Nov42011 systemsthinking nov1


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Nov42011 systemsthinking nov1

  1. 1. Systems Thinking: Improving & Promoting Library Value An interactive presentation for librarians and information professionals as part of the UCLA Graduate School of Education and Information Studies Friday Forum Series November 4, 2011 – 9:30am – 3:30pm Sara Tompson, M.S., Los Angeles, CA ( Lorri Zipperer, M.A Albuquerque, NM ( Zipperer & Tompson 1
  2. 2. Systems Thinking: Improving & Promoting Library Value Part I – Getting Grounded 1. Introductions and Details of the Day 2. Systems Thinking (ST) is accessible! 3. Why Systems Thinking? (What’s in it for Me?) 4. Systems Thinking Core Concepts and Terminology 5. When Systems Thinking Tools are Especially Appropriate 6. Systems Thinking: New Paradigm for Library & Info Pros Part II – Taking Off 1. Tools, Tricks and Tactics 2. Mental Models and Assumptions 3. Scenarios 4. Revisiting Value 5. Continue the Conversation11/4/11 Zipperer & Tompson 2
  3. 3. Systems Thinking – Getting Grounded References for this Workshop •Senge Peter M., et al. The Fifth Discipline Fieldbook: Strategies and tools for building a learning organization. 1994. •Senge, Peter M. The Fifth Discipline: The art and practice of the learning organization. 1990. •Tompson, Sara R. and Lorri A. Zipperer. "Systems Thinking for Success." Chapter 8 in Best Practices in Corporate Libraries. Porter, Marjorie and Sigrid Kelsey, editors. Santa Barbara: Clio Press, 2011, pp. 129-150. Excerpted in Google Books: •Selected Readings handout • More detailed bibliography: phy.html11/4/11 Zipperer & Tompson 3
  4. 4. Systems Thinking (ST) – Getting GroundedIntroductions – Setting the Groundwork• Who / what / where• One persistent challenge you have for which you think systems thinking solutions may be helpful (Will use later)• One thing you’d like to tell your leadership you got from this class11/4/11 Zipperer & Tompson 4
  5. 5. Systems Thinking – Getting Grounded ST Can be Confusing at First Glance…. Library Risk: Faculty’s Escalation Librarian’s Results Results Keep More books Study Space Decision-makers get conflicting messages Influence Influence Decision-makers Results Decision-makers of AActivity Relative to B Activityby Faculty by Librarian Diagram by Michael Moore; used with permission 11/4/11 Zipperer & Tompson 5
  6. 6. …but ST *is* Accessible – Kids Get It! Systems Thinking in Education: First Grade Problem Solving Video: Zipperer & Tompson 6
  7. 7. Systems Thinking – Getting Grounded Leverage Points• A positive word for political and strategic thinking and analysis• A method of directing effort with effective action• An understanding of how system behavior “over time” can uncover leverage points and optimize their use to drive sustained change• Blame free approach to discussing what doesn’t work to enable what COULD work 11/4/11 Zipperer & Tompson 7
  8. 8. Systems Thinking – Getting Grounded WIIFM – Sense of Urgency“For every problem there is a solution that is simple, neat – and wrong.”* (various attributions: Twain/Mencken/Drucker)• Illustrative stories: - e.g. Baker MacKenzie Law Library** • Fired all librarians / closed library • Eventually brought program back • “Fixes that Fail” Systems Thinking Archetype *(Zemke, Ron. “Systems Thinking.” Training 38:2 (2001): 40-46 **News Fronts: USA. American Libraries 26:6 (Jun., 1995), p. 49111/4/11 Zipperer & Tompson 8
  9. 9. Systems Thinking – Getting Grounded WIIFM – Sense of Urgency“Information problems are crucial to understand why [disaster or crisis] signals are often ignored.”* o Signals are not seen – consistent with organizational mental models/beliefs o Groups have partial information…no one has a view of the situation as a wholeSolution: A vigilant info culture – conversations & reflections *(Choo, Chun Wie. “Information Failures & Organizational Disasters.” MIT Sloan Management Review 46:3 (2005): 8-10).11/4/11 Zipperer & Tompson 9
  10. 10. Systems Thinking – Getting Grounded WIIFM – Sense of UrgencySystems thinking concepts can enable librarians to better leverage their expertise and experience for: o Problem Identification and Mitigation o Process-Improvement o Strategic PlanningDemonstrating both their and their library’s value to the parent organization/community.11/4/11 Zipperer & Tompson 10
