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

Discussion  - 
 
Open Source Definition, says @massonpj, counters "openwashing" and "fauxpen source".  In a letter to the White House ...

>  ... openwashing [means] “to spin a product or company as open, although it is not,” while fauxpen source [is] "a description of software that claims to be open source, but lacks the full freedoms required by the Open Source Definition.”  

> This is not a theoretical problem, as several recent examples illustrate, for example:  

> Qabel labels itself as "open source" but is not. According to their website, Qabel is a free, open-source and expandable platform. Yet their license includes restrictions that would impose serious limits on its use by a government, [....]  

> SailfishOS promotes open source, but is not licensed as such:  [....]  “Although we encourage you to develop our Software to make it better, we cannot allow such development, modifying or any harmful interaction with the version of our Software distributed integrated in a product" [....]  

> The Fair Source License seeks to align itself with the open ethos, but actually hinders wide adoption:  [....] It offers some of the benefits of open source while preserving the ability to charge for the software” [....]  +Matt Asay stated “... to Sourcegraph's CEO [the Fair Source author] who claims 'It's better to be 90% open than 10% open,' I'd respond, 'No, it's really not. Both are lame. Go open or go closed, but don't confuse developers with a Milquetoast version of open source'" 

"Comments from the Open Source Initiative (OSI)" | +Patrick Masson  Open Source Initiative | April 2016 at https://github.com/WhiteHouse/source-code-policy/issues/227  

"Openwashing" | +Michelle Thorne | March 14, 2009 at http://michellethorne.cc/2009/03/openwashing/ 

"Fauxpen Source" | Phil Marsosudiro | May 2009 at http://www.fauxpensource.org/
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David Ing
owner

Discussion  - 
 
Gamification of social theory of Pierre Bourdieu by @cherylren includes 2-minute video introduction.  This might reduce frustration of many graduate students wrestling with field, habitus, capital and doxa.  

"Simple Introduction to Bourdieu" | March 28, 2014 at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1W_IkfGg2nU  

"The impact of a game-based approach to Bourdieu on learners training to teach in post-compulsory education at an English University" | Cheryl Reynolds | Jan. 14, 2015 | Inspire Conference, U. of Huddersfield at http://eprints.hud.ac.uk/23228/  

> This paper explores the use of a game-based approach to the teaching of Bourdieu's notions of field and habitus to two small groups, training with a University in the North of England to become teachers in post-compulsory education. Critical and learning theories are used to explain and justify the design decisions and strategies employed and critical participatory action research is used to evaluate the impact of the game. 
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Stephen Sillett's profile photoMichael Josefowicz's profile photo
 
Nice video. I have been working with the idea of Strategic Action Fields, and it is interesting to see this approach to fields.

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Fahimeh Fotouhi

Discussion  - 
 
Blog 4, System Thinking 2, Aalto University, Feb 2016

https://reviewdiaryblog.wordpress.com
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I've left a comment in same address. 
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Fahimeh Fotouhi

Discussion  - 
 
Blog 3, System Thinking 2, Aalto University, Feb 2016

https://reviewdiaryblog.wordpress.com
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David Ing's profile photo
 
+Fahimeh Fotouhi Rich pictures need not be pretty, and actually may be more effective if they're not.  I've left comments on the blog post at https://reviewdiaryblog.wordpress.com/2016/04/15/rich-picture/
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Seanna Davidson

Discussion  - 
 
Hi there,

Can anyone point me in the direction of causal loop diagram software training?  Preference would be for something in the Australia/Asia region, but open to other locations

Thank you,
Seanna
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Seanna Davidson's profile photoJeremiah Osborne-Gowey's profile photo
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You might find some of these tutorials and free tools of interest. http://ipmnet.org/loop/default.aspx 
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David Ing
owner

Discussion  - 
 
Jane Jacobs Interviewed by @StewartBrand in 1998:  
> JJ: Cities are about the most durable things we have. People think of them as superficial things, but they aren't. They're very, very basic. Rural places, which are considered more fundamental and more basic, actually are hangers-on of cities in most cases. I explained that in Cities and the Wealth of Nations and in The Economy of Cities . Cities with economies have very long lives. They aren't just artificial cities that live on taxes, or capitals. Capitals don't last long.  

