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Philosophical Insights in System Modelling
: Application to the Field of Innovation Systems

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  • 1. Philosophical Insights in System Modelling : Application to the Field of Innovation Systems Key words: system dynamics, philosophy, mental model, regional innovation system UngKyu Han Dr. Martin Kunc 5th April 2011 YOR Conference, Nottingham University (1/16) UKHanSystem Dynamics UngKyu Han
  • 2. CONTENTS 1. To Be Thought 2. Background 3. Philosophy, Mental Model, and System Dynamics 4. Previous Investigations 5. Applied to Innovation Systems 6. Conclusions (2/16) UKHanSystem Dynamics UngKyu Han
  • 3. 1. TO BE THOUGHT “How should we observe systems?” “Is the Earth central? or part of the solar system?” To argue the need to establish a dualistic philosophical view of a system in system dynamics modelling (3/16) UKHanSystem Dynamics UngKyu Han
  • 4. 2. BACKGROUND 1) System Dynamics (1) Modern SD initiatives - Industrial Dynamics written by J. Forrester (1961) - Ranging from pure sciences to social sciences, and from mathematical areas to non-mathematical ones (2) Intends to… - Discover the internal interactions and feedback processes that take place between diverse constituent factors within complex systems - Look into how changes in such elements cause expected or unexpected consequences within the systems modelled (4/16) UKHanSystem Dynamics UngKyu Han
  • 5. 2) Is System Dynamics a Tool, a Methodology, or a Paradigm? Graphical interface, modelling, computer simulation and application software Paradigm in problem-solving areas of management sciences “Without a clearly communicated philosophy, there is nothing to separate the subject from the simulation technique it uses.”, Morecroft (1983) says. (5/16) UKHanSystem Dynamics UngKyu Han
  • 6. 3. PHILOSOPHY, MENTAL MODEL AND SD 1) What is philosophy? - A Greek ‘Philosophia’ - ‘Love of wisdom’: subjective thoughts of human beings. 2) Are Scientists Objective? - Not ‘unbiased observers’; rather, fallible beings - Scientific ‘observations’ cannot be totally neutral (6/16) UKHanSystem Dynamics UngKyu Han
  • 7. 3) Mental Model “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” (7/16) UKHanSystem Dynamics UngKyu Han
  • 8. 4) Mental Model in System Dynamics In dealing with feedback problems within a system (1) In defining feedback problems (2) In analysing feedback problems (3) In interpreting feedback problems (4) In solving feedback problems ∴For System Dynamicists In the process of systemic problem generation, philosophical thinking is necessary in the description of internal behaviours within a system. (8/16) UKHanSystem Dynamics UngKyu Han
  • 9. 4. PREVIOUS INVESTIGATIONS Constructivism Vázquez and Liz, 2007 Schiere et al., 1999 Expressivism Reductionism Rafferty, 2007 Holism Schwaninger, 2006 Interpretivism Positivism - WHY NOT Synthetic Dualism of Philosophies? (9/16) UKHanSystem Dynamics UngKyu Han
  • 10. 3) Perception of a System by Philosophy PHILOSOPHY Constructivism, Interpretivism , Synthetic view Reductionism and Positivism Holism, and Expressivism CRITERION A whole- or sub-system (s) Main Object A whole system Constituent elements Top-down or bottom-up Logical Stream Top-down Bottom-up More than or just the sum of parts System Definition More than the sum of parts Just the sum of parts A whole- or sub-problems of a Problem Definition A whole problem of a system Sub-problems of elements system Non-common or common goals Goal Definition No common goal Common goals of components of sub-systems Variant or static context and Context and Observer Variant context and observer Static context and observer observer Variability Sensitivity to Changes Sensitive to the changes in internal Sensitive or non-sensitive to Not sensitive to the changes in changes of internal properties in properties internal properties a system Interpretation Flexible, inferential, pragmatic, and Flexible or inflexible, inferential or Inflexible, concrete, ideal, and non- concrete, pragmatic or ideal, and Flexibility contextual contextual contextual or contextual (10/16) UKHanSystem Dynamics UngKyu Han
  • 11. 5. Applied to Innovation Systems 1) Innovation System : An agglomeration of innovation actors to stimulate their innovation and business within a geographical area (11/16) UKHanSystem Dynamics UngKyu Han
  • 12. 2) From National to Regional Innovation System National Innovation System Regional Innovation System NISs World-wide Clearer Management of Spread Relative Dynamics by Region Japan’s Economic Serious Disparities Growth among Regions Need for Institutionally Localised Technology-based Systems Nation-wide US Support Business Support The Rise of EU in 1993 Japanese Government Economic European Currency Interventionism into EURO in 19951945 1953 1960 1970 1980 1990 2000 now End of Korean War Shift from NIS to RIS End of the 2nd World War (12/16) UKHanSystem Dynamics UngKyu Han
  • 13. 3) Features of Innovation System - Evolutionary being - Continuous production of feedback problems (14/16) UKHanSystem Dynamics UngKyu Han
  • 14. 4) Philosophy-Mental Model-Views of a System (14/16) UKHanSystem Dynamics UngKyu Han
  • 15. Region-oriented View Region-Nation Synthetic View Nation-oriented View Philosophy Constructivism, interpretivism, Dualism of philosophical threads Reductionism and positivism holism, and expressivism Main Object RIS as a whole system Different observing target by context A nation-dependent constituent unit around a region Logical Stream Local government’s top-down Mixture of local government’s top- Local government’s bottom-up innovation policies down policies for regional objectives innovation policies for a national agenda and bottom-up policies for national goals by regional context System More than the aggregation of local Different definition of the scale, Just the sum of local innovative actors Definition innovative actors range, and roles of a RIS by regional context Problem Regional innovation Different definition of the influencing Sub-problems of regions affecting Definition problems/challenges as a whole range of problems and required national innovation problems/challenges system solutions by regional context Goal Definition Regional development as an ideal Different goal definition by regional Sub-objectives of regions to achieve an goal of a local unit context ideal whole development of a nation Context and Variant innovation contexts and Flexible variability by contexts around Fixed innovation contexts and localised Observer localised innovation views of a a region and subjectivity of innovation views of a region; innovation Variability region; self-regulating innovation observers; flexible construction and mechanisms tied within given national mechanisms in a big picture of operation of innovation mechanisms innovation policies national innovation policies by regional context Sensitivity to Sensitive to the changes of local Flexible sensitivity level to the Not sensitive to the changes of local Changes innovation properties dynamics of regional innovation innovation properties properties by regional context Interpretation Context-based flexible political Variant flexibility of response to Non-context-based static political Flexibility response to variable regional regional context response to given national innovation situations policies (15/16) UKHanSystem Dynamics UngKyu Han
  • 16. 6. CONCLUSIONS 1) Philosophical thinking for system dynamicists to implement a more thoughtful problem-solving process, and for outside experts to acknowledge SD as a paradigm in the management sciences 2) ‘Constructivism, interpretivism, holism, and expressivism’ versus ‘reductionism and positivism’, and ‘synthetic dualism’ 3) A region-oriented view, a nation-oriented view, and a region-nation synthetic view 4) Philosophical views of a system remain highly influential in defining and observing systemic problems in the innovation system and in developing and implementing managerial regional innovation policies. (16/16) UKHanSystem Dynamics UngKyu Han
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