What is this sustainability thing 1

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A presentation by Jenni Goricanec for Swinburne University 24th August 2011

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  • e.g. System Depth First Order - superficiality (passive), synoptic idealism (active) Second Order – Monothematic Dogmatism If we don’t respond in this way then we can end up with maladaptations: System Progression e.g. First Order Segmentation (Passive), Authoritarianism (Active) and Second Order – Stalemate Lateral Coordination – Dissociation (passive), Evangelicism (active) and Second Order - Polarisation
  • What is this sustainability thing 1

    1. 1. What is this “Sustainability Thing”? Jenni Goricanec @ Swinburne University 24 th August 2011
    2. 2. Outline <ul><ul><li>my thesis and my position </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>and sustainability, engineering, context </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>and past, present, future </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>and innovation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>and philosophy, transformation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>and methodology </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>and propositions for engineering </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Each considered for its implications for practice </li></ul><ul><li>This “and…and…and…” form – a post-structural logic of difference, perspectives and fragments (Usher [1]) </li></ul>
    3. 3. Towards Creating Sustaining Futures: a philosophy of (engineering) practice for the 21 st Century <ul><li>This philosophy emerges from an understanding of the nature of our predicament </li></ul><ul><li>Some deep questions are: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>What is it that we are trying to sustain? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How do we choose good sustaining answers, ones that will become real? </li></ul></ul>
    4. 4. I accept that humans have effected the natural processes of the world <ul><li>My practice focuses on: </li></ul><ul><li>Enhancing the sustainability of human systems </li></ul><ul><li>Through working with people </li></ul><ul><ul><li>to break out of cognitive silos </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>orienting towards the “pull” of future intentions while taking into account the “push” of past habits and “best practice” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>with the whole problem systemically in all its inter-disciplinary complexity </li></ul></ul>
    5. 5. Start with a human system (artefacts e.g. dams)
    6. 6. Getting to the artefact
    7. 7. The project to build the artefact “sits” within an open system
    8. 8. This combination of relations is socio-ecological (Emery & Trist [2])
    9. 9. Highly interconnected… Our systems, networks, processes and organisations, developed with a causal logic have become over time deeply enmeshed in a ‘cats-cradle of interconnections’ with behaviour ‘driven by interactions between optimising, but confused, agents’ (Haldane [3]).
    10. 10. Turbulence: an important emergent property of the causal texture <ul><li>dynamics emerge, not only from the interactions of identifiable component systems, but also from the environment itself </li></ul><ul><li>systems within the environment become related to each other, and form novel interdependencies </li></ul><ul><li>dynamic social & natural environmental field pressures emerge as an unplanned consequence of the actions of constituent systems and reverberate through the extended social & natural environmental field </li></ul><ul><li>the resulting increased complexity, and the unexpected directionality of causal interconnections, produces increased relevant uncertainty about the requirements for adaptation </li></ul><ul><li>(Emery[4], Baburoglu[5,6], Emery & Trist[7]) </li></ul>
    11. 11. Shift in causal texture  responses need to shift <ul><li>from </li></ul><ul><li>disturbed, reactive </li></ul><ul><li>operations (a planned series of tactical initiatives) </li></ul><ul><li>take into account – internal, “inputs” & “outputs” </li></ul><ul><li>equivalent of CHESS </li></ul><ul><li>to </li></ul><ul><li>turbulent </li></ul><ul><li>active adaptive planning (high levels of relevant uncertainty) </li></ul><ul><li>take into account all 4 possible relations </li></ul><ul><li>equivalent of GO </li></ul>
    12. 12. Engineering <ul><li>Following the creative drive and proud history of serving the survival needs of humanity </li></ul><ul><li>Now serve the collective survival needs of the world </li></ul><ul><li>Striving to create what can be </li></ul>Engineering as creating what can be, consistent with collective goals
    13. 13. Response? <ul><li>‘ a whole package…of incommensurate aspects…one single predicament, which no matter how tangled, has to be tackled at once’ (Latour [8]) </li></ul><ul><li>This all-at-once-ness requires different practices </li></ul>
