purpose of the society was "to encourage the development of theoretical systems which are applicable to more than one of the traditional departments of knowledge," with the following principal aims: to investigate the isomorphy of concepts, laws, and models in various fields, and to help in useful transfers from one field to another; to encourage the development of adequate theoretical models in areas which lack them; to eliminate the duplication of theoretical efforts in different fields; and to promote the unity of science through improving the communication among specialists. In the intervening years, the ISSS has expanded its scope beyond purely theoretical and technical considerations to include the practical application of systems methodologies to problem solving. Even more importantly, it has provided a forum where scholars and practitioners from across the disciplinary spectrum, representing academic, business, government, and non-profit communities, can come together to share ideas and learn from one another.

Edmond Ramly

Discussion  - 
 
How do values play out in your systems work/research, and what might be your working definition of values?
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Edmond Ramly's profile photoDavid Ing's profile photo
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+Edmond Ramly Within the systems literature, the ideas of values have been brought up by Ackoff, who write about ideals, with the pursuit of the true (science), the good (ethics and morality), the beautiful (aesthetics) and plenty (economics). This was published in On Purposeful Systems in 1973, see https://books.google.com/books?id=R-RSHfnS7VcC&pg=PA243 .

In a slightly different view, science is generally associated with episteme (a pursuit of analytical scientific knowledge), could include techne (a pursuit of technical knowledge that can embodied in groups), and generally forgets about phronesis (a pursuit of practical ethics). I've described these as (i) know why; (ii) know how: and (iii) know when, know where, know whom). http://coevolving.com/commons/201310-rethinking-systems-thinking

However, there's a question about what we could do with those values. Sir Geoffrey Vickers was working in policy. His concerns were on reality judgements (e.g. what is really happening), value judgements (e.g. what should we do about that), and instrumental judgements (e.g. what can we do about that). The tie into Soft Systems Methodology by Checkland reflects that people aren't always rational, nor are they articulate. Drawing rich pictures in a group helps people to surface ideas and relations in interactions that they might not otherwise expose.

So, in your discussion with your colleague, there's a split in philosophy. One side thinks that values are more objective, and thus if we apply more reason, we'll get better outcomes. The other side sees that values as subjective, and thus doesn't try to fully articulate them, instead preferring to expand the size of the involved group in participation. The former would tend towards greater expertise, the latter orients towards wisdom of crowds. The former may be more oriented towards value, and the latter more towards values.
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Perhaps someone in this group will know the name of a project that had a showcase video/animation on YouTube recently (not older than 2 or 3 years) in which some kind of software generating system marketplace was shown and proposed. The "revolutionary" and new aspect of it is that it treated each software component as composable almost in holonic manner with all the other components, and the whole system is realized as on-demand marketplace in which paid agents develop components of the system in various roles (the 2 roles I remember were either supervision or contribution to component creation). What I remember is that the animation and production level was professional. Perhaps someone from this group is involved in that very project and knows the name of it?

Such infrastructure which is actually a marketplace-as-a-software-fabrication-infrastructure of interoperable software components in which software systems can be built is perhaps suitable for building many quite complex yet stable systems.

It's as if the metaphor of "grid computing" that is usually reserved for hardware domain is lately being applied in domain of software services and the building of software complexes in streamlined fashion. The closest analogue I spotted out there is currently Neureal (http://neureal.net/).

I also posted a question on Quora: https://www.quora.com/unanswered/What-is-the-name-of-a-project-idea-aiming-to-create-a-composable-software-marketplace-where-modules-could-be-specified-in-higher-level-language-terms
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André Reichel

Discussion  - 
 
This is an extended summary of an upcoming research article in a special issue on organizing for the postgrowth economy (ephemera). I apply the "Laws of Form" by George Spencer Brown to phenomena like digitization and economic stagnation in order to arrive at a "Form of the Firm in the Next Economy". Feedback very much appreciated!
 
Applying George Spencer Brown and the »Laws of Form« to issues of #Postgrowth: Towards a new Form of the Firm in the Next Economy... 
From Now to Next: The Form of the Firm in the Next Economy. 2016/06/23 at 16:38. tl;dr: If you have a proper formal model, you can sketch a future for companies that enables them to create a convivial society beyond growth.
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Nice reading. I share some of the thoughts and approach for a post growth era in industrialized countries, the OECD ones mainly.
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David Ing
owner

Discussion  - 
 
In 2016, Harvard Business Review acknowledges Agile methods, having originated in 2001 with a manifesto amongst software developers. The Scrum processes have practices, where managers sometimes claim "agile but ... (we don't carry out a technique)" or hide behind "fake Agile".

> Agile is the antidote to shareholder value. Agile aligns with Peter Drucker’s 1954 foundational insight: “The only valid purpose of a firm is to create a customer.” It is the management basis for the emerging Creative Economy. It is the foundation for continuous innovation. It is the key to the extraordinary success of firms in Silicon Valley, like Google, Facebook, Amazon and Apple with a combined net worth of some $1.3 trillion.

