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Generative Systems Design
Complex Adaptive Systems, Process Design, Adaptive Push Back, Antifragility, Dynamic Organization, Autopoiesis
Curated by Anne Caspari
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Understanding Is A Poor Substitute For Convexity (antifragility) | Conversation | Edge

Understanding Is A Poor Substitute For Convexity (antifragility) | Conversation | Edge | Generative Systems Design | Scoop.it

Something central, very central, is missing in historical accounts of scientific and technological discovery. The discourse and controversies focus on the role of luck as opposed to teleological programs (from telos, "aim"), that is, ones that rely on pre-set direction from formal science. This is a faux-debate: luck cannot lead to formal research policies; one cannot systematize, formalize, and program randomness. The driver is neither luck nor direction, but must be in the asymmetry (or convexity) of payoffs, a simple mathematical property that has lied hidden from the discourse, and the understanding of which can lead to precise research principles and protocols.

 

The point we will be making here is that logically, neither trial and error nor "chance" and serendipity can be behind the gains in technology and empirical science attributed to them. By definition chance cannot lead to long term gains (it would no longer be chance); trial and error cannot be unconditionally effective: errors cause planes to crash, buildings to collapse, and knowledge to regress.

 

The beneficial properties have to reside in the type of exposure, that is, the payoff function and not in the "luck" part: there needs to be a significant asymmetry between the gains (as they need to be large) and the errors (small or harmless), and it is from such asymmetry that luck and trial and error can produce results. 


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Anne Caspari's comment, June 17, 2013 4:22 AM
Against popular understanding of what makes the universe go round "(yin/yang") , it is ASSYMETRY in many different realms. Generative systems design can benefit hugely from understanding this and using what Taleb calls convexity in order to desgin for results and success.

And here is another take on assymetries cross posted from Bonnitta Roy, http://alderloreinsightcenter.com/insightful-ideas-blog/  pointing out the different realms where assymetry is the driver:

"That at every level or domain of existence there are exclusionary principles which are the principles which guarantee difference and generate increasing levels of uniqueness. So for example, at the quantum level there is wave-particle uncertainty, at the atomic level there is Pauli exclusion, at the level of abiotic there are things like laws that govern crystals, handedness, etc… at the level of plant there is the exclusion of space, at the level of animals there are incompatible goods, and at the level of humans there are incommensurable beliefs. "

This all makes a lot of sense.
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A Question of Wholeness

A Question of Wholeness | Generative Systems Design | Scoop.it

 

"We have the trap wherever there is “difference” we bump it up to a “higher” or more “complexified” sophistication, of “sameness.” We are trapped into this construction where conceptual sophistication grows from difference to sameness, multiplicity to unity, concrete and particular to abstract and universal."

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Anne Caspari's curator insight, June 16, 2013 8:05 AM

Bonnitta Roy does a brilliant summary of most postmodern traps and fallacies. Most of this stuff we have been feeling into since last fall, led by her around the 'Alderlore tribe'. While this seems just highly philosophical musings, let me point out that this is leading behind the scenes of what really might be going on or going wrong in today's globalization world - including the responses of post-modernism. It points out the fault lines where most of us systems thinkers go terribly frustrated and no longer seem to understand the current trajectories. Her discours actually provides the acupuncture points for generative ACTION. 

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Eric Berlow: Simplifying complexity | Video on ...

