Systems Practice in Engineering(SPiE): A Developing ResearchAgendaDr Mike YearworthReader in Systems, Faculty of Engineeri...
!  Overview•  What is Systems Thinking?•  Systems Centre, IDC in Systems and EngD in Systems programme•  Framing devices t...
!  Definitions                     3                 3
!  Definitions                     4                 4
!  Definitions SOFT    PEOPLE                                 SOCIAL                  Phil.                               ...
!  Definitions                       Design                       SOCIO-                     TECHNICAL                    ...
!  Definitions1.  “Viewing situations holistically, as opposed to    reductionistically (sic), as a set of diverse interac...
!  INCOSE SEASON Report 2009•  What is Systems Thinking…?   •  …a way of tackling complex problems. It complements      sc...
!  The Needs and Challenges for   Systems Thinking•  Brian Collins (EPSRC Systems Workshop   15th February 2011)•  Provoca...
!  Systems Research at Bristol¶                         Focus                         •  Leading in the application of sys...
!  IDC in Systems•  One of 19 Industrial Doctorate Centres in   the UK, funded by EPSRC•  Collaboration with the Universit...
Number	  of	  Company	  Sponsors	        37	  Companies	  with	  >1	  RE	              11	  Total	  Research	  Engineers	 ...
13
  Context for SE research  •  Systems Engineering requirements¶      •  Focussed on real engineering problems  impact    ...
  Potential conflict?•  Systems modelling of the systems research   process developed and reviewed  •    Research workshop...
16
  Kuhn vs. Popper –                       July            31st          1965 “…As science has acquired more secular power,...
  Observations    •  High impact, industry needs-driven research in       systems is in competition for resources and atte...
  “Agreed, intellectually           rigorous foundation…”    •  Brown¶ draws a related causal model       addressing acade...
  Rigour addressed•  Within the EngD Projects  •  Research Methods an essential component of the     EngD programme  •  In...
  Researching the programme                                   21                              21
  Existing research agenda•  Systems Practice in Engineering (SPiE)•  Safety Critical Systems and Risk•  Theory of Socio-T...
  Progress with EPSRC•  EPSRC Systems Engineering Research Group  •  Systems science through to engineering workshop –    ...
  EPSRC systems portfolio     descriptors•  Systems of systems        •  Systems science•  Systems design            •  Ho...
  “Burning Issues” – A          Developing Research Agenda        1. Systems Architecting               2. Interdisciplina...
  “Burning Issues” – A           Developing Research Agenda        3. Organisational Issues             4. Issues of Metho...
  Indicative REF Successes•  ~£646K Research Income from Industry through the EngD in   Systems Programme•  DAVIS, J., MAC...
  Indicative REF Successes•  Let’s not forget Impact…                                     28                              ...
!  Observations…1.  Systems theory and systems practice continuously    create each other  crucial point!2.  Pedagogy and...
