Open- Closed Systems in innovation projects@ UK Systems Society Conference 2009
Comparing the application of Closed and Open Systems approaches
in innovation project management
Maria Kapsali Ph.D.
Materials and methods Conclusions
Open Systems thinking is underutilized in
The method is two embedded multiple cases based on semi-structured interviews and qualitative content analysis. Each case
project management. 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 There are no specific metrics to measure
This study compares the application of causal connections and because multiple cases can be regarded as generalizable as multiple experiments. The study investigated causal connectedness between minimum
the causal connectedness between policy implementation instruments and project management practices..
Closed and Open Systems thinking critical specifications/boundary
in innovation projects to discover: management and managerial/project tasks.
EU eHealth Policy AIDMAN
Figure 1: Pictorial EURODONOR
a) If Open Systems thinking is useful to EU AR Policy
representation of the concept
More specific metrics are needed.
National eHealth eTEN projects
National AR Policies MEDASHIP
the management of innovation National Project 1
EARSS Project of embedded multiple case
projects and National Project 2 studies. The EARSS case on NIVEMES
National Project 3
Project Management the left and the eTEN case TELE-REMEDY
Propositions to proceed:
b) if it is useful, then how it is practiced on the right with all their
and what the outcomes are. Public Health Infrastructure
Public Health Infrastructure
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.
Literature says Results Therefore, managerial agency should be
The application of Open Systems thinking The first case (EARSS) shows that by using included in a generic Open Systems model.
in empirical studies is inhibited by the an Open Systems approach a project
lack of constructs that are easily achieves most of its goals, attributed to: 2.. The way to develop more specific metrics is
operationalizable and measurable. 1. The flexibility in decision making to to explore causal connectedness between
adjust plans and activities environment and managerial agency (e.g.
Solution: create generic measurable Open 2. Managing the internal and external using constructs like Relationality and
Systems constructs through studying metrics such as openness and coupling).
systemic properties like causal 3. The alignment of strategic goals with
3. Causal maps and logic models can be used as
connectedness. project activities. tools to explore connectedness. Then
metrics can be crafted.
The second case (eTEN) shows that under a
Closed System approach a project: 4. Further research into different types of
Literature says . ,
1. Does not have the flexibility to manage projects in order to see different variations
The current application of Systems change due to the focus on controlling of this generic approach.
Open Systems thinking was practiced in project
thinking is performance, goal and the production process.
management through minimum critical 5. Further research to understand which success
problem-solving oriented in production 2. This leads to weak leadership and in-
specifications and boundary management. factors can complement the Open Systems
processes and interrelationships. group problems.
3. Because of buffering the system and
CLOSED systems control standardizing boundary management, the
complexity in and out of the system project managers could not deal with Causal
complexity at the user level. between policy
OPEN systems adjust to complexity implementation For further information
with internal mechanisms and boundary The results in Table 1 show that an Open instruments and For information on this subject, to share ideas for related
management Systems approach is more useful for projects and papers, or to request an electronic version
management please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or
projects of high complexity and practices.. email@example.com. The full article can be
Project management practice mostly uncertainty like innovation projects. obtained in the 25th anniversary issue of the Systemist.
follows a Closed Systems approach Original Thinking Applied
Basic construct to measure causal connectedness was