Better technical systems by observing social systems

Automation is starting to replace humans across all aspects of work. To automate work we must observe the social parts of the system as these are the part that learn and adopt to the environment. In order to make automation successful within organisation, we must embed the ability to automate within systems themselves. People have great knowledge of how to work within larger systems and how to adopt to change. These patterns of adaptation are a great challenge for automation initiatives. But there is a way to make automation successful.

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Systems thinking uncertainty principle

One of the most important aspects of a system is its boundary. But boundaries we define when studying systems are entirely based on who is studying. Going to see a surgeon and expecting advice to seek meditation as a remedy for some illness is unrealistic. Likewise, your personal finance problem will be viewed differently if you went to a career advisor, accountant, psychologist or a friend. Boundaries are definitions that tell us what we care about, what our sphere of influence is and where to intervene. Those familiar with systems thinking will immediately quote one the guiding principles of systems thinking “Defy the disciplines”. But what if each person in the examples I gave above was a multi-disciplinarean. Does the problem go away?

Let me try to explain…

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Idealised design for changing socio-technical systems

We have traditionally treated organisations as complex machines. Theories and approaches employed for changing organisations were concerned with mechanical or technical solutions. Examples of classical change solutions include improving performance by changing technology used, training people, etc…

The fundamental tools for change in most organisations are “training” and “projects”. In the article below I want to explore change in organisations from a systems thinking point of view and also link it to some traditional practices (enterprise architecture and change management).

This is a design I use to visualise how to change organisations in general.

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Welcome to Hacking Socio-Technical Systems Blog

As Donella H. Meadows said in her book Thinking in Systems: A Primer; “Remember, always, that everything you know, and everything everyone knows, is only a model. Get your model out there where it can be viewed. Invite others to challenge your assumptions and add their own.” This blog is my way of putting my assumptions out there…

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Idealised design for changing socio-technical systems
We have traditionally treated organisations as complex machines. Theories and approaches employed for changing organisations were concerned with mechanical or technical solutions. Examples of classical change solutions include improving performance by changing technology used, training people, etc… The fundamental tools for change in most organisations are "training" and "projects". In the article below I want to explore change in organisations from a systems thinking point of view and also link it to some traditional practices (enterprise architecture and change management). This is a design I use to visualise how to change organisations in general.
Systems thinking uncertainty principle
One of the most important aspects of a system is its boundary. But boundaries we define when studying systems are entirely based on who is studying. Going to see a surgeon and expecting advice to seek meditation as a remedy for some illness is unrealistic. Likewise, your personal finance problem will be viewed differently if you went to a career advisor, accountant, psychologist or a friend. Boundaries are definitions that tell us what we care about, what our sphere of influence is and where to intervene. Those familiar with systems thinking will immediately quote one the guiding principles of systems thinking “Defy the disciplines”. But what if each person in the examples I gave above was a multi-disciplinarean. Does the problem go away? Let me try to explain...
Better technical systems by observing social systems
Automation is starting to replace humans across all aspects of work. To automate work we must observe the social parts of the system as these are the part that learn and adopt to the environment. In order to make automation successful within organisation, we must embed the ability to automate within systems themselves. People have great knowledge of how to work within larger systems and how to adopt to change. These patterns of adaptation are a great challenge for automation initiatives. But there is a way to make automation successful.