Eric Berlow: Simplifying complexity | Video on ... | Generative Systems Design | Scoop.it
Ecologist Eric Berlow doesn't feel overwhelmed when faced with complex systems. He knows that more information can lead to a better, simpler solution.
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The No Straight Lines challenge: be realistic imagine the impossible | No Straight Lines

The No Straight Lines challenge: be realistic imagine the impossible | No Straight Lines | Generative Systems Design | Scoop.it
Anne Caspari's insight:

This is where I want to return to the idea that what we face is a design problem, where answers exist not at an unattainable theoretical level but on the floors of our factories, in the streets of our towns and cities, the classes of our schools, the waiting rooms of our hospitals. These answers will manifest themselves as true acts of creation, originating new ways of getting stuff done, informed by the decisions we collectively take. So in re-designing the world, we need human creativity in the sense of the capacity to ‘make’, we need visionary leadership in the sense of making a difference. And we seek the craftsman’s critical eye, steady hand and creative mind. It is this process of seeing – realising new pathways to success, by bringing two ‘unlikes’ (new information, tools, processes etc.) together in close adjacency – that we create, and make new things. Then we can meaningfully apply that capability.

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Science for Designers: Complex Adaptive Systems| Metropolis Magazine

Science for Designers: Complex Adaptive Systems| Metropolis Magazine | Generative Systems Design | Scoop.it

As humans we are remarkably good at conceiving the world as a collection of objects, their geometric attributes, and the ways they can be taken apart and re-assembled to do spectacular things (either perform marvelous tasks for us, or provide an aesthetic spectacle, or both). This way of designing underlies much of our powerful technology—yet as modern science reminds us, it’s an incomplete way. Critical systemic effects have to be integrated into the process of design, without which we are likely to trigger operational failures and even disasters.

Today we are experiencing just these kinds of failures in large-scale systems like ecology. As designers (of any kind) we must learn to manage environments not just as collections of objects, but also as connected fields with essential features of geometric organization, extending dynamically through time as well as space. This is a key lesson from the relatively recent understanding of the dynamics of “complex adaptive systems,” and from applications in fields like biology and ecology.

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The Evolution of Business: Creating 'Firms of the Future' Through Biomimicry

The Evolution of Business: Creating 'Firms of the Future' Through Biomimicry | Generative Systems Design | Scoop.it
'The Evolution of Business: Creating 'Firms of the Future' Through Biomimicry' blog post by Guest Contributors.
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Boldly creating a world that works for all - Trimtabs for systemic change

Boldly creating a world that works for all - Trimtabs for systemic change | Generative Systems Design | Scoop.it

“I will invite the Future Salon members to a bit of meta-thinking and meta-design,” I announced in a three-question interview that was posted on the Future Salon website as part of the invitation. “What can you and I do that really can lead to a radical positive shift? I will raise this question by proposing a candidate answer.” In the lecture I proposed ‘Trimtabs for systemic change’ as a strategy for creating a world that works for all. I introduced this as a strategy complementary to the conventional way of handling contemporary issues, where we strive to understand and control specific problems such as the climate change.  

# this is a really nice talk, worth listening to! 

@Karen O'Brien, cChange


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All Systems Need A Little Disorder

All Systems Need A Little Disorder | Generative Systems Design | Scoop.it

Managing complex adaptive systems (CAS) is a constant balancing act between many goals that are often in conflict with each other. Most systems need to be managed to limit resource usage i.e. they need to be efficient. The mantra of efficiency is most visible in economic systems but even other systems such as biological systems cannot typically get away with profligate wastage of resources. But efficiency is not enough. Systems also need to be robust. There is no point in achieving optimal efficiency if the first change in environmental conditions causes the system to collapse. Robustness is not just about avoiding collapse and persisting. Robustness is the ability of a system to maintain critical functionality in the face of significant stress.

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Nassim Taleb's 'Antifragile' Celebrates Randomness In People, Markets

Nassim Taleb's 'Antifragile' Celebrates Randomness In People, Markets | Generative Systems Design | Scoop.it

'Antifragile' is a celebration of risk and randomness and a call to arms to recognize and embrace antifragility.

Many readers misunderstand Taleb’s core message.  They assume that because Taleb writes about unseen and improperly calculated risks, his objective must be to reduce or eliminate risk.  Nothing could be further from the truth. 

 

Antifragile is a celebration of risk and randomness and a call to arms to recognize and embrace antifragility. 