  11. 11. Systems Thinking – Getting Grounded WIIFM – Sense of Accomplishment “Outside the box” creative strategies, and ST tools can reveal less obvious problems, factors and influences To get to systemic solutions that Lead to….11/4/11 Zipperer & Tompson 11
  12. 12. Systems Thinking – Getting Grounded WIIFM – Demonstration of Value•Improved, articulated and visible alignmentwith organization/clientele• Wider recognition of library/ian skillsand resources by organization(One must sustain the efforts begun withthe systems thinking!)11/4/11 Zipperer & Tompson 12
  13. 13. Systems Thinking – Getting Grounded What is ST? •Seeing the behavior and the interaction of the parts within the context of the whole •Building collective thinking for sustained change •Learning from failure •Working to dismantle the effects of silo-based activity •Understanding and respecting how humans can affect the system •Solving problems in non-linear fashion11/4/11 Zipperer & Tompson 13
  14. 14. Systems Thinking – Getting Grounded Selected ST Core Concepts* • Everything is connected to everything else • You can never do just one thing • Different people in the same structure will produce similar results • From “either/or” to “both/and” • The easiest way out is the fastest way back in • Profound changes can take place in ways we cannot foretell *(from Richard Wilkinson, “10 Useful Ideas on Systems Thinking” - systems-thinking/)11/4/11 Zipperer & Tompson 14
  15. 15. Systems Thinking – Getting Grounded Linear vs. Systems ThinkingLinear Thinkers Systems ThinkersBreak things into component Are concerned with the whole piecesAre concerned with content Are concerned with processTry and fix the symptoms Are concerned with the underlying dynamicsAre concerned with assigning Try to identify patterns blame Based on: Ollhoff J, Walcheski M. “Making the jump to systems thinking.” The Systems Thinker 17:5 (June/July 2006):9-11.11/4/11 Zipperer & Tompson 15
  16. 16. Linear vs. Systems Thinking, continued Linear Thinkers Systems Thinkers Try to control chaos to create Try to find patterns amid the order chaos Care only about the content of Care about content but are more communication attentive to interactions and patterns of communications Believe organizations are Believe organizations are predicable and orderly unpredictable in a chaotic environment11/4/11 Zipperer & Tompson 16
  17. 17. Systems Thinking – Getting Grounded ST Includes…• Watching for leverage points (remember the 1stgraders!)•Recognizing feedback from the system tomitigate failures and build upon successes• Using tools that allow one to see interactionsbetween organizational entities such asemployees, departments and processes11/4/11 Zipperer & Tompson 17
  18. 18. Systems Thinking – Teens Get It! zsvw11/4/11 Zipperer & Tompson 18
  19. 19. Systems Thinking – Getting Grounded When is ST Especially Useful? • When problems are complex (vs. simple or complicated) • When problems reoccur • When no one solution is obvious • When problem fixes fail • When a cause (proximate and/or root) is not obvious Examples from earlier today?11/4/11 Zipperer & Tompson 19
  20. 20. Systems Thinking – Getting Grounded New Paradigm for Our Profession • Systems thinking tools can help organizations learn, and continue to learn • Effective information pros promote learning – for themselves, their patrons and their organizations o (A knowledge management connection too!) • SLA Alignment survey (respondents included management): 45% saw a culture of continuous learning as being an important role for information professionals11/4/11 Zipperer & Tompson 20
  21. 21. Systems Thinking – Getting Grounded New Paradigm for Our Profession Systems thinking enables looking beyond the library – NECESSARY for survival and success: SLA’s CEO Janice Lachance said: “…people are not viewed as indispensable based on the function they perform but on the value they deliver-- specifically the clearly understood and essential contributions they make to the success of their organization.”* *Janice Lachance, “What Bad Times Teach Us,” Information Outlook 13:8 (Dec- Jan 2008/2009), p. 3)11/4/11 Zipperer & Tompson 21
  22. 22. Systems Thinking – Getting Grounded New Paradigm for Our Profession • Zipperer and Sykes for SLA Biomedical and Life Sciences Division ms/index.html • Project sought to: o Support personal growth o Collect data from colleagues o Develop a web-based learning community on the topic of systems thinking for librarians11/4/11 Zipperer & Tompson 22