> Agile is therefore at odds with “the biggest idea in business”—shareholder value.

> Agile is a revolutionary challenge to the management status quo. It is a Copernican revolution in management akin to the Copernican revolution in astronomy. The center of the commercial universe is no longer the firm: it is the customer. Agile therefore has vast implications has to how an organization is run.

> Viewing Agile as a methodology to be implemented within a culture of shareholder value misstates the revolutionary implications of Agile. It also risks missing most of its benefits with flawed Agile implementation. When Agile is viewed and implemented merely as a methodology within the existing management framework, Agile can become a travesty of the real thing. It can become what Jeff Sutherland himself has called “Scrum-butt” and what others have labeled “fake Agile.”

> To get the benefits of Agile, managers not only have to “do Agile.” They have to “be Agile.”

> In some respects, the HBR article is talking about “doing Agile.” For instance, when the HBR article says that “A number of companies have reallocated 25% or more of selected leaders’ time from functional silos to agile leadership teams” it is embracing the external forms of Agile, while missing the driving force behind it. It is talking about “doing Agile,” not “being Agile.”

"HBR's Embrace Of Agile" | +Stephen Denning | April 21, 2016 | Forbes at http://www.forbes.com/sites/stevedenning/2016/04/21/hbrs-embrace-of-agile

"Embracing Agile | Darrell K. Rigby, +Jeff Sutherland, Hirotaka Takeuchi Hirotaka Takeuchi | May 2016 | Harvard Business Review at https://hbr.org/2016/05/embracing-agile

"Scrum and Organizational Patterns | Jeff Sutherland | May 20, 2013 | Scrum Inc. at https://www.scruminc.com/scrum-and-organizational-patterns/
Agile is a mindset, not a methodology
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David Ing's profile photoJukka-Pekka Ovaska's profile photo
7 comments
 
I was actually thinking about Interactive Planning and SSM yesterday while doing some planning for our team's marketing efforts. I am currently trying to combine design oriented methods with systems thinking and content marketing. I'm trying to understand the client organization and our end users by conducting interviews with our architects and sales personnel and then developing empathy by using customer profiling and other such techniques. One particularly interesting technique I've been using is the "jobs-to-be-done" framework from Tony Ulwick: https://strategyn.com/tony-ulwick/ Hopefully I will also get permission to conduct end user interviews to get first-hand feedback on our products and the customer's problems. I'm also trying to use the interactive planning process to guide my overall work (not necessarily succeeding at it though). Finally, I'm also doing my best to understand the motives of my supervisor and our industry marketing partner so my own goals and actions are aligned with the rest of the organization. Hopefully synthesis will precede analysis and I'll also be able to avoid type III errors.

Bateson is great. For me one of the more interesting topics in systems sciences has always been learning. How does sensemaking occur at the individual level and at the level of the organization? How to create a sense-and-respond organization? How to use dialogue and storytelling for learning?
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David Ing
owner

Discussion  - 
 
Cognitive overload is beyond AI as a challenge for IBM, says Ginni Rometty in +Kara Swisher interview +Recode conference. T-shaped breadth in cognitive computing has depth in industry domain knowledge. Beyond teaching-learning reading and mechanical skills, new jobs will need data skills.

Cognitive overload as business opportunity for IBM since 2005 | Ginni Rometty | June 1, 2016 | Code Conference (web video + audio) at https://daviding.wordpress.com/2016/06/11/cognitive-overload-ibm/
Cognitive overload is a challenge IBM has worked since 2005, says @GinniRometty in @KaraSwisher interview @RecodeEvents. Thus, cognitive computing combining man and machine is more than artificial …
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David Ing
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Discussion  - 
 
"There are no experts in the systems approach.” Churchman (1968) says: “The real expert is still Everyman, stupid, humorous, serious, and comprehensive all at the same time. The public always knows more than any of the 'experts,' be they economists, behavioral scientists, or whoever; the problem of the systems approach is to learn what 'everybody' knows.”

> ... world leaders are ‘enemies’ of the systems approach. These enemies reject the ‘whole’ system rationality the systems approach attempts to unfold. [....] [Churchman] identified four mighty enemies, each with their own powerful purpose: (1) politics, gathering people; (2) religion, transcending man; (3) morality, driving action; and (4) aesthetics, giving liveliness. These purposes are so powerful that they overrule the systemic sensibilities of world leaders and others.

"The origins of the systems approach: Churchman's personal journey" | +Sjon van t Hof | March 24, 2016 | CSL4D/SystemicAgency at https://csl4d.wordpress.com/2016/03/24/the-origins-of-the-systems-approach/
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David Ing
owner

Discussion  - 
 
An extended organism is not a system closed off from the environment, but one that can extend freely into the environment. +Silver Rattasepp cites Andras Angyal.