 

Rather than reduce risk, organize your life, your business or your society in such a way that it benefits from randomness and the occasional Black Swan event.

 

Taleb’s own life is a case in point.  He had the free time to write Fooled, The Black Swan and Antifragile because—in his own words—he made “F___ you money” during the greatest Black Swan event of our lifetimes, the 1987 stock market crash.  

 

...Taleb’s trading style is antifragile, had the 1987 crash never happened, Taleb would not have been materially hurt.  His trading style puts little at risk but allows for outsized returns.

 


Via Deb Nystrom, REVELN, Philippe Vallat, Anne Caspari
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Deb Nystrom, REVELN's comment, April 17, 2013 2:57 PM
Anne, your layering encourages critical nuanced views beyond the book's "shiny new term" idea. Sometimes the first thing to do is "not do," as in, don't just do something, stand there. Doe we need an "intervention?" What are the other perspectives available, thinking systemically? Re: Iatrogenics: From the "Black Swan Report: "...the argument of Chapters 21 and 22 on the convexity of iatrogenics (only treat the VERY ill): Mortality is convex to blood pressure."
Anne Caspari's comment, April 22, 2013 9:42 AM
Hi Deb, thanks :-). I also reckon there are MANY fresh perspectives on how to handle different systems (or leave them alone), may they be health, financial, socio-political, ecological.... I love it and keep smiling to myself when I see the aha - moments on applied convexity/anti/fragility pop up in daily life, business and otherwise... compliments also on your scoops...
Deb Nystrom, REVELN's comment, April 22, 2013 10:16 PM
Thanks Anne. Systems and org. groupies a bit, maybe. ;-)
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Understanding Immunity to Change and (personal) systemic push back. Robert Kegan

Prof. Robert Kegan sets up the environment for an inquiry on how come there is a gap between a person's real intention to change and what the person actually...
Anne Caspari's insight:

powerful tools and exercises! 

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interior castle

An animated short describing the experience of taking Otto Scharmer's course on Leadership at MIT's Sloan school of management: Leading Profound Innovation f...
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Anne Caspari's comment, April 16, 2013 9:54 AM
nicely done, I do like their stuff, it is honest and authentic, and not flattening transformative processes to become trivia.
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university is not the place for designing systems change

university is not the place for designing systems change | Generative Systems Design | Scoop.it

Here he is on activism and conformity in the university: "Graeber says, “I would say that what we see is a university system which mitigates against creativity and any form of daring. It’s incredibly conformist and it represents itself as the opposite, and I think this kind of conformism is a result of the bureaucratization of the university.”

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Engineering Serendipity

Engineering Serendipity | Generative Systems Design | Scoop.it
Companies that depend on innovation are redesigning work spaces to encourage a certain kind of accident: the human collision.
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Anne Caspari's comment, April 17, 2013 6:37 AM
Creating physical spaces that enable and foster generativity is a vital part of system's design.
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Elegance

Elegance | Generative Systems Design | Scoop.it
Anne Caspari's insight:

"Nature is ultimalty complex, but you don't get a metatheoretical hangover from Nature because it is elegant". 

 

Bonnitta Roy, ITC presentation, SF, CA

http://alderloreinsightcenter.com/insightful-ideas-blog/

 

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ISSS 57 - Curating Conditions for a Thrivable Planet

A message from Alexander Laszlo, President of the International Society for the Systems Sciences, about the upcoming 57th Annual World Conference in Hai Phon...
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How to Get Stuff Done, Integral Style!

How to Get Stuff Done, Integral Style! | Generative Systems Design | Scoop.it
Let’s look at what we’re trying to get done from a broader perspective and apply a principle I learned from one of my Zen teachers, Tanouye Roshi, and that is: driving rhythm.
Anne Caspari's insight:

'same but different' approach to dynamic steering via practicing presence. Nice piece to the puzzle. 