    14. 14. Creating an escape from our labyrinthine, turbulent predicament Engineering <ul><li>Follow the proto-typical engineer Daedalus in escaping from the labyrinth. </li></ul>
    15. 15. Directive Correlation (Sommerhof [9])
    16. 16. Directive Correlation <ul><li>Responses available for dealing with emergent environmental circumstances (passive form) </li></ul><ul><li>Co-evolution – track the system of causal relations, seeking to identify emergent properties and allowing these emergent circumstances to determine the kinds of responses that will be adaptive (active form). </li></ul>The appropriate method for engineering a living, open system is active adaptive engineering, using foresight to create desirable and feasible futures (or outcomes) for the system as a whole
    17. 17. Latour [8]
    18. 18. Engineering practitioners making heterogeneous connections Engineering organising a sustaining technological world; becoming broader, more transdisciplinary, dissolving boundaries
    19. 19. Philosophical questions <ul><li>George Monbiot (writer in The Guardian ) [11] </li></ul><ul><li>&quot;The real issues are not technical or economic. The crisis we face demands a profound philosophical discussion, a reappraisal of who we are and what progress means” and </li></ul><ul><li>“ Debating these matters makes us neither saints nor communists; it shows only that we have understood the science” </li></ul>
    20. 20. Framing  Methodology <ul><li>A realignment of the whole engineering system </li></ul><ul><li>Cannot be done within the frame of reference of the discipline </li></ul><ul><li>‘ we can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them’ (Einstein, similar idea – Bateson [12], Godel) </li></ul><ul><li>‘ a corrective change in the system of sets of alternatives from which choice is made’ (Bateson [12]) </li></ul>
    21. 21. Framing  Methodology <ul><li>“ Transformation happens less by arguing cogently for something new than by generating active, ongoing practices that shift a culture’s experience of reality” (Zander & Zander [13]) </li></ul>
    22. 22. Method/Practice Assemblage <ul><li>Wicked problems (Conklin [14]; Rittel [15]) </li></ul><ul><li>Generative flux (Law [28]) </li></ul><ul><li>Reflexive practice </li></ul><ul><li>Object-oriented philosophy (Harman [16] describes Latour’s work this way) where the reality of science (and engineering) events in the material world are transformed into scientific knowledge and through this process of coming together, reciprocally transform both the material and human worlds (including the researcher) ( This though is not what we normally teach as science or engineering ) </li></ul><ul><li>Process Philosophy (Whitehead [17]) </li></ul>
    23. 23. Method/Practice Assemblage <ul><li>Searching (Emery) </li></ul><ul><li>Empirical work </li></ul><ul><li>Abduction (Peirce [18]) </li></ul><ul><li>Emergence (Bedau & Humphreys [20], Johnson, Lewin) </li></ul><ul><li>Action Research (Checkland & Holwell [19]) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Short Cycle – producing outputs </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Long Cycle – producing outcomes </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>(Bateson [12], Checkland & Holwell [19]) </li></ul></ul>
    24. 25. What emerges? Propositions for engineering <ul><li>Engineering as creating what can be, consistent with collective goals </li></ul><ul><li>Creating an escape from our labyrinthine, turbulent predicament </li></ul><ul><li>The appropriate method for engineering a living, open system is active adaptive engineering, using foresight to create desirable and feasible futures (or outcomes) for the system as a whole </li></ul><ul><li>Engineering practitioners making heterogeneous connections </li></ul><ul><li>Engineering organising a sustaining technological world; becoming broader, more transdisciplinary, dissolving boundaries </li></ul><ul><li>Using Active Adaptive Planning to re-conceptualise engineering </li></ul><ul><li>Sustaining futures for our living ecosystems embedded in engineering outcomes, processes and evolution </li></ul><ul><li>Towards a sustaining contextual poetry of engineering practice </li></ul>
    25. 26. More… <ul><li>The Sustainability Thing @ www.thesustainabilitything.com.au </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Thesis (in Docs Tab) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Project (in Project Tab) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>LinkedIn </li></ul><ul><ul><li>about Jenni Goricanec </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Powerpoint Pack </li></ul><ul><ul><li>http://www.slideshare.net/jennigoricanec/what-is-this-sustainability-thing-1-8969743 </li></ul></ul>
    26. 27. Sustainability Thing <ul><li>A “gathering” </li></ul><ul><li>The Ding of Scandinavian parliaments public assembly (&….) </li></ul><ul><li>Whatever is or may be an object of thought </li></ul>