"Vital Cities: an interview with Jane Jacobs" | +Stewart Brand  | Whole Earth | Winter 1998 at http://www.wholeearth.com/issue/1340/article/69/vital.cities.an.interview.with.jane.jacobs 
Jane Jacobs: Cities are the chief motors of economies. You can't talk about economies without talking, at least obliquely, about cities. Any human settlement is an economic equivalent to a local ecosystem. Just as ecology is the economy of nature. I've just been looking at the same thing from ...
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David Ing
owner

Discussion  - 
 
MIT @MediaLab"Conversation about Cybernetics",@Joi Ito @PaulPangaro and others on forensics of institutional failure.  Also, how might the cybernetics community engage with machine learning, evolutionary biology, etc.  

Digest at https://daviding.wordpress.com/2016/04/07/conversation-about-cybernetics-mit-media-lab/ 

Original post at Conversation at the MIT Media Lab about cybernetics with +Paul Pangaro  | +Joichi Ito  | March 18, 2016 at http://joi.ito.com/weblog/2016/03/18/conversation-at.html  

Chat posted live on Facebook Mentions at https://www.facebook.com/joiito/videos/961545600598042/
Conversation at the MIT Media Lab about cybernetics with Paul Pangaro, Nathan Felde, Mike Bove, Iyad Rahwan, Edith Ackermann, Joi Ito and Lorrie LeJeune. A few background posts: Chat posted live on…
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Michael Josefowicz's profile photoDavid Ing's profile photo
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+Michael Josefowicz, the question wasn't mine, it was from +Joichi Ito.  I just reproduced the spoken word into the text digest.  

The MIT Media Lab is doing research specifically in machine learning and evolutionary biology.  There's a larger project list at https://www.media.mit.edu/research/groups-projects (which doesn't actually use either of those phrases on those pages).  The meeting on March 17 suggests that all of the senior faculty have not yet bought into cybernetics ... but not all appreciate the domain, either.
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David Ing
owner

Discussion  - 
 
Four conditions for vibrancy in cities with diversity by Jane Jacobs validated with mobile phone data in Italian cities.  

> Jacobs argues that vibrant activity can only flourish in cities when the physical environment is diverse. This diversity, she says, requires four conditions. The first is that city districts must serve more than two functions so that they attract people with different purposes at different times of the day and night. Second, city blocks must be small with dense intersections that give pedestrians many opportunities to interact.  

> The third condition is that buildings must be diverse in terms of age and form to support a mix of low-rent and high-rent tenants. By contrast, an area with exclusively new buildings can only attract businesses and tenants wealthy enough to support the cost of new building. Finally, a district must have a sufficient density of people and buildings.  [....]  

> De Nadai and co have come up with a much cheaper and quicker alternative using a new generation of city databases and the way people use social media and mobile phones.  [....] De Nadai and co gathered this data for six cities in Italy—Rome, Naples, Florence, Bologna, Milan, and Palermo.

"Data Mining Reveals the Four Urban Conditions That Create Vibrant city Life" | Emerging Technology from the arXiv | March 24, 2016 | MIT Technology Review at https://www.technologyreview.com/s/601107/data-mining-reveals-the-four-urban-conditions-that-create-vibrant-city-life/ 

> Taken together, our results suggest that Jacobs’s four conditions for maintaining a vital urban life hold for Italian cities as well (see Figure 4). From Figure 4 and the last column of Table 5, we see that as much as 77% of the variability of district activity is explained by simple structural and static features. As Figure 2 details, even individual features are strongly associated with activity. Also, the extent to which the different features matter does not dramatically change across cities. To partly verify that, we took the largest and smallest cities: Rome and Firenze. As Figure 3 suggests.  [...]  

> For the first time, we verified Jane Jacobs’s four conditions necessary for the promotion of urban life in the Italian context. We have done so by operationalizing her concepts in new ways: we used mobile phone records to extract a proxy for urban vitality, and web data to extract structural proxies for urban diversity. As Jacobs envisioned, vitality and diversity are intimately linked.  

"The Death and Life of Great Italian Cities: A Mobile Phone Data Perspective" | Marco De Nadai, Jacopo Staiano, Roberto Larcher, Nicu Sebe, Daniele Quercia, Bruno Lepri | March 2016 | Proceedings of the 26th International ACM Conference on World Wide Web (WWW), 2016 at http://arxiv.org/abs/1603.04012 

Surfaced by +Stewart Brand  at https://twitter.com/stewartbrand/status/714867775689220096p
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David Ing
owner

Discussion  - 
 
The Reproducibility Project on psychology studies at U. Virginia validated only 36% of publications.  Inability to match could be either bias towards only publishing positive results, or scientific misconduct.  

