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Zero Robotics "Summer of Innovation 2010"
Zero Robotics is a robotics programming tournament for students, where the robots are autonomous nanosatellites called SPHERES, developed by MIT SSL. Students can write programs to control the satellites from a web browser and final competition is aboard the International Space Station. The NASA/SG Summer of Innovation 2010 tournament was geared toward Massachusetts middle school students. http://zerorobotics.mit.edu
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Nightmare scenarios
Nightmare scenarios
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Royal Wedding knocks UK growth
July 26 - Britain's economy only grew by 0.2% in the second quarter partly due to the Royal Wedding and Japanese tsunami, raising pressure on the government to boost growth as it tries to cut the budget deficit. Joanna Patridge reports.
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Charismatic leadership
New research by Professor Martin Kilduff into charisma and leadership of work teams has peeled away the layers of mystique around the phrase 'charismatic leadership'
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3 Next steps
This unit explores conceptual tools for assisting our thinking and deliberation on what matters. The notion of ‘framing’ nature is introduced and three readings provide an understanding of systems thinking for explicitly framing issues of environmental responsibility.
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2.3 Citizens in conversation with nature and experts
This unit explores conceptual tools for assisting our thinking and deliberation on what matters. The notion of ‘framing’ nature is introduced and three readings provide an understanding of systems thinking for explicitly framing issues of environmental responsibility.
Author(s): The Open University

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Lagarde's stern words for the U.S.
July 26 - IMF Chief Christine Lagarde said the U.S. must get past its political differences and reach a deal or the consequences will be felt well past its borders. Bobbi Rebell reports.
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Doty: Auditors will likely be more selective about Chinese clientele
July 26 - U.S. regulators take tough stand against China-based accounting firms.
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Breakingviews: Why Soros is shifting gears
July 26 - Reuters Breakingviews columnists say there is more to George Soros' departure than SEC red tape, and threat of a U.S. credit downgrade exposes the mistaken idea of a "risk-free" investment.
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Wall St. remains calm on debt
July 27 - Summary of business headlines: Tom Roth of UBS says August 2nd is "political" deadline for default; Ford tops estimate, Chrysler posts net loss; Home prices flat -S&P/Case Shiller. Conway G. Gittens reports.
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6.3 Clarifying purposefulness

Research conducted by Ralph Stacey (1993) shows how business managers often behave in a way contrary to espoused policies and expectations. Rather than adhering to conventions of long-term planning, and accepted orthodoxies and procedures, they actually tend to make a succession of unrelated, adaptive responses to changing situations as the need arises. This is often, and rather disparagingly, labelled muddle-through or crisis management but can result in adaptive action and organisation.


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Systems dynamics

In the 1950s, Jay Forrester, a systems engineer at MIT, was commissioned by the US company Sprague Electric to study the extreme oscillations of their sales and establish a means to correct them. From previous experience, Forrester knew the essence of the problem stemmed from the oscillations present in situations that contain inertia effects, or delays and reverse effects, or feedback loops as basic structural characteristics.

Subsequently, in 1961, Forrester published his report on in
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Open University systems failures method

In their most recent book, Learning from Failure, Joyce Fortune and Geoff Peters describe the 20 years of experience, which has produced the systems failures method (SF-method). Their motivation was to discover the ways failures in organisations can best be understood. They observe that one of the best ways people learn is from their mistakes, yet few organisations foster attempts to learn from people's mistakes. They believe this absence of learning can be attributed to a blame cultur
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5.9 Developing other systems methods

There are many more methods that are regarded as systems approaches for managing complexity (e.g. Rosenhead, 1989a; Flood and Carson, 1988; Flood and Jackson, 1991; Mingers and Gill, 1997; Francois, 1997; Flood, 1999; Jackson, 2000). The systems practitioners responsible for developing these come from a varied background, but in the main their experiences are similar to those described for Checkland, Beer, Espejo and the T301 team. All wanted to be able either to take action that stakeholders
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5.7 Developing a VS method through the viable systems model and Viplan

Anyone familiar with the controversy in the UK about the detention of the former Chilean dictator General Pinochet can make a link with the history of the viable systems model (VS-method) developed by Stafford Beer and with Viplan developed by Raul Espejo. Espejo describes the connection in these terms:

[my] work has focused on improving organisations of all kinds […] In this work […] above all I have
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5.5 Experiences that motivated the development of systems methods

I have already introduced various systems methods. Behind all of these methods, there has generally been a champion, a promoter aided by countless co-workers, students, etc. To paraphrase the French sociologist of technology, Bruno Latour: we are never confronted with a systems method, but with a gamut of weaker and stronger associations; thus understanding what a method is, is the same task as understanding who the people are.

A method, like any social technology, depends on many peopl
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5.4 Methodology, method, technique, and tools

As you engage with systems thinking and practice you will become aware how different authors refer to systems methodologies, methods, techniques, and tools, as well as systems approaches. Having just spent some time explaining what I mean by a systems approach, I now want to distinguish between methodology, method, technique and tool.

Several authors and practitioners have emphasised the significance of the term methodologies rather than methods in relation to Systems. A method i
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5.3 Purposeful and purposive behaviour

It is possible, as observers, to ascribe a purpose to what we or others do, the actions we take. How particular actions, or activities are construed will differ from observer to observer because of their different perspectives, which arise from their traditions of understanding. For example, in Figure 38 the person cutting the stone may ascribe their purpose as cutting stone or building a cathedral. