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<ul><li>Introduction </li></ul><ul><li>Open Systems thinking is underutilized in project management. </li></ul><ul><li>This study compares the application of Closed and Open Systems thinking in innovation projects to discover: </li></ul><ul><li>If Open Systems thinking is useful to the management of innovation projects and </li></ul><ul><li>if it is useful, then how it is practiced and what the outcomes are. </li></ul>Results Maria Kapsali Ph.D. Literature says The application of Open Systems thinking in empirical studies is inhibited by the lack of constructs that are easily operationalizable and measurable. Solution : create generic measurable Open Systems constructs through studying systemic properties like causal connectedness. <ul><li>The first case (EARSS) shows that by using an Open Systems approach a project achieves most of its goals, attributed to: </li></ul><ul><li>The flexibility in decision making to adjust plans and activities </li></ul><ul><li>Managing the internal and external boundaries . </li></ul><ul><li>The alignment of strategic goals with project activities. </li></ul><ul><li>The second case (eTEN) shows that under a Closed System approach a project: </li></ul><ul><li>Does not have the flexibility to manage change due to the focus on controlling the production process. </li></ul><ul><li>This leads to weak leadership and in-group problems. </li></ul><ul><li>Because of buffering the system and standardizing boundary management, the project managers could not deal with complexity at the user level. </li></ul><ul><li>The results in Table 1 show that an Open Systems approach is more useful for projects of high complexity and uncertainty like innovation projects . </li></ul>For further information For information on this subject, to share ideas for related projects and papers, or to request an electronic version please contact [email_address] or [email_address] . The full article can be obtained in the 25 th anniversary issue of the Systemist. . , Comparing the application of Closed and Open Systems approaches in innovation project management Literature says The current application of Systems thinking is performance, goal and problem-solving oriented in production processes and interrelationships. CLOSED systems control complexity in and out of the system OPEN systems adjust to complexity with internal mechanisms and boundary management Project management practice mostly follows a Closed Systems approach Open Systems thinking was practiced in project management through minimum critical specifications and boundary management. Materials and methods The method is two embedded multiple cases based on semi-structured interviews and qualitative content analysis. Each case consists of several subcases: the first one (EARSS) consists of 3 subcases and the second (eTEN) consists of 9 subcases, making a total of 12 cases. This unit of analysis is chosen because multiple cases are suitable for explanatory studies, when investigating causal connections and because multiple cases can be regarded as generalizable as multiple experiments. The study investigated the causal connectedness between policy implementation instruments and project management practices. . Original Thinking Applied Conclusions Propositions to proceed: 1. In order to develop an Open Systems generic model we need to create a management focused model . The input –transformation-output model can only help us to manage efficiency through operational metrics. Therefore, managerial agency should be included in a generic Open Systems model. 2.. The way to develop more specific metrics is to explore causal connectedness between environment and managerial agency (e.g. using constructs like Relationality and metrics such as openness and coupling). 3. Causal maps and logic models can be used as tools to explore connectedness. Then metrics can be crafted. 4. Further research into different types of projects in order to see different variations of this generic approach. 5. Further research to understand which success factors can complement the Open Systems approach. There are no specific metrics to measure causal connectedness between minimum critical specifications/boundary management and managerial/project tasks. More specific metrics are needed. Basic construct to measure causal connectedness was Relationality National Project 1 National Project 2 National Project 3 Causal connectedness between policy implementation instruments and project management practices. . EARSS Project EU AR Policy National AR Policies Project Management Public Health Infrastructure eTEN projects AIDMAN EURODONOR EVITAL IREMMA MEDASHIP MEDICATE MED-CONTINENT NIVEMES TELE-REMEDY EU eHealth Policy National eHealth Policies Project Management Public Health Infrastructure Figure 1: Pictorial representation of the concept of embedded multiple case studies. The EARSS case on the left and the eTEN case on the right with all their subcases.