  23. 23. Systems Thinking Perspective Project, continued Designed to stimulate reflection on: • How we view ourselves in relation to our organization • How personal philosophies can enhance our ability to contribute to the overarching goals of the organization • How work behaviors play a part in our learning, growth and support of change (Zipperer, Lorri & Sara Tompson. “(Cover Story) Systems Thinking: A New Avenue for Involvement and Growth.” Information Outlook, 10:11 (2006):16-20)11/4/11 Zipperer & Tompson 23
  24. 24. Systems Thinking Perspective Project, continuedIn general, respondents to the survey felt they hadalready, or could, adopt some systems thinkingpractices:• Interconnectedness: (average 56% strongly agree)• Partnership and Leverage (average 33% stronglyagree)• Personal mastery: (average 43% strongly agree)• Discussion and dialogue: (average 55% stronglyagree)11/4/11 Zipperer & Tompson 24
  25. 25. Systems Thinking – Getting Grounded Exercise 1: Habits • Each come up with a library / info center / librarian / info pro example of one of these habits • Give an example of a past action that may fit the habit • Share with group and discuss Waters Foundation. Systems Thinking in Schools: fuseaction=search.habits © Waters Foundation, 2010.11/4/11 Zipperer & Tompson 25
  26. 26. CONTEMPLATE OVER LUNCH BREAK! “We can listen to what the system tells us, and discover how its properties and our values can work together to bring forth something much better than could ever be produced by our will alone. We cant control systems or figure them out. But we can dance with them.” Donella Meadows, quoted by Vicky Shubert in the Leverage Points Blog January 5, 2010 - Blog/bid/29392/No-Simple-Solutions “Footloose”!11/4/11 Zipperer & Tompson 26
  27. 27. Return from Lunch: “The 5 Whys” Tool Illustrated Discussed by systems thinker Mark Graben and linked at: (Also: )11/4/11 Zipperer & Tompson 27
  28. 28. Systems Thinking – Taking Off: Tools/Tactics/Tricks• 5 Whys• Recognizing Mental Models…• and Assumptions – Discussion of archetypes (as a tool)11/4/11 Zipperer & Tompson 28
  29. 29. Systems Thinking – Taking Off: Tools/Tactics/Tricks: 5 Whys• Simple technique to try to ascertain the root cause(s) of a problem• Ask “why” several times to progress from the symptom in order solve the underlying problem• Technique could be understood as a progression of 5 Whys to 1 How “For Want of a Nail” -- Zipperer & Tompson 29
  30. 30. Systems Thinking – Taking Off: Tools/Tactics/Tricks: 5 Whys (Graphic no longer live online)11/4/11 Zipperer & Tompson 30
  31. 31. Systems Thinking – Taking Off: T/T/T: 5 Whys Group Exercise: •Persistent challenges from this morning •Let’s apply a 5 Whys and see if we can get to a root cause •With systems problems there is rarely only one cause, but this technique does help to dig deeper11/4/11 Zipperer & Tompson 31
  32. 32. Systems Thinking – Taking Off: T/T/T: Mental Models“Mental Models” are: – Deeply ingrained assumptions, generalizations or even pictures that influence how we understand the world and how we take action – We are usually not aware of our mental models or the effect they have on our behavior • A Knowledge Management link – make the tacit explicit – ST can help us “turn the mirror on ourselves” – surface our internal pictures of the world and hold them up to rigorous scrutiny11/4/11 Zipperer & Tompson 32
  33. 33. Systems Thinking – Taking Off: T/T/T: Archetypes Archetypes = tool to recognize and possibly avoid reoccurring problems and behaviors: • Recognized descriptions lend credibility to the message being shared • Heads up to behaviors reasserting themselves – librarian can bring value by nipping it in the bud/ recognizing early / proactive • Reduces waste of time and resources through early problem recognition • A way to talk succinctly about a deeper problem11/4/11 Zipperer & Tompson 33
  34. 34. Systems Thinking – Taking Off: T/T/T: Archetypes -- Definitions•“Underlying systemic patterns” [Marais et al. “Archetypes forOrganisational Safety,” Safety Science 44:7 (2006), pp. 562-582]•“Recurring structures resulting from variouscombinations of Reinforcing and Balancing structures[Loops]”[Bellinger, Gene. “Archetypes: Interaction Structures of theUniverse”]11/4/11 Zipperer & Tompson 34