Upcoming SlideShare
Loading in...5
×

Systems Practice in Engineering (SPiE)

1,192

Published on

Published in: Education
0 Comments
0 Likes
Statistics
Notes
  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

No Downloads
Views
Total Views
1,192
On Slideshare
0
From Embeds
0
Number of Embeds
1
Actions
Shares
0
Downloads
35
Comments
0
Likes
0
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide
  • Systems thinking research - principles and methodologies to grapple with complex real world problems Dr Mike Yearworth, Adrian Terry, Professor Patrick Godfrey, Dr Gordon Edwards Systems Centre, Faculty of Engineering, University of Bristol, UK ABSTRACT Topic – Systems thinking (see the INCOSE UK Z7 Guide) provides a common language for needs driven process integration. We take the thinking further and present the principles and methodologies used by the Systems Centre to integrate research processes drawn from fields as diverse as physical and social science, engineering, and business management, and use case examples to demonstrate how they can be applied in engineering systems where ‘soft’ institutional, cultural, people related and process integration barriers can be key drivers of complexity. Points – i) From recent work between Research Engineers and practitioners a unifying framework for highly effective systems thinking research has been developed founded on seven principles: purposefulness; balance of breadth and depth; harnessing diversity; clarifying boundaries; building confidence and momentum for change; communicating in the language of stakeholders; and stimulating further learning. ii) These principles underpin the development and teaching of practically oriented systems research methodologies by the Systems Centre, which allow problems associated with complex real-world systems to be addressed. iii) Industry partners are the Systems Centre stakeholders and each project undertaken by a Research Engineer is driven by stakeholder needs and guided by these principles and methodologies. iv) The Systems Centre now has 4 cohorts of Research Engineers comprising a total of 50 research projects with 30 companies covering a wide range of topics including sustainability, process improvement and decision support, safety, and new product development. These all have an emphasis on solving real world systems problems in a rigorous fashion in timescales appropriate to the needs of our industrial partners. Examples will be given to illustrate the approach. Keywords – Systems Research, Systems Thinking, Systems Engineering, Systems Practice, Holism, Purpose, Stakeholder Needs, Alignment, Research Methods, Pedagogy, Engineering Doctorate.
  • ASEC2010 INCOSE UK November 10th 2010 Copyright © 2010 by Dr Mike Yearworth. Published and used by INCOSE with permission.
  • The INCOSE UK chapter SEASON Report in 2009 provides a rationale for this work. From the executive summary and key axes of development we have two key requirements on academia. Rather than agonise over definitions we take the SEASON report definition of systems thinking and note results from research by Kate Gill § at Dstl. This takes a skill-set view rather than specific use of any particular methodology or knowledge base. In contrast to this skill set view I also regard knowledge of the breadth of contributions to systems thinking and awareness of different philosophical bases to systems methodologies as crucial. I also find the Mingers and White (2010) definition of systems thinking particularly useful “ Viewing the situation holistically, as opposed to reductionistically, as a set of diverse interacting elements within an environment. Recognising that the relationships or interactions between elements are more important than the elements themselves in determining the behaviour of the system. Recognising a hierarchy of levels of systems and the consequent ideas of properties emerging at different levels, and mutual causality both within and between levels. Accepting, especially in social systems, that people will act in accordance with differing purposes or rationalities. “ MINGERS, J. & WHITE, L. (2010) A review of the recent contribution of systems thinking to operational research and management science. European Journal of Operational Research, 207(3), pp. 1147-1161. § GILL, K. (2009) Systems Thinking or Systems Engineering. 7th Annual Conference on Systems Engineering Research (CSER 2009). Loughborough, UK. ASEC2010 INCOSE UK November 10th 2010 Copyright © 2010 by Dr Mike Yearworth. Published and used by INCOSE with permission.
  • ASEC2010 INCOSE UK November 10th 2010 Copyright © 2010 by Dr Mike Yearworth. Published and used by INCOSE with permission.
  • ASEC2010 INCOSE UK November 10th 2010 Copyright © 2010 by Dr Mike Yearworth. Published and used by INCOSE with permission.
  • ASEC2010 INCOSE UK November 10th 2010 Copyright © 2010 by Dr Mike Yearworth. Published and used by INCOSE with permission.