> An ambitious effort to replicate 100 research findings in psychology ... suggest that key findings from only 39 of the published studies could be reproduced.  

> But the situation is more nuanced than the top-line numbers suggest (See graphic, 'Reliability test'). Of the 61 non-replicated studies, scientists classed 24 as producing findings at least “moderately similar” to those of the original experiments, even though they did not meet pre-established criteria, such as statistical significance, that would count as a successful replication.  

"First results from psychology’s largest reproducibility test" | +Monya Baker | April 30, 2015 | Nature at http://www.nature.com/news/first-results-from-psychology-s-largest-reproducibility-test-1.17433 

> The prevailing theory is that willpower is a finite resource, like a muscle that can be exercised to exhaustion. This is among the most widely accepted findings in social psychology. But is it true? Maybe not. 

"Social psychology’s credibility crisis" | Margaret Wente | March 12, 2016 | Globe & Mail at http://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/social-psychologys-credibility-crisis/article29184360/
Crowd-sourced effort raises nuanced questions about what counts as replication.
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David Ing
owner

Discussion  - 
 
At SXSWedu, MIT Dean @_ChristineOrtiz describes vision for a new university integrating science and humanities based on four components: 
> Flipped curriculum (no classrooms) 
> Transdisciplinary research (not departments) 
> Powered by technology (developing by Jason Chuang, http://jason.chuang.info/
> Societal platform, university more embedded in society 

“MIT Dean Takes Leave to Start New University Without Lectures or Classrooms” | Jeffrey R. Young | Feb. 1, 2016 | Chronicle of Higher Education at http://chronicle.com/article/MIT-Dean-Takes-Leave-to-Start/235121

"The Research University in the New Millennium" | Christine Ortiz (Professor & Dean, MIT) in Conversation with Jeffrey Young (the Chronicle of Higher Education| March 8, 2016 | SXSWedu at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aYlXObCah5Q&list=PLwutlscrGUO0MI5LtAcGl957F0MMkdIW2&index=3 > For the last two hundred years, research universities have been engines driving human progress and have paved a pathway of opportunity for individual students, citizens, nations and humanity as a whole. Advances in the learning sciences, digital technologies and global collaboration provide an unprecedented and historic opportunity to re-envision the research university in the new millennium. This session will focus on key trends impacting the research university, examples of alternative prototype curricular models and a new design intended to advance intellectual and creative freedom and to accelerate learning, discovery, creation and invention well beyond existing frontiers.  

Surfaced at “National Town Hall”, | March 22, 2016 | T-Summit 2016 at https://ingbrief.wordpress.com/2016/03/22/20160322-0830-national-town-hall-t-summit-2016/
Christine Ortiz, a dean of graduate education, envisions a new kind of college, built from scratch for today’s needs and with today’s technology.
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Barry Clemson's profile photoChris Whitside's profile photoScott MacLeod's profile photo
 
This is desperately needed. The current level of specialization within the university is (and concomitant blindness to systems questions) is a serious threat to our future.

Proablay two decades ago Russell Ackoff described a new Mexican University that was to be organized according to societal / national problems rather than disciplines, with at least four discipolines attached to each problem. Does anyone know anything about how that worked out? Is it still in existence or has it morphed into the standard discipline based university?
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David Ing
owner

Discussion  - 
 
Video playlist of Allenna Leonard | "Stafford Beer’s Fifty Years of Applied Epistemology Or, what else besides the VSM?" | Hull University Centre for Systems Studies | November 17, 2015  

https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLCUdZD8xQ448-_0-RKv5UT58yKaIc4-vi  

> Allenna Leonard will talk about some of the early tinkering that Stafford Beer and others did that has implications for the application of current technologies in the areas of ‘big data’ the ‘internet of things’ and real-time measurement. From operational research in the steel industry to the Cybersyn project in Chile and the invention of Team Syntegrity, Stafford used his trans-disciplinary knowledge to achieve practical improvements with a view that science should serve the people.  

> Stafford would have been thrilled with today’s technical capacities but he was always concerned about the potential abuses to which this information could be put by criminals, governments, corporations and employers. Real-time measurements can warn of environmental threats or emergent medical problems but can also pursue efficiency and profit to the detriment of citizens, employees and consumers. The implanted chips with our medical histories Stafford predicted in Platform for Change could be used to help treat us or to discriminate. As systems thinkers and cyberneticians, it is up to us to highlight these issues and the opportunities and threats they present.
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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.