  35. 35. Systems Thinking – Taking Off: T/T/T: ArchetypesAccidental Adversaries•People who ought/want to partner instead endup bitterly opposed•Accidental Adversaries characterized by: – Communication breakdown – Competition over cooperation – Short-term over long-term thinking•Examples…11/4/11 Zipperer & Tompson 35
  36. 36. Systems Thinking – Taking Off: T/T/T: ArchetypesFixes that Fail [or backfire]•Useful short-term correction has unforeseenlong-term consequences (remember Footloose)•Theme – Many decisions carry long- AND short-term consequences (which can be diametricallyopposed)•Reinforcing loop (first graders – meanwords/hurt feelings/mean words/hurt feelings,etc.) – “vicious” not “virtuous” circle11/4/11 Zipperer & Tompson 36
  37. 37. Systems Thinking – Taking Off: Scenarios – Making it RealValue of Scenarios -- StorytellingSystems thinking can reveal unspoken values, mental models and conflicts. – Denning: ““The key to effective use of narrative for communicating values lies in narratives that reveal how the conflicts of values get resolved.”*• Scenario I – Journals• Scenario II – Shared Directory * Denning, Stephen. “Effective storytelling: strategic business narrative techniques.” Strategy & Leadership 34:1 (2006): 42-48.11/4/11 Zipperer & Tompson 37
  38. 38. Systems Thinking – Taking Off: Scenarios – Making it Real: I An engineer complains to the Vice President that the online journal collection is terrible. The VP has been hearing this complaint, as well complaints about the librarys overuse of email, from a variety of people ever since she joined the organization. The VPs husband is a librarian and she has respect for the profession, but is consistently being pressed by her budget office to close down the library and rely on Google and support staff to do the information work….. Continued on handout11/4/11 Zipperer & Tompson 38
  39. 39. Systems Thinking – Taking Off: Scenarios – Making it Real: I • Open brainstorming • 5 Whys exploration11/4/11 Zipperer & Tompson 39
  40. 40. Systems Thinking – Taking Off: Scenarios – Making it Real: II “That is it! A Shared Drive will fix everything!” The librarian tries to hide his disbelief as once again leadership at his company debate a technology- centric strategy to address the ongoing spiral of inefficiency and rework employees at his 80-person consulting firm wade through to utilize their intellectual capital…. Continued on handout11/4/11 Zipperer & Tompson 40
  41. 41. Systems Thinking – Taking Off: Scenarios – Making it Real: II Small group brainstorming – 30 minutes • What reoccurring problems are at play? • What archetypes are evident? • What mental models and assumptions are present? • What tactics can reveal them? • What solutions are in the librarians “tool box”? • What metrics can demonstrate strategic value to embracing a different direction?11/4/11 Zipperer & Tompson 41
  42. 42. The Value of Systems Thinking: V – Validates the role information can play in organizational effectiveness A – Assesses deep problems with a learning, blame free orientation L – Leverages strengths to address info needs and gaps and enhance strengths organization-wide U – Uses librarian knowledge effectively to innovate and drive improvement E – Elevates the role of the librarian as a strategist11/4/11 Zipperer & Tompson 42
  43. 43. Systems Thinking – Taking Off Revisiting Value Still true! “The information professional provides value by helping others. You assist in decision making; you – the information professional – make others more valuable.”* * Matarazzo, James M. “The Value of the Information Professional.” Bibliotheca Medica Canadiana. 10:3 (1989): 117-120.11/4/11 Zipperer & Tompson 43
  44. 44. Systems Thinking: Continue the Conversation • Ah Ha moments for you today? • What will you tell your staff? • What will you tell your peers? • What will you tell your leadership? • Share your “elevator speech” on the value of systems thinking • What did you learn today that makes you want to dance?!11/4/11 Zipperer & Tompson 44
  45. 45. Celebrate Systems Thinking Success! Zipperer & Tompson 45
  46. 46. Systems Thinking: Improving & Promoting Library Value Sara Tompson, M.S., Los Angeles, CA ( Lorri Zipperer, M.A Albuquerque, NM ( THANK YOU UCLA EIS and David Cappoli!11/4/11 Zipperer & Tompson 46