  • Systems engineering research impacts the final solution and its final achievement. Valuable research activity should not confirm itself to to a ‘business as usual’ outcome. Instead, according to Henshaw etal 7 the researcher’s role is to:   Conduct research in the context of real engineering problems; Exploit their findings through skills development, new processes, templates or enhancement of the systems engineering ‘toolkit’ Express the problem as a generic type (or class) so the outputs have generic applicability. They go on to assert that it is the role of the systems engineer to take the findings of SE research and apply it to the specific problems at hand not that of the researcher. This purposeful, impactful view of research yields implications for the way that research, societal and industrial communities may benefit from research activity as the diagram on the next slide shows.   Traditionally, research activity has been assessed by such factors as citations, peer esteem, conference and paper performance criteria. In contrast, the purposeful view put forward earlier explores impact in terms of: Developing the ‘systems thinking’ pedagogy – leading to greater understanding and education of researchers and practitioners. Direct impact through the context of real engineering problems. Development of the engineering ‘toolkit’ for wider communication and impact release.   To enable reliable foundations for these benefits to be accrued a strong platform of ‘systems engineering research principles’ needs to be applied. This is a gap which the Bristol Systems Centre has been exploring. ASEC2010 INCOSE UK November 10th 2010 Copyright © 2010 by Dr Mike Yearworth. Published and used by INCOSE with permission.
  • As a result of applying systems thinking to our ourselves we wanted to explore apparent conflict between the impact agenda, which is clearly a major driver of the programme, and the requirement to satisfy the needs of traditional academic research - what might be caricatured as “papers out money in” in the “academic system”. The initial model was developed by Yearworth and then used in various workshops within the systems centre and the university. Academic structures within universities have emerged broadly in line with the distillation of the disciplines from the process of the Enlightenment and the strong belief in the rationality of science. So a way of thinking that developed in the 18 th Century has given us the predominant reductionist way of looking at the world. The structures within a university inhibit systemic thought, work against taking a holistic approach to the needs of society. The emergence of institutions in the UK such as the Royal Society led to the development of the academic peer-review process which is now embodied in deciding what is published (peer reviewed journals), what research is valid and funded (by funding bodies), what research is considered excellent (the HEFCE REF), and, perhaps most crucially for the individual, what will be rewarded by academic advancement. At its most fundamental a research idea/area/topic will die out without the means to keep it resourced with people to do the research. ASEC2010 INCOSE UK November 10th 2010 Copyright © 2010 by Dr Mike Yearworth. Published and used by INCOSE with permission.
  • The bottom half of the model is this traditional academic model. The upper part is specific to systems research, although might be considered as generic for any discipline that has needs-driven impact as its agenda. The model is yet to be refined, there are no balancing loops. The conflict is only apparent when we consider the resources necessary to fuel the loops, or think of it as attention. If attention is on the traditional then the needs driven agenda will suffer, and vice versa. What can be done to intervene in this system? Clearly a change in peer review is needed to move towards a holistic needs-driven approach – but this flies in the face of more than 150 years of measuring and funding research the ‘traditional’ way. However, the CSR and the Browne report may shake things up. Also, national needs such as responding to the challenge of climate change may elevate the needs-driven agenda sufficiently to subjugate the traditional academic processes. ASEC2010 INCOSE UK November 10th 2010 Copyright © 2010 by Dr Mike Yearworth. Published and used by INCOSE with permission.
  • In fact the model mostly confirms Kuhn’s thesis - KUHN, T. S. (1962) The structure of scientific revolutions, Chicago ; London, University of Chicago Press. This book by Fuller provides a neat summary in turn based on a quote from Merton. ASEC2010 INCOSE UK November 10th 2010 Copyright © 2010 by Dr Mike Yearworth. Published and used by INCOSE with permission.
  • The archetype is interesting. It explains why things like String Theory research in Physics can emerge and dominate a discipline. More on this… Loops R3 and R4 must operate together, neither one by themselves for systems research is enough. ASEC2010 INCOSE UK November 10th 2010 Copyright © 2010 by Dr Mike Yearworth. Published and used by INCOSE with permission.
  • ASEC2010 INCOSE UK November 10th 2010 Copyright © 2010 by Dr Mike Yearworth. Published and used by INCOSE with permission.
