T306 Block 1: Activity 33

This activity requires me to look at a very large diagram showing some of the many building blocks of systems thinking. I’m not going to reproduce it here (my blog isn’t big enough to show it with any clarity, but I do need to search for some practices that I have never heard of or don’t know the definition.

So, here comes a list of stuff I don’t know. I have no idea if I’m going to revisit this but I guess this will be a good place to store some links to stuff that I might find useful later on. I’m going to try and not use Wikipedia for all these.

  • General Systems Theory. You’d think I’d know something about this already but it must have slipped my memory when doing T214
  • Critical Systems by Jackson, Ulrich and Flood
  • Applied Systems Studies by Checkland. I’m not entirely sure what this is from the little oval in the diagram but it seems to relate to soft systems methodologies. I shall be covering these quite a bit in the course.
  • Systems Agriculture by Spedding & Bawden. Something else I have no idea about, but my current client is working in agriculture and I might read this at some point.
  • OR Management Science by Ackoff. I don’t know what they mean by this either but I have at least heard of Russell Ackoff.
  • Management Cybernetics by Stafford Beer. This is related to the viable systems model that is covered later in T306
  • Second-order Cybernetics. I’ve actually found a proper academic link for this. It talks about semiotics in the abstract and I have no idea what this is either.
  • Biology of cognition by Varela. I think this is probably about attempting to understand how we understand things. I don’t understand this.
  • Experimental Epistemology. This somehow leads into second-order cybernetics. I really hope I don’t have to actually know this stuff.
  • Information Theory by Shannon, Weaver. The mother of all models, apparently

There have been some extremely clever people thinking about this stuff for a very long time. I do hope some of it rubs off.

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