David Ing
owner

Discussion  - 
 
Decomplexifying the centralized state of Nepal into a federalist constitution serving local issues is being observed by the Forum of Federations.  

> After two and a half centuries as a monarchy, or some other form of centralized state, [Nepal] has become the world’s petri dish for federalism.  

> A decade of Maoist-inspired civil war that killed more than 17,000 people, plus endemic changes of elected governments, finally persuaded Nepal’s political parties that something new was needed. In a move born of desperation and fatigue, they agreed (which they don’t do often) to convene a constituent assembly. Rather amazingly, the assembly voted to give Nepal’s 28 million people a new federal constitution. The margin was 507 to 25, well above what was required to move forward.  

> To help Nepalis better understand their new form of government, Forum of Federations, an Ottawa-based agency dedicated to federalism, has been sending experts (and recently a journalist) to advise on everything from dividing power between levels of government, raising taxes and sharing resource revenues to revamping public administration and helping the press understand its role.  [....]  

> The sprawling home to more than a million people has few sidewalks and no traffic lights, but garbage and potholes everywhere. Evidence of either the municipal or national government is hard to find. In almost a week in the city that involved much travel by vehicle and on foot, only one public-works team was spotted.  

"Post-earthquake Nepal’s struggle to adopt Canadian-style federalism" | Jeffrey Simpson | April 15, 2016 | Globe and Mail at http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/world/post-earthquake-nepals-struggle-to-adopt-canadian-style-federalism/article29642895/  
Forum of Federations describes itself at http://www.forumfed.org/about-us/presidents-page/ 
A year after earthquakes killed thousands, The Globe’s Jeffrey Simpson visits Kathmandu to size up Nepal’s bid to reshape itself
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David Ing
owner

Discussion  - 
 
Systems leaders not learning from conferences led to a Banathy Conversation Methodology now used in biannual international meetings of the IFSR.  

> In the late 1970s, members of the systems science community grew increasingly dissatisfied with the typical conference format, in which selected speakers were granted blocks of time to deliver pre-written presentations and the opportunities for exchanging thoughts were limited to brief questions and responses, if time allowed. This sort of hierarchical distribution of knowledge was leading to neither widespread understanding nor new ideas, and certainly not to answers to complex problems that they felt systems inquiry could help solve. The group came to the hard realization that more was being accomplished in the breaks between sessions than in the sessions themselves. Led by Bela H. Banathy, they decided to create an alternative format, essentially cancelling the sessions and staying on break. Following C. West Churchman’s (1982) suggestion, they chose "conversation" as the name for this form of gathering, and they saw it as an opportunity to "more fully harness the collective potential of groups".  

> The first conversation was held in Fuschl am See, Austria, in April 1982. A group of scholars from international systems societies, based in three continents and representing 10 different cultures, gathered in this small village just outside of Salzburg for one week. The overarching question they asked was, "How can we use the insights from systems inquiry for the advancement of the human condition?"  

> The event was a great success, and officers of the International Federation of Systems Research (IFSR) who were present took a proposal to their board requesting funding for future conversations. This was approved, and the "Fuschl Conversation" was born.  

Gordon Dyer, Jed Jones, Gordon Rowland & Silvia Zweifel | "The Banathy Conversation Methodology" | 2015 | Constructivist Foundations at http://www.univie.ac.at/constructivism/journal/11/1/042.dyer 

IFSR Conversation 2016 (April 2 – 8, Linz, Austria) at http://www.ifsr.org/index.php/event/ifsr-conversation-2016-april-2-8-linz-austria/
Abstract. Context: Thirty years ago, members of the systems science community discovered that at their conferences, more was being accomplished in the breaks than in the sessions. Led by Bela H. Banathy, they cancelled the sessions and created a conversation methodology that has proven far more ...
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David Ing's profile photoNicolay Worren's profile photo
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Sounds interesting, I hope other conferences will adopt similar formats
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Fahimeh Fotouhi

Discussion  - 
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+Fahimeh Fotouhi Thanks for posting your reflections on boundaries (that may have leaked over into postnormal science).  I've left some messages as comments on the blog post.
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David Ing
owner

Discussion  - 
 
Design a knowledge system that learns about Type 3 and Type 4 Errors @MitroffCrisis http://bit.ly/1otzvmp Wrong inquiring systems can lead to crises.  

