Wearing your systems thinking hat: habits for better evaluation

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Originally posted on Megan Rita Roberts:

My undergraduate education had a strong foundation in systems thinking – it is one tool that is particularly well aligned with the work of Human Ecologists , for helping us understand complex interactions in social-ecological systems and mechanisms for change. I came, naively, to evaluation thinking that I would be able to apply these big systems thinking approaches (e.g. soft systems methodology , critical systems heuristics ) on a large scale in evaluations. That is, that I would be writing them into methodologies, that clients would be lapping them up, excited to see the possibilities for reflective practice. In reality, this reflects my initially instrumental understanding of systems thinking!

It’s also why I was so excited when I discovered that there is a body of literature around systems concepts and thinking in evaluation – bringing two interest areas of mine together. Bob Williams and Iraj Imam’s anthology of systems thinking…

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Do We Fully Understand Diversity?


Originally posted on Systems Savvy:

Dimensions of Diversity

This graphic does a decent job of showing the different dimensions in which we find diversity

What do we mean when we talk about diversity? Merriam-Webster online’s first definition is “the quality or state of having many different forms, types, ideas, etc.” Not bad. Not bad at all. How about the second definition? It’s presented as “the state of having people who are different races or who have different cultures in a group or organization.”

I find this second definition somewhat troublesome and simplistic, in large part because I think a large percentage, if not an overwhelming majority, of people think of diversity in a very limited form. In my experience, within organizations — i.e. enterprise-size businesses — race, ethnicity, physical ability, and gender are about the only classifications in which “diversity” is interpreted to matter. This in spite of definitions that suggest far more inclusiveness, like this one from the University…

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Search Interface Design (workshop at ESE 2014)


Originally posted on Information Interaction:

ESE 2014

I’m pleased to say that on Monday 28 April I’ll be leading a workshop at Enterprise Search Europe on the subject of Search Interface Design. It’ll be held at the Park Plaza Victoria London, and will consist of a mix of formal presentations, group work and discussion. It’s a chance to discuss with like-minded folks your own challenges in the world of search interface design and usability, and to share ideas, best practices and solutions. I’ve appended a longer abstract below. If you have any queries, just drop me a line.

Hope to see you there!

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Industrial Design’s MOVE opens body-ports towards creativity


Originally posted on Girl with a Thinking Apparatus:



In western cultures the separation of the head and body is very explicit. Only since recently researchers have focused on the connection between this distinction in human existence. They developed a new concept: embodied cognition. Embodied cognition is about the way the body can be used as a metaphor. This means that abstract ideas are rooted in physical experience. By learning more about the body and its possibilities, the body-mind bridge can become stronger and more open to new insights and (unusual) connections. In this way conceptual spaces are in some way connected with physical spaces, which means that people can experiment on two different ‘levels.’ In this essay I will argue that the connection of these two spaces (‘inner’ and ‘outer’) can enhance creative thinking. The BA Industrial Design at the Technical University in Eindhoven will be my focus because it uses classes in movement analysis, called MOVE…

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The Stuart Hall Project: who are we, what are we and what could we become?

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Originally posted on That's How The Light Gets In:

The Stuart Hall Project 2

When I saw John Akomfrah’s The Unfinished Conversation at the Bluecoat in November 2012 I was deeply moved.  Like everyone else I know who saw the three-screen installation based on the life, work and thoughts of the Jamaican-born sociologist and cultural theorist Stuart Hall, I loved it so much, I had to go back and see it again several times.

Since then, Akomfrah has expanded his exploration of Hall’s life and legacy in a documentary film, The Stuart Hall Project, that was released last year. Following the news of Stuart Hall’s death, we watched the film on DVD last night. However, watching the 90 minute film turned out to be very different to the experience of being immersed in the multiple screen poetry of The Unfinished Conversation. At twice the length, The Stuart Hall Project obviously shares the same genes as the installation, but is a quite different…

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Encountering Henri Bortoft


Daniel Montano:

Quote from this blog post: “The value in Henri’s work is to help us understand the process of thinking, what it’s limitations are, and how we can avoid the traps of being blinkered by the scientific methodology. “

Originally posted on Transition Consciousness:

Now that I am beginning to lecture and teach complexity, many people are asking me about who I teach, and what my key references are. This is quite a difficult question to answer on a number of levels, especially when you are trying to teach people that “thinking” is just one of the ways of knowing the world, and that “sensing”, “feeling” and “intuition” are just as important.

One very key person who I admire greatly and who I base much of my work around is that of Henri Bortoft, author of the book “The Wholeness of Nature: Goethe’s Way of Science”.  I remember reading this book for the first time around February 2009, in preparation for my MSc in Holistic Science at Schumacher College.  I had been recommended this book since Henri teaches the first week of the MSc, and Henri’s philosophy provides one of the foundation stones for…

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