  • What is the value of systems thinking in engineering? 130 Person Years of experience waiting to be analysed; and growing at ~50 PYr/Yr - that’s just within the RE population. Questions we might ask of the data What is the new body of knowledge in systems thinking that has been generated through the EngD Programme? What are the new theories? How do we use the current EngD Programme to generate the need for more fundamental systems research? How do we quantify the industry impact of the EngD Programme and how do we communicate that value to funding bodies and policy makers to persuade them to grow systems research capability? ASEC2010 INCOSE UK November 10th 2010 Copyright © 2010 by Dr Mike Yearworth. Published and used by INCOSE with permission.
  • ASEC2010 INCOSE UK November 10th 2010 Copyright © 2010 by Dr Mike Yearworth. Published and used by INCOSE with permission.
  • Systems Practice in Engineering (SPiE)

    1. 1. Systems Practice in Engineering(SPiE): A Developing ResearchAgendaDr Mike YearworthReader in Systems, Faculty of Engineering1st March 2011
    2. 2. !  Overview•  What is Systems Thinking?•  Systems Centre, IDC in Systems and EngD in Systems programme•  Framing devices to explore systems complexity and research directions•  The context for Systems Engineering research and challenges•  The Systems Research Programme   Explore issues arising from needs-driven research   Demonstrate an intellectually rigorous basis for research exists   Describe the existing research programme and activities   Present a set of “Burning Issues” a developing research agenda   Indicative successes•  Conclusions 2 2
    3. 3. !  Definitions 3 3
    4. 4. !  Definitions 4 4
    5. 5. !  Definitions SOFT PEOPLE SOCIAL Phil. SYSTEMS Soc. Edu. Mgmt. Systems SOCIO- Research TECHNICAL SYSTEMS Focus TECHNICAL SYSTEMS HARD THINGS CS/IT Mech Aero Civil E/E 5 5
    6. 6. !  Definitions Design SOCIO- TECHNICAL SYSTEMSIntervention Analysis Integration 1.  Research Methods 2.  Modelling/Simulation Systems 3.  Systems Engineering Thinking 4.  Problem Structuring Methods (PSMs) 5.  Leading/Managing Change 6 6
    7. 7. !  Definitions1.  “Viewing situations holistically, as opposed to reductionistically (sic), as a set of diverse interacting elements within an environment.2.  Recognising that the relationships or interactions between elements are more important than the elements themselves in determining the behaviour of the system.3.  Recognising a hierarchy of levels of systems and the consequent ideas of properties emerging at different levels, and mutual causality both within and between levels.4.  Accepting, especially in social systems, that people will act in accordance with differing purposes or rationalities.”(Mingers and White, 2010) 7 7
    8. 8. !  INCOSE SEASON Report 2009•  What is Systems Thinking…? •  …a way of tackling complex problems. It complements scientific thinking by addressing holism, emergence and intentionality (Stakeholders and the “Human in the System”)•  Executive Summary (extract) •  There is a need to improve the standing, recognition and reputation of Systems Engineering in academia•  Key Axes of Development (extract) •  Improve the Academic profile of Systems Engineering and Systems Thinking by setting out an agreed, intellectually rigorous foundation for the discipline 8 8
    9. 9. !  The Needs and Challenges for Systems Thinking•  Brian Collins (EPSRC Systems Workshop 15th February 2011)•  Provocations:- •  New ways of thinking, deciding and gathering evidence •  Education in decision making and problem solving •  Understanding emergence •  Understanding complexity of decisions and time taken •  Value of modelling and synthetic environments 9 9
    10. 10. !  Systems Research at Bristol¶ Focus •  Leading in the application of systems thinking to create value within socio-technical complexity Scope •  Faculties of Engineering AND Social Sciences and Law Industry Benefits •  High impact research developing solutions for complex problems •  Competitive advantage •  Motivate and develop future leaders of industry¶ http://www.bristol.ac.uk/eng-systems-centre/index.html 10 10