> If I had to sum up the the book in a single statement, it would be:  don’t solve the wrong problems precisely, because if you do, it not only a waste of precious resources, time and energy, but it leads to cynicism and despair and puts off the true problem such that they build up into a crisis.  

> Also, if I had to summarize in a in a single saying, it would be from the celebrated author Thomas Pynchon:   if they can get you asking the wrong questions, then they don’t have to worry about the answers.  

Ian Mitroff | “Dirty Rotten Strategies: How We Trick Ourselves and Others into Solving the Wrong Problems Precisely” | Feb. 24, 2010 | Commonwealth Club (web video, MP3 audio) at https://daviding.wordpress.com/2016/04/03/ian-mitroff-type-3-errors-type-4-errors/ 

Video of 59m47s (with slides) on “Book Discussion on Dirty Rotten Strategies” at http://www.c-span.org/video/?292366-1/book-discussion-dirty-rotten-strategies  

Preview of book at books.google.com/books?id=9Iol_cctGHkC&printsec=frontcover#v=onepage&q&f=false
Don’t solve the wrong problems precisely. Type 3 Errors and Type 4 Errors, by Ian Mitroff, extending the Design of Inquiring Systems. Abstract, from How can people or groups tell whether oth…
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David Ing
owner

Discussion  - 
 
Innovation has been a positive term only after WWII, and was negative from the 16th century.  Benoit Godin, under SSHRC funding, found:  

> ... after the Protestant Reformation in the 16th Century, innovation became a pejorative concept, as it was viewed as introducing change into the established order. “One of my main theses is that innovation is the secularised term for heresy. Both concepts are defined in similar terms and are used in the same ways,” Godin elaborates. “No innovator – like the republican or the political revolutionary or the socialist – ever thought of calling his project an innovation or himself an innovator. Innovation was used as a linguistic weapon against an enemy, namely against an individual promoting changes in religion, politics and social life.”  

> These negative connotations were widely accepted until the late 19th Century. In fact, it was not until after World War II and the emergence of a trend in which people started using innovation to describe technological advances that term again became a positive concept. This is a major reason why the popular view of innovation today is restricted to technological innovation. However, as Godin explains: “Another important rehabilitation of innovation is that it is a tool or instrument to progress (eg. political, social or material) and, after World War II, a source of economic growth and productivity”.  

"Innovation’s evolution over the millennia" | Benoît Godin | Feb. 5, 2016 | International Innovation at http://www.internationalinnovation.com/innovations-evolution-millennia/ 

"The idea of Innovation" | Benoît Godin | Institut National de la recherche Scientifique (INRS) at http://www.csiic.ca/en/the-idea-of-innovation  

CASTI Network: Conceptual Approaches to Science, Technology, and Innovation | Publications at http://www.casti.org/publications/ 

"Innovation: The History of a Buzzword" | Emma Green | June 20, 2013 | The Atlantic at http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2013/06/innovation-the-history-of-a-buzzword/277067/
There are hundreds of publications each year on innovation, but an inspired researcher from the Institut National de la Recherche Scientifique, Québec, Canada, has conducted the first in depth study of the concept of innovation, the term’s origins and how the idea of innovation has evolved over time
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Glen Forde

Discussion  - 
 
Aside: while this article points out similarities between systems thinking and design thinking, it fails to note that design thinking can be traced directly back to systems thinking, via Horst Rittel.
Is design thinking, then, the 'executive summary' of systems thinking that finds traction today, for good or ill?
"You never learn by doing something right cause you already know how to do it. You only learn from making mistakes and correcting them."...
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David Ing's profile photo
 
This 2009 article by Fred Collopy led me to a conversation with +John Pourdehnad (which spent a career working with Russell Ackoff) about claims by individuals of really appreciating systems thinking after taking one course with Russell Ackoff.  (The learners at Aalto University who took Systems Thinking 2 in Feb. 2016 should recognize that even with Ackoff as a leading figure in systems thinking, he was one in a network of researchers and practitioners).  

That being said, there was a lot happening in Berkeley around 1973 that Horst Rittel and Melvin Webber published "Dilemmas in a General Theory of Planning" that surfaced the idea of "wicked problems".  C. West Churchman was also at Berkeley, publishing "The Systems Approach" in 1968, and "The Design of Inquiring Systems" in 1971.  Christopher Alexander founded the Center for Environmental Structure at Berkeley in 1968, and was developing A Pattern Language (finally published after 10 years work in 1977).  

