Stewardship Design Principles


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Learning from Living Systems to Co-design Our Resilient Futures

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  • Thank you for sharing this work. Inspiring, encouraging and informative. Have you developed these principles and practices since 2009 when this presentation was first posted?

    Am looking at Stewardship and Design as principles for
    Inter-generational shared housing - for all parties and partners. Very interested in gathering materials that support Stewardship and Design principles and practices.

    Thank you again.
    Suzanne Hale
    Ottawa, Canada
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Stewardship Design Principles

  1. 1. 1<br />Stewardship Design Principles:<br />Learning From Living Systems <br />to<br />Co-Design Our Resilient Futures<br />Dr. Anthony E. SmithCo-DirectorEastern Mennonite University (EMU)<br />Steward-Leadership MBA Program<br />© 2009<br />
  2. 2. 2<br />“The nature of the organizational relationships that make the behavior of obviously living systems…give it a teleological quality not found elsewhere.” (Sommerhof, 1969, 147).<br />“From the physical point of view, the characteristic state of the living organism is that of an open system.” (von Bertalanffy, 1950, 70).<br />Biological Roots of Social Systems Theory<br /><ul><li>“It was von Bertalanffy (1950) who…first fully disclosed the importance of openness or closedness to the environment as a means of distinguishing living organisms from inanimate objects.” (Emery and Trist, 1963, 21).
  3. 3. “In systems research we are interested only in those systems which can display activity - that is behavioral systems.” (Ackoff, 1960, 332)</li></li></ul><li>3<br />Characteristics of Open (living) Systems1<br /><ul><li>Learning, adaptive and purposeful
  4. 4. Self-regulation and variety-increasing behavior
  5. 5. System-environment transactions and transformations (metabolism)
  6. 6. Negentropic (moving towards higher states of order, in opposition to the 2nd law of thermodynamics)
  7. 7. Equifinality (achieving same end from different starting points)
  8. 8. Growth through internal elaboration
  9. 9. Constancy of direction with change of position
  10. 10. Directive correlation of multiple stakeholders (moving towards same mutual goals without control or overt coordination - such as certain behaviors of bats, bees, birds…and people)</li></ul>1Emery, F.E. (1969) Systems Thinking. Penguin<br />
  11. 11. 4<br />Causal Texture of Organizational Environments2<br />L1 = Organization<br />L2 = Environment<br />Contextual Environments and Adaptive Responses<br />Random Placid…………….Tactics<br />Clustered Placid………….. Strategies<br />Disturbed Reactive……….Operations<br />Turbulent…………………….Values (Principles) as power fields<br />2Emery and Trist, (1963), Causal Texture of Organizational Environments. <br />
  12. 12. 5<br />Grounded (Experientially Derived) Theory<br /><ul><li>Grew up on a small coffee farm in Costa Rica - the most bountiful natural eco-tones in the world, and home to the the highest Happy Planet Index (life satisfaction - longevity - and ecological footprint) ( 7/4/09).</li></ul>Trained in philosophy, architecture, and Wharton School social systems sciences (S3) program by some of the co-founders of social systems sciences (Ackoff, Emery, and Trist).<br />Co-developed Future Stewards program (1995-2002) on 560 acre organic farm in West Virginia for high school students and their faculty, recognized by the United Nations in 1999 as a “global model of education and land stewardship”.<br />Founded, directed and/or consulted to numerous eco-friendly nonprofit enterprises in PA, WV, PA, CO, VA, and Turkey.<br />Co-direct Steward-Leadership MBA program at Eastern Mennonite University (EMU). EMU’s core values include stewardship, ethics, and global awareness.<br />