    11. 11. !  IDC in Systems•  One of 19 Industrial Doctorate Centres in the UK, funded by EPSRC•  Collaboration with the University of Bath•  Part of the Systems Centre at the University of Bristol•  Founder member of the Association of Engineering Doctorates (AEngD) 11 11
    12. 12. Number  of  Company  Sponsors   37  Companies  with  >1  RE   11  Total  Research  Engineers   62  Employed  REs   17%   25% 41% 13% 21% Product/technology development Sustainability Decision support Process development/ organisational change 12 12
    13. 13. 13
    14. 14.   Context for SE research •  Systems Engineering requirements¶ •  Focussed on real engineering problems  impact •  Findings exploited through skills development, new processes, templates, enhancements of the SE ‘toolkit’ •  Express the problem such that outputs have generic applicability in SE •  Academic ‘system’ requirements •  Alignment within the major processes that operate in academia  Peer Review: grant applications, publication, research excellence (REF), success within university structures¶ HENSHAW, M. J., GUNTON, D.J., URWIN, E.N. (2009) Collaborative, academic-industryresearch approach for advancing Systems Engineering. 7th Annual Conference on SystemsEngineering Research (CSER 2009). Loughborough, UK. 14 14
    15. 15.   Potential conflict?•  Systems modelling of the systems research process developed and reviewed •  Research workshop with REs in the Systems Centre •  Systems Centre SAB •  Systems Research Group at Bristol •  TTCP workshop •  Pro VC Research •  EngD Centre Directors Advocates •  EPSRC Team forming the Systems Forum •  INCOSE •  CSER 15 15
    16. 16. 16
    17. 17.   Kuhn vs. Popper – July 31st 1965 “…As science has acquired more secular power, it has tended towards the self-perpetuation of existing regimes, as dominant research programmes are pursued by default, a situation that the sociologist Robert Merton has dignified as the ‘principle of cumulative advantage’… all scientists working in the same paradigm are equal, but some are more equal than others. These are the ‘peers’ whose opinion always seems to matter in the ‘peer review process’ used to fund and evaluate scientific research…the acculturation of novices into a scientific paradigm, since thereafter the novice’s mind is set to plough the deep but narrow furrow laid down by her senior colleagues as normal science”¶ FULLER, S. (2006) Kuhn vs Popper : the struggle for the soul of science, Thriplow, Icon. 17 17
    18. 18.   Observations •  High impact, industry needs-driven research in systems is in competition for resources and attention with ‘traditional’ academic research •  Systems research requires practical application and pedagogical development to take place simultaneously •  Systems research in engineering lacks coherency and is widely diffuse •  Systems theory and systems practice continuously create each other§§Checkland, P. (1999) Soft Systems Methodology: a 30-year retrospective. Summary 18notes of plenary address to 1999 system dynamics conference. 18
    19. 19.   “Agreed, intellectually rigorous foundation…” •  Brown¶ draws a related causal model addressing academic reputation of SE research •  Methodology as a “process”, not contributing to methodological literature i.e. lacks a critical stance •  Lack of intellectual rigour undermines SE research as a credible academic discipline¶BROWN, S. F. (2009) Naivety in Systems Engineering Research: are we putting themethodological cart before the philosophical horse? 7th Annual Conference on SystemsEngineering Research (CSER 2009). Loughborough, UK. 19 19
    20. 20.   Rigour addressed•  Within the EngD Projects •  Research Methods an essential component of the EngD programme •  Increased emphasis on publication, quality of publication and target conferences/journals•  Across the EngD Programme •  Contribution to methodology development within SE research •  Access to a large data set! •  Broad scope of research questions •  Definition of a new and developing research agenda 20 20
    21. 21.   Researching the programme 21 21
