Systems Thinking, Rich Mapping and Conceptual Models


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A presentation Matthew Milan and I gave at the IA Summit 2007

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  • Systems Thinking, Rich Mapping and Conceptual Models

    1. 1. Systems Thinking, Rich Mapping and Conceptual Models
    2. 5. What is a system? <ul><li>Collection of “stuff” </li></ul><ul><li>Dynamic, complex, interdependent relationships </li></ul><ul><li>Can't be decomposed into linear processes </li></ul><ul><li>Can't be separated from the environment or context in which they occur </li></ul><ul><li>Feedback </li></ul>
    3. 6. What are systems? <ul><li>Economies </li></ul><ul><li>Ecosystems </li></ul><ul><li>Organizations </li></ul><ul><li>Markets </li></ul><ul><li>Projects </li></ul><ul><li>Social Networks </li></ul>
    4. 7. Leverage Points <ul><li>Small changes  big effects </li></ul><ul><li>Leverage Points </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Access to information </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Incentives </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Delays </li></ul></ul>
    5. 8. Do Systems Matter? <ul><li>GM closes plant in Fremont, California (1982) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Worst quality record </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Worst labour relations </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Highest employee absenteeism and drug use </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Toyota opens Fremont plant in 1984 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Hires 80% of GM’s workforce </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Outstanding quality record </li></ul></ul>
    6. 10. Relevance to Experience Design <ul><li>Web is an ecosystem </li></ul><ul><li>Systems within the web </li></ul><ul><ul><li>eBay </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Blogosphere </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Digg, Flickr, MySpace </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Creating, influencing systems that enable experiences </li></ul>
    7. 11. Introducing Systems Thinking <ul><li>CATWOE </li></ul><ul><li>Root Definitions </li></ul><ul><li>Rich Mapping/Conceptual Models </li></ul><ul><li>Case study </li></ul>
    8. 12. Systems Thinking Conceptual Model
    9. 13. <ul><li>Evolved from “Hard” systems theory in the early 1970’s </li></ul><ul><li>Notable uses of Systems Thinking: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>National Health Service - UK - 1970’s </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Shell Group - 1980’s </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Cooum River Rehabilitation - India -1990’s </li></ul></ul>A Short History of Systems Thinking
    10. 14. Elements of Systems Thinking <ul><li>See the system as a process of inquiry </li></ul><ul><li>Understand system elements with the “CATWOE” framework </li></ul><ul><li>Find the “root definitions” of the problem </li></ul><ul><li>Create models of purposeful activity with Rich Mapping </li></ul>
    11. 15. The system is a process of enquiry ?
    12. 16. CATWOE <ul><li>C - Customers </li></ul><ul><li>A - Actors </li></ul><ul><li>T - Transformative Process </li></ul><ul><li>W - Worldview </li></ul><ul><li>O - Owners </li></ul><ul><li>E - Environmental Constraints </li></ul>
    13. 17. Customers <ul><li>The beneficiaries of “t” </li></ul>
    14. 18. Actors <ul><li>Those who would do “t” </li></ul>
    15. 19. Transformation Process <ul><li>“ t” - the conversion of input to output </li></ul>
    16. 20. Worldview <ul><li>The perspective that makes “t” meaningful in context </li></ul>
    17. 21. Owners <ul><li>Those who could stop “t” </li></ul>
    18. 22. Environmental Constraints <ul><li>Elements which define the limits of the system </li></ul>
    19. 23. Finding root definitions <ul><li>A description of a “human activity system” which describes how a transformative process will be undertaken and what is expected as a result. </li></ul><ul><li>Do X by Y to accomplish Z </li></ul>
    20. 24. Rich Mapping
    21. 25. Painting the house
    22. 26. CATWOE <ul><li>C - Homeowner </li></ul><ul><li>A - Homeowner </li></ul><ul><li>T - Unpainted house to painted house </li></ul><ul><li>W - Painting house will enhance appearance </li></ul><ul><li>O - Homeowner </li></ul><ul><li>E - Hand painting </li></ul>