> ... all of the writers on the topic of the "extended organism" are unsatisfied with the general principle that the organism is separated from its environment by a concrete physical boundary or barrier between the two, so that the organism would be "inside" and the environment "outside" — that one would be precisely what the other is not. In what follows, all the researchers are characterised by their abandonment of the so-called "morphological conception" of organisms (Palmer 2004: 321), that is, the idea that in order to outline an organism as a unit of research, it is sufficient to indicate some particular part of its anatomy — in this case, its skin. They deny that a particular physical structure in space can function as a generally applicable boundary that will precisely structure and oppose to each other the two halves, the organism and the environment. Instead, they seek functionalist solutions, arguing that in studying organismic functioning, the morphological line of demarcation will frequently become irrelevant.

> And it was precisely when discussing these topics that the psychologist Andras Angyal came to the conclusion that "the consideration of the organism and environment in morphological terms leads to such logical entanglement that the concepts of organism and environment are made useless for scientific purposes" (1941: 121), and that "it is, in principle, impossible to draw any line of separation because organism and environment are not static structures separable in space, but are opposing directions in the biological total process" (ibid., 92). Consequently, "the body surface is not the boundary of the organism," but rather

> ... the organism is entirely permeated by the environment which insinuates itself into every part of it. On the other hand, the organism does not end at the body surface but penetrates into its environment. The realm of events which are influenced by the autonomy of the organism is not limited to the body but extends far beyond it. Every process which is a resultant of the interplay of the organismic autonomy and the environmental heteronomy is part of the life process, irrespective of whether it takes place within the body or outside of it. (ibid., 97)

> To replace the morphological conception, Angyal proposes a distinction between two aspects of the total life process, which he called autonomy and heteronomy respectively. The former Angyal imagined as the organism's independent or self-governed processes, examples of which would be the healing of a wound, reflexes — such as when a cat turns itself around when falling down, thus landing on its feet — and the regulation of body temperature, accomplished by all warm-blooded creatures. On the other hand, within this total life process there are things that reach the organism from its surroundings, and as examples we can provide a list corresponding to the one just presented: something sharp cutting the skin, gravity pulling the cat downwards, and air or water temperature. Thus retaining the body temperature is autonomous, the sharp external object heteronomous, and so on.

> Yet despite what might at first appear, this is not a reiteration of the original separation between the organism and its environment, since the organism cannot be completely equated with the autonomous, and the environment entirely with the heteronomous aspect of life processes; furthermore, Angyal's is not a morphological distinction. Instead, in different parts and at different times within the life process, the ratio of autonomy and heteronomy is different; Angyal did not consider these two aspects as opposed, but rather claimed that the transition from one to the other is gradual.

"The idea of extended organism in 20th century thought" | Silver Rattasepp | 2010 | Hortus Semioticus (University of Tartu, Estonia) at http://www.ut.ee/hortussemioticus/6_2010/rattasepp.html
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Gene Bellinger

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David Ing
owner

Discussion  - 
 
Ecological Design Education based on systems theory by Mark DeKay, citing James Grier Miller Living Systems Theory, Fritjof Capra Center for Ecoliteracy. Proposes 15 shifts in design education, 8 from ecosystem principles and 7 from ecosystems organization. Architectural perspective, now prof at U. Tennessee Knoxville.

Fig. 1 Shifts in Architectural Education Based on Basic Principles of Ecosystems
(ECOSYSTEMS PRINCIPLES) / Perceptual Shifts
WHOLENESS from Parts to Wholes
INTERDEPENDENCE from Objects to Relationships
DIVERSITY from Efficiency to Redundancy
PARTNERSHIP from Competition to Cooperation
ENERGY FLOWS from Structure to Process
FLEXIBILITY from Rigidity to Resilience
CYCLES from Vectors to Rhythms
SUSTAINABILITY from Consumption to Metabolism

Fig. 2 Shifts in Architectural Education Based on Principles of Ecosystem Organization
(ORGANIZING PRINCIPLES) / Perceptual Shifts
PATTERNS from Materiality to Configuration
SELF-SIMILARITY from Scale-Distinction to Scale-Linking
NESTED NETWORKS from Hierarchies to Networks
MULTIPLE MEMBERSHIP from Artifacts to Institutions
FEEDBACK from Linear to Web Causality
SELF-REGULATION from Homeostasis to Dynamic Fluctuation
SELF-ORGANIZATION from Extrinsic to Intrinsic Motivation

Mark DeKay, "Systems Thinking as the Basis for an Ecological Design Education" | April 1996 | Proceedings of the 21st National Passive Solar Conference cached at https://www.academia.edu/25244768/SYSTEMS_THINKING_AS_THE_BASIS_FOR_AN_ECOLOGICAL_DESIGN_EDUCATION
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