    27. 28. Sustainability Thing <ul><li>Human – Brundtland (UN [23]) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Triple Bottom Line </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Four Pillars </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Eco-system – Deep Ecology (Naess [24]) </li></ul><ul><li>Sustaining or strengthening our environment – Natural Capitalism (Hawken [26], Hawken, Lovins A & H [27]), Biomimicry (Benyus [25]) </li></ul><ul><li>What is it that we would sustain? </li></ul>
    28. 29. References <ul><li>1. Usher, R. and R.G. Edwards, Subjects, networks and positions: Thinking educational guidance differently. British Journal of Guidance & Counselling, 2005. 33 (3): p. 397 - 410. </li></ul><ul><li>2. Emery, F. and E. Trist, Towards a Social Ecology: Contextual Appreciations of the Future in the Present . 1973, New York: Plenum Publishing Corporation. </li></ul><ul><li>3. Haldane, A. Rethinking the financial network . 2009 [cited 2011 26 July]. </li></ul><ul><li>4. Emery, F., The Case Study Method . 1963, The Tavistock Institute, Unpublished Working Paper, Number 265: London. </li></ul><ul><li>5. Baburoglu, O.N., A Theory of Stalemated Social Systems and Vortical Organisational Environments: The Turkish Experience and Beyond . 1987, University of Pennsylvania: Philadelphia. </li></ul><ul><li>6. Baburoglu, O.N., The vortical environment: the fifth in the Emery-Trist levels of organisational environments. Human Relations, 1988. 41 (3): p. 181-210. </li></ul><ul><li>7. Emery, F. and E. Trist, The causal texture of organisational environments. Human Relations, 1965. 18 (1): p. 21 - 32. </li></ul><ul><li>8. Latour, B., Pandora's Hope - Essays on the Reality of Science Studies . 1999, Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press. </li></ul><ul><li>9. Sommerhoff, G., The Abstract Characteristics of Living Things , in Systems Thinking: Selected Readings , F.E. Emery, Editor. 1969, Penguin Books: Harmondsworth. </li></ul>
    29. 30. References <ul><li>10. Sommerhoff, G ., Hierarchies of goals and subgoals, in Systems Thinking, F.E. Emery, Editor. 1981, Penguin: Harmondsworth. p. 147-202. </li></ul><ul><li>11. Monbiot, G., This crisis demands a reappraisal of who we are and what progress means , in The Guardian, http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2007/dec/04/comment.politics 2007: London, UK. </li></ul><ul><li>12. Bateson, G., The Logical Categories of Learning and Communication , in Steps to an Ecology of Mind , G. Bateson, Editor. 1972, University of Chicago Press: Chicago and London. p. 279-308. </li></ul><ul><li>13. Zander, R.S. and B. Zander, The Art of Possibility: Transforming Professional and Personal Life . 2000, Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Press. </li></ul><ul><li>14. Conklin, E.J., Wicked Problems and Social Complexity . 2001: http://cognexus.org/wpf/wickedproblems.pdf Accessed 9th October 2007. </li></ul><ul><li>15. Rittel, H., Second Generation Design Methods. Interview in Design Methods Group, 5th Anniversary Report, DMG Occasional Paper 1, 1972: p. 5-10. </li></ul><ul><li>16. Harman, G., Prince of Networks: Bruno Latour and Metaphysics . 2009, Melbourne: re.press. </li></ul><ul><li>17. Whitehead, A.N., Process and Reality: an essay in cosmology , New York: Free Press. </li></ul><ul><li>18. Peirce, C.S., The Essential Peirce: Selected Philosophical Writings, Vol 2 (1893 - 1913) . The Peirce Edition Project, ed. 1998, Bloomington: Indiana University Press. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>. </li></ul></ul>
    30. 31. References <ul><li>19. Checkland, P. and S. Holwell, Information, Systems and Information Systems. 1998, Chichester: Wiley. </li></ul><ul><li>Bedau, M.A. and P. Humphreys, eds. Emergence: Contemporary Readings in Philosophy and Science. 2008, MIT Press: Cambridge, Massachusetts; London, England </li></ul><ul><li>21. Johnson, S.B., Emergence: The Connected Lives of Ants, Brains, Cities and Software. 2001, New York, NY: Scribner. </li></ul><ul><li>22. Lewin, R., Complexity: Life at the Edge of Chaos. 1992, New York: Macmillan Publishing. </li></ul><ul><li>23. Bruntland, G., Our common future. 1987, The World Commission on Environment and Development, published by Oxford University Press: Oxford. </li></ul><ul><li>24. Naess, A., Deep ecology for the 22nd century. The Trumpeter, 1992. 9(2): p. 53-60. </li></ul><ul><li>25. Benyus, J., Biomimicry. 1997, New York: William Morrow and Company. </li></ul><ul><li>26. Hawken, P., The Ecology of Commerce: A Declaration of Sustainability. 1993, London: Pheonix. </li></ul><ul><li>Hawken, P., A. Lovins, and H. Lovins, Natural Capitalism: The next industrial revolution. 1999, New York: Earthscan. </li></ul><ul><li>Law, J., After Method: Mess in Social Science. 2004, Oxon: Routledge </li></ul>

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