Most importantly, graduate students who were at Berkeley (and other leading universities at the time) sometimes crossed over these schools of thought, and created their own syntheses of ideas.  Some were more complete in their syntheses than others.  

Let's acknowledge that "design thinking" is a relatively new term, maybe becoming popularized around the time that the Stanford d.School was founded, around 2005.  In the early 1970s, ideas around "systems" and "design" were moshing around, not only at Berkeley, but in other places in the world.  In addition, in the pre-Internet era, information moved much slower, so the timing and interaction of the fields could be more citably tracked through the publication and dissemination of journal articles and books.
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David Ing
owner

Discussion  - 
 
The IICC Project (Integration–Insight–Creativity–Character) includes systems thinking to develop T-shaped professionals at Ithaca College.  Presentation by Gordon Rowland and Jason Hamilton at T-Summit 2016:  

> Four one-credit courses designed to help students connect the dots between traditional fields of study:   
> 1. Integration - connecting the disciplines; 
> 2. Insight - combining expertise; 
> 3. Creativity - transforming insights into ideas; 
> 4. Character - developing habits for good. 

"The IICC Project" | Ithaca College at http://www.ithaca.edu/academics/iicc/ 

> In March 2009, the president of Ithaca College issued a challenge to faculty and staff to step outside of their disciplinary expertise to create means for students to make connections across academic fields. The design team directly addressed this challenge by proposing four one-credit mini-courses, based on a series of learning activities that revolved around systems thinking and design. Our project was accepted and serves as an example of a formal design inquiry with a systems approach at multiple levels. In this design case, we describe the project history, the course designs, the many issues we have faced, and how we have made design decisions.  

Gordon Rowland, Jason Hamilton, Meghan Morales (2011). The IICC project: Integration, insight, creativity, and character. International Journal of Designs for Learning, 2(1),18-39. http://www.ithaca.edu/academics/iicc/projectstory/
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David Ing
owner

Discussion  - 
 
Does focusing on global tipping points distract from recognizing many regions are already past local tipping points?  +Erle Ellis wrote: 

> To deny the likelihood of an impending global tipping point is not to deny that we are transforming the biosphere profoundly and permanently in ways that are likely to disgrace us in the eyes of future generations. Much of our planet’s ecology can and will be lost unless we focus much greater effort on conserving and restoring it.  

> With this in mind, the concept of a global tipping point has major policy implications. It suggests that below some threshold nothing serious will happen, but after that all will be lost. Holding such a view risks breeding complacency on one side and hopelessness on the other. Both are misplaced: to lose even one species is more than we should accept lightly. The same holds for our local ecosystems. To conserve them is to conserve the biosphere.  

"Time to forget global tipping points" | Erle C. Ellis | March 2013 | New Scientist at https://www.newscientist.com/article/mg21729070-200-time-to-forget-global-tipping-points/ , also cached at https://www.academia.edu/23410087/The_concept_of_global_tipping_points_is_flawed 

> This has two important implications for global-change science. 
> First, we argue that focusing on uncertain future regime shifts at a planetary scale underemphasizes the degree to which ecosystems across the terrestrial biosphere have already been transformed by human activities over the long term (Box 1). Indeed, most ecosystems – perhaps up to four-fifths globally – have probably already undergone human-driven regime shifts of one or more kinds, at local or regional scales, over recent millennia, yielding a biosphere that today is largely characterized by post-transition, hybrid, or novel ecosystems [57,58] (Figure 1).  
> Second, framing global change in the dichotomous terms implied by the notion of a global tipping point could lead to complacency on the ‘safe’ side of the point and fatalism about catastrophic or irrevocable effects on the other [59,60]. Such framing is not well supported by ecological science and can be misrepresented. Even where tipping points have occurred on local and regional scales, there is empirical and experimental evidence to suggest that many ecosystems are able to recover even after heavy disturbance by humans [61,62].  

"Does the terrestrial biosphere have planetary tipping points?" | Barry W. Brook, Erle C. Ellis, Michael P. Perring, Anson W. Mackay and Linus Blomqvist | 2012 | Trends in Ecology & Evolution see https://scholar.google.com/scholar?cluster=4463155860922415473
The idea that Earth is approaching a point of no return is probably untrue and almost certainly unhelpful, says ecologist Erle C. Ellis
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