  13. 13. 6<br />A Walk in the Meadow (or the Woods)…<br />The Stewardship Principles <br />were co-discovered, over and over again, <br />by students, faculty, farmers, foresters, and others through direct immersion in, and observations and reflections about, <br /> natural eco-systems,<br />from wetlands to woodlands.<br />
  14. 14. 7<br />For the BIRDS…Stewardship Principles<br />Balance<br />Interdependence<br />Regeneration<br />Diversity<br />Succesion<br />
  15. 15. 8<br />Balance<br />
  16. 16. 9<br />1a) Balance In Natural Ecosystems<br />Healthy ecosystems balance<br />inputs = outputs<br />Global climate change represents an<br />imbalance in our planet’s ecosystem<br />
  17. 17. 10<br />1b) Balance In Human Ecosystems<br />At the individual level…balancing priorities<br />At the organizational level…balancing assets and liabilities<br />
  18. 18. 11<br />1c) Balance as a design principle<br />Balance to <br />find/give guidance…such as balancing board composition<br />Balance to measure performance through the balance scorecard<br />
  19. 19. 12<br />Interdependence<br />
  20. 20. 13<br />2a) Interdependence in Natural Ecosystems<br />Group interdependence increases likelihood of survival – finding food, escaping predators, finding mates…<br />Symbiotic relationships among different species…for food and propagation.<br />
  21. 21. 14<br />2b) Interdependence in Human Ecosystems<br />Global trade and financial integration<br />Group interdependence<br />
  22. 22. 15<br />2c) Interdependence as a design principle<br />Design socio-technical systems to achieve sustainable innovation. Example: Hudson River Valley land use practices (upstream) and NYC water quality (downstream)<br />Interdependence of internal and external organizational environments to develop adaptive, learning organizations<br />
  23. 23. 16<br />Regeneration<br />
  24. 24. 17<br />3a) Regeneration in Natural Ecosystems<br />Newt regeneration - how Nature designs resilience<br />Forest deer browse line – imbalanced deer-predator system impedes forest regeneration and resilience<br />
  25. 25. 18<br />3b) Regeneration in Human Ecosystems<br />Human regeneration takes many forms to maintain health and happiness…<br />Organizational regeneration likewise sometimes requires moving out of our comfort zones to renew our human bonds and teamwork.<br />
  26. 26. 19<br />3c) Regeneration as a design principle<br />Organizations can play critical roles in co-producing resilient communities as a regenerative design principle<br />
  27. 27. 20<br />Diversity<br />
  28. 28. 21<br />4a) Diversity in Natural Ecosystems<br />Caddis fly larvae serves as a bio-indicator of healthy streams that support diverse macro-invertebrates<br />Natural ecosystem diversity is experiencing rapid rates of extinction, suggesting how stewardship has become a design priority<br />
  29. 29. 22<br />4b) Diversity in Human Ecosystems<br />We celebrate multi-cultural and multi-ethnic diversity…<br />…as well as multilingual and multinational diversity.<br />
  30. 30. 23<br />4c) Diversity as a design principle<br />Multi-dimensional approaches to diversity offer pathways to sustainability.<br />Developing diverse teams enhances success in global and multicultural markets.<br />
  31. 31. 24<br />Succession<br />
  32. 32. 25<br />5a) Succession in Natural Ecosystems<br />Healthy forest edge (ecotone) succession supports diverse wildlife.<br />Healthy plant and wildlife succession cycles though many stages.<br />
  33. 33. 26<br />5b) Succession in Human Ecosystems<br />Family succession reminds us about our legacy.<br />In communities and organizations, we experience succession through the cycle of human talent.<br />
  34. 34. 27<br />5c) Succession as a design principle<br />Designing for organizational succession remains key to sustaining organizations<br />Designing for community succession means moving beyond survival to resilience<br />
  35. 35. 28<br />From Resilient Living Systems to Designed Resilience<br />We observe iterative design principles in the evolution of living systems.<br />Stewardship design principles also work best when considered as part of an iterative design process<br />