    23. 27. <ul><li>A self-owned and manned system to paint a house, by conventional hand painting , in keeping with the overall decoration scheme of the property in order to enhance the visual appearance of the property . </li></ul>Root Definition A homeowner paints a house by hand to improve its appearance .
    24. 28. Rich Mapping
    25. 29. <ul><li>Illuminates the structures behind the structure </li></ul><ul><li>Helps to engage us in thinking about problem solving beyond just “requirements” </li></ul><ul><li>Helps us understand the context(s) in which we are delivering the appropriate IA to the client </li></ul>Why We Like Systems Thinking
    26. 30. <ul><li>Keep Systems Thinking simple by choosing basic tools for the initial inquiry </li></ul><ul><li>Iteratively evaluate CATWOE elements as the understanding of them evolves </li></ul><ul><li>Focus on where specific actions exist with respect to system layers </li></ul>Putting Systems Thinking to Use
    27. 31. <ul><li>The Client </li></ul><ul><li>Large financial services institution </li></ul><ul><li>Multiple P&L Silos </li></ul><ul><li>Complex stakeholder ecosystem </li></ul><ul><li>Distributed accountable-ism </li></ul><ul><li>Biggest perceived client challenge: “IA” </li></ul>Exploring Systems Thinking
    28. 32. <ul><li>The Agency </li></ul><ul><li>New office with little organizational history </li></ul><ul><li>Large, young IA team </li></ul><ul><li>Limited experience with large clients </li></ul><ul><li>Biggest perceived challenge: “Anticipating Changes in Client Needs” </li></ul>Exploring Systems Thinking
    29. 33. <ul><li>Used CATWOE framework to help define and model the system elements </li></ul><ul><li>Used Rich Mapping to model parts of the system relative to specific activities and to identify true stakeholder relationships and motivations </li></ul>How did we use Systems Thinking tools?
    30. 34. <ul><li>Modeling was not just focusing on actions but on layers </li></ul><ul><li>We defined four layers in the relevant system: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Engagement Level </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Project Level </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Site Level </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Feature Level </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Focused on identifying the relationships within the layers and between the layers </li></ul>Looking at the Layers of the System
    31. 35. <ul><li>CATWOE elements change between layers </li></ul><ul><li>CATWOE elements change within layers </li></ul><ul><li>CATWOE elements often do not reflect the formalized project structure. </li></ul>CATWOE Changes
    32. 36. Project Level System View The Activity System Monitoring Effectiveness Monitoring Efficiency
    33. 37. <ul><li>A business goal driven system to redesign and launch a web application through multi-team distributed collaboration , which fits within existing information technology and legal constraints and results in organic growth that meets specific business metrics . </li></ul>Root Definition
    34. 38. Project Level CATWOE <ul><li>C - E-Business Team </li></ul><ul><li>A - Internal Creative Team, IT, Business Owners, Product Owners, Agency </li></ul><ul><li>T - Build and launch new website </li></ul><ul><li>W - New website will better support business goals </li></ul><ul><li>O - CFO, IT </li></ul><ul><li>E - Geographic displacement, restrictions to onsite collaboration, competing business goals </li></ul>
    35. 39. Feature Level System View The System Monitoring Effectiveness Monitoring Efficiency Agency Action
    36. 40. <ul><li>Systems Thinking helps provide a valuable perspective to help frame IA work </li></ul><ul><li>The inquiry based nature of Systems Thinking helps keep design based initiatives on top of perceived changes to the system </li></ul><ul><li>Used on its own, Systems Thinking is not executional enough to effect system change </li></ul><ul><li>The core tools of Systems Thinking provide value to IAs even with limited use </li></ul>Lessons We’ve Learned
    37. 41. <ul><li>Using CATWOE to frame personas </li></ul><ul><ul><li>users as actors, business as customers </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Model different perspectives of a system </li></ul><ul><ul><li>How do different groups perceive W? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How do they perceive T? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Effect short-hand way of starting the conceptual modelling process </li></ul>Leveraging CATWOE
    38. 42. <ul><li>Systems </li></ul><ul><li>Experiences happen within systems </li></ul><ul><li>Systems thinking and conceptual models </li></ul>In conclusion…