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Antifragile, Flexibility, Robust, Resilience, Agility, and Fragile

Antifragile, Flexibility, Robust, Resilience, Agility, and Fragile | Generative Systems Design | Scoop.it
Thriving on chaos in an age of discontinuity --- where the past is plagued with incoherence & inconsistency, the present is plagued with chaos & ambiguity, and the future is plagued with un...
Anne Caspari's insight:

very intersting and useful synopsis. 

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Triarchy Press Idioticon Complexity-Worthiness

Triarchy Press Idioticon Complexity-Worthiness | Generative Systems Design | Scoop.it
Describes the term Complexity-Worthiness from Complexity Theory
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Collapse of Complex Societies by Dr. Joseph Tainter (1 of 7)

http://localfuture.org The collapse of complex societies of the past can inform the present on the risks of collapse. Dr. Joseph Tainter, author of the book ...
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9 basic principles of biomimicry J. Benyus

9 basic principles of biomimicry J. Benyus | Generative Systems Design | Scoop.it
Anne Caspari's insight:

mimicking nature is a good idea in generative systems design. 

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ComplexitySol: Projects as Complex Adaptive Systems (2)

ComplexitySol: Projects as Complex Adaptive Systems (2) | Generative Systems Design | Scoop.it

Acting in a Complex Adaptive System

Each agent ideally needs to know, in ‘real time’ WHAT to do, HOW to do it, and WHO to communicate with.



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Anne Caspari's comment, April 23, 2013 4:36 AM
this is a good synopsis from someone who seems to know his project work! Practical and down to earth without flattening the complexity.
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Demystifying the Pattern(s) of Change: A Common Archetype

Demystifying the Pattern(s) of Change: A Common Archetype | Generative Systems Design | Scoop.it
We are all familiar with it because we have ridden its wave many times in our lives.  Some of us have developed the wisdom to embrace it when it arises; others are still resisting it, stricken by a...
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Anne Caspari's comment, April 20, 2013 8:57 AM
this is a pretty good of synopsis different viewpoints on the same phenomenon of transformation - CAS, panarchy, U process, Hero's journey. I like it.
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TO UNDERSTAND IS TO PERCEIVE PATTERNS

indeed, interesting and beautiful stuff! 


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Integral Options Cafe: Bonnitta Roy - AQAL 2210: A Tentative Cartology of the Future; Or How do We Get from AQAL to A-perspectival? #itc2010

Integral Options Cafe: Bonnitta Roy - AQAL 2210: A Tentative Cartology of the Future; Or How do We Get from AQAL to A-perspectival? #itc2010 | Generative Systems Design | Scoop.it

When Wilber writes that AQAL is a map of the prison, the integral community should immediately understand that there is no prison except for the map. A-perspectivity is the unconditioned situation of living/being without the map. If we can learn to operate from that unconditioned place, then we can create new maps through which new worlds might arise with greater degrees of freedom and open-up our choice field. If we operate from that unconditioned place we will avoid the mistakes of misplaced concreteness that weld ideas into the bars and barriers of our self-imposed prisons. If we operate from that unconditioned place we will have transmuted the prisons of our selves into the playgrounds of spirit. We will, in other words, enter into the ever-present process of enacting our future.

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Edge Perspectives with John Hagel: Getting Stronger through Stress: Making Black Swans Work for You

Edge Perspectives with John Hagel: Getting Stronger through Stress: Making Black Swans Work for You | Generative Systems Design | Scoop.it
Unanticipated events, especially extreme unanticipated events, can harm us or even destroy us. But they can also help us to grow and make us stronger. If they do the former, we tend to fear them and avoid them wherever possible....
Anne Caspari's insight:

I am very fond of Taleb's book Antifragile. It is the best of its kind I read in quite a while. Insights everywhere. 

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Anne Caspari's comment, April 8, 2013 12:08 PM
I am very fond of Taleb's book Antifragile. It is the best of its kind I read in quite a while. Insights everywhere.