  36. 36. 29<br />Designing a Resilient Future<br />Living systems co-create and co-contribute to their habitats as resilient eco-systems.<br />Humans enjoy the capacity to design the future.<br />
  37. 37. Stewardship, Spirit and Enlightened Shared Interest<br />How do stewardship design principles resonate with spiritual ideals of Creation Care, and the concepts of spiritual and appreciative intelligence?<br />How might businesses and communities better exercise their stewardship responsibilities while achieving greater resilience and eco-advantage?<br />How might we serve as stewards in co-designing a more resilient future as part of Nature, not apart from it?<br />
  38. 38. 31<br />
  39. 39. 32<br />References<br />Appleton, A. (2002) “How New York City used an ecosystem services strategy carried out through an urban-rural partnership to preserve the pristine quality of its drinking water and save billions of dollars.” A paper for Forest Trends, Tokyo. See<br />Benyus, J.M. (1997). Biomimicry: Innovation inspired by Nature. New York: Morrow.<br />Emery, F.E. (editor), (1969). Systems Thinking. Penguin.<br />Emery, F.E. (1977). The Futures We Are In. Leiden: Martinus Nijhoff.<br />Emery, F. and Trist, E., (1963). The Causal Texture of Organizational Environments in the XVII International Congress of Psychology, Washing, DC, 20-26 August.<br />Esty, D. and Winston, A. (2009). Green to Gold: How smart companies use environmental strategy to innovate, create value, and build competitive advantage. Hoboken: John Wiley.<br />Glaser B.G. and Strauss A. (1967). The discovery of grounded theory: Strategies for qualitative research. New York: Aldine<br />Laszlo, C. (2008). Sustainable value: How the world’s leading companies are doing well by doing good. Stanford: Stanford University Press<br />Smith, A.E. (2009). “Stewardship Design Principles”. Submitted to the Global Forum 2009 Conference on Business as an Agent for World Benefit. Cleveland: June 2-5, 2009<br />Sommerhof, G. (1969). “The Abstract Characteristics of Living Systems”, in F. Emery, (ed), Systems Thinking, Penguin.<br />Thatchenkery, T. and Metzker, C. (2006). Appreciative Intelligence: Seeing the mighty oak in the acorn. San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler.<br />von Bertalanffy, L. (1950). “The Theory of Open Systems in Physics and Biology” in F. Emery (ed.), Systems Thinking, Penguin.<br />Wilson, E.O. (1992). The diversity of life. Cambridge: Belknap Press.<br />Zohar, D. and Marshall, I. (2000). Spiritual Intelligence: The ultimate intelligence. London: Bloomsbury.<br />
  40. 40. 33<br />Image References - Systems<br />Systems<br /> Tree root systems:<br /> Birds in flight:<br />Pura Vida:<br />Peacock:<br />
  41. 41. 34<br />Image References - Balance<br />Balance<br /> Scales:<br /> Rock cairn:<br /> Balanced scorecard:<br /> Priorities:<br /> Balance sheet:<br /> Ecosystem:<br /><br /> Greenhouse gasses:<br />
  42. 42. 35<br />Image References - Interdependence<br />Interdependence<br /> Honeybee and flower image; penguin<br /> Rhino and bird:<br /> Socio-technical systems:<br /> Global:<br /> Jazz group:<br /> Global trade:<br /> Organizational:<br />
  43. 43. 36<br />Image References - Regeneration<br />Regeneration<br />Newts:<br />Forest:<br />Newt:<br />Dance partners:<br />Rafting:<br />Diagram:<br />
  44. 44. 37<br />Image References- Diversity<br />Diversity<br /> Colored chickens:<br /> Diversity wheel:<br /> Caddis fly larvae:<br /> Ecosystems:<br />Linked hands:<br /> Multilingual and multinational:<br /> Global competitiveness:<br />
  45. 45. 38<br />Image References - Succession<br />Succession<br /> People:<br /> Trees:<br /> Owl-chipmunk:<br /> Family:<br /> Talent pool:<br /> Organizational:<br /> Community:<br />
  46. 46. 39<br />Image References – Stewardship Design Principles<br />Stewardship Design Principles<br /> Nautilus shell:<br /> Iterative design:<br /> Thank you!<br />