    22. 22.   Existing research agenda•  Systems Practice in Engineering (SPiE)•  Safety Critical Systems and Risk•  Theory of Socio-Technical Interactions•  Performance of Complex Socio-Technical Systems – Process Improvement and Decision Support•  Sustainable Systems 22 22
    23. 23.   Progress with EPSRC•  EPSRC Systems Engineering Research Group •  Systems science through to engineering workshop – 15 February 2011 •  Showcasing EPSRC’s portfolio in systems research •  Bringing together researchers and users from different areas of systems to promote knowledge transfer and to identify any generic systems research needs and opportunities •  Exploring where the UK is well positioned to lead and benefit from systems research in an international context 23 23
    24. 24.   EPSRC systems portfolio descriptors•  Systems of systems •  Systems science•  Systems design •  Holistic systems•  Coordination of systems •  Human Integration•  Interacting systems •  Systems operation•  Whole systems •  Dynamic systemsapproach •  Technical systems•  Embedded systems •  Emergent properties•  Systems thinking •  Emergent Behaviour•  Systems Engineering   285 Grants/£220M•  Systems Integration   large grant portfolio 3@UoB 24 24
    25. 25.   “Burning Issues” – A Developing Research Agenda 1. Systems Architecting 2. Interdisciplinary and Knowledge Value Chain Issues1.  A Systems Approach to Engineering 1.  Understanding Organisational Design Structures and Identifying Key2.  Designing for Appropriate Functionality Expertise and to Deliver Value 2.  Coping with Change, Interoperability3.  Using Complexity Science to Inform and Through-life Issues Engineering 3.  Systems Approaches for the Effective4.  How to Enable Effective Concurrency Management of Data 4.  Development of Model-based Systems Engineering Approaches for Management of Knowledge 5.  Dealing With Lack of Hard Knowledge 6.  Integrating Engineering Perspectives: The “-ilities” 25 25
    26. 26.   “Burning Issues” – A Developing Research Agenda 3. Organisational Issues 4. Issues of Methodology, Ethics and Pedagogy1.  Systems Failures Resulting from 1.  Application of Knowledge to Tailor Cultural and Socio-Technical Failures Generic Systems Approach2.  Stretched Goals, Budgets, Schedules 2.  Systems Engineering Methodology and and Resources Tools3.  Systems Engineering and 3.  Development of Interdisciplinarity and Organisations Soft Systems Approaches 4.  Systems Pedagogy – From Primary to4.  Re-engineering Organisational Tertiary Education Approaches to Enhance Collaboration 5.  Recognition of Systems Engineering as a Serious Discipline in Academia 6.  Behavioural and Psychological Barriers to the Use of Systems Thinking 7.  Interdisciplinarity and Ethics 8.  The Value of Systems Engineering and 26 Benchmarks for Excellence 26
    27. 27.   Indicative REF Successes•  ~£646K Research Income from Industry through the EngD in Systems Programme•  DAVIS, J., MACDONALD, A. & WHITE, L. (2010) Problem- structuring methods and project management: an example of stakeholder involvement using Hierarchical Process Modelling methodology. Journal of the Operational Research Society, 61(6), pp. 893-904. [4*]•  PREIST, C. & YEARWORTH, M. - SYMPACT: Tools for assessing the systemic impact of technology deployments on energy use and climate emissions (EP/EP/I000151/1) (TEDDI call Part 1) [£332K / 2 years]•  TRYFONAS, T – Forensics Tools Against Illegal Use of the Internet (ForToo) (ISEC 2010 action grants) [€256K / 3 years] 27 27
    28. 28.   Indicative REF Successes•  Let’s not forget Impact… 28 28
    29. 29. !  Observations…1.  Systems theory and systems practice continuously create each other  crucial point!2.  Pedagogy and systems research must develop simultaneously  very short time constant3.  Conflicts exist between the “university system” and the best way to develop systems research in engineering  cf management schools4.  Developing intellectual rigour in methodology, a new focus on quality of published output, and researching our own programme offer a pragmatic way forward  hence SPiE5.  Defined research agenda  huge space, needs funding, we need to take a significant share! 29 29
    1. A particular slide catching your eye?

      Clipping is a handy way to collect important slides you want to go back to later.

    ×