‘Nounification’ catches up with Systems Thinking

It seems that certain verbs are becoming nouns, for no particular reason that I can see based in grammar, semantics or the logic of language.  This appears to be a recent phenomena, and in a few cases, nounification has propelled these lucky  innocuous verbs into the noun stratosphere.  The first is the innocent little doer-word ‘reveal’.

reveal1
rɪˈviːl/
verb
1.
make (previously unknown or secret information) known to others.

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Designing in the post-consumer age

Christmas is coming, again.  Last year, Australians reportedly spent $A32B at an average of $A1,200 per person during the silly season.  Nearly twenty million of these gifts with a value of around $A1B were unwanted and were sold, re-gifted, stored or dumped.  For myself, a distinctive marker of post-consumerism came when a ten year-old family member declared a few weeks out from Christmas that he didn’t know what to ask for this year because he couldn’t think of anything he particularly wanted. It seems that between Christmas, birthdays, special days and rewards for good behavior the number of buying opportunities outstrips some family member’s needs or even desires.  So it seems we are now living in an age of post-consumerism, even for ten year-olds.  We are beyond some western models of growth, in uncharted territory.

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A Systemic Perspective to Managing Complexity with Enterprise Architecture

ASystemicPerspectivetoManagingComplexitywithEnterpriseArchitecture-coverPallab Saha’s book on systemic perspectives for managing complexity with enterprise architecture is now officially published by IGI Global.  I have written Chapter 13, ‘Enterprise Architecture’s Identity Crisis: New Approaches to Complexity for a Maturing Discipline’.  The 18 month process was a reminder of the creation cycle times for this type of content. It seems that social media’s immediacy has done little to escalate the pace or compress the effort of producing a traditional academic work of 26 authors.

When I first started collecting thoughts and materials on what I began to understand as enterprise architecture’sidentity crisis’, I was reacting to my perception that IT-centric EA was increasingly facing a crisis of relevance. My experience of the unrealised promise of EA led me to think and discuss questions of theory, practice and purpose. ‘Identity crisis’ seemed an appropriate metaphor for the challenges facing enterprise architecture.

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Can Systems Thinking help to solve problems like people smuggling?

Children overbaord.

Children overboard.

Political, social and economic problems amenable to the application of ‘systems thinking‘ are all around us. Take the Australian Prime Minister’s latest solution to the seemingly insoluble ‘boat people’ dilemma.  ‘Boat people’ are refugees fleeing central or south east Asia who make their way to Indonesia, purchase passage from a ‘people smuggler’ to Australia on a leaky boat, only to find that the tub starts to take water somewhere near Christmas Island. What typically plays out next is a media-driven frenzy of political posturing and talk-back vitriol, while the Australian Navy scoops up the survivors and deposits them in a remote detention centre.

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The new patriotism of making

Craftsmanship, quality, integrity, locality, and the importance of ‘the story’.

When times are tough, the tough get making. So claimed none other than Clint Eastwood in his Superbowl half-time pitch for Chrysler. In a voice so gravelly it sounds like a cracked gearbox that lost its last drop of oil 100 miles back, Eastwood parables the Detroit story — once great, KO’d by globalism and cheap offshore labour, now revived after transfusions of foreign (Italian) money and a new US consumer patriotism fueled by signs of life in Motown’s once mighty corpse.

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Designing clinical spaces with ‘co-creation’

Co-creation.

Participatory design methods (co-creation) have been around for a while, but it’s been a while since a co-creation story as practical as the one told by Liz Sanders  has been told.

Liz Sanders explains ‘co-creation at scale’.

Her employers, architecture firm NBBJ talk of bringing a ‘human-centred approach to architecture and planning’.  That’s relatively progressive coming from a firm of architects.

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The truth about egalitarian design

We are all designers

We are all designers

‘Design thinking’ is being sold as a methodology for sticky problems. It is also being sold as a process that just about anyone can use to solve ‘wicked problems’. Either something is slightly inconsistent between these two claims or it’s one hell of a method.

‘Contrary to popular opinion, you don’t need weird shoes or a black turtleneck to be a design thinker’ Tim Brown writes (HBR, June 2008). ‘Nor are design thinkers necessarily created only by design schools… many people outside professional design have a natural aptitude for design thinking, which the right development and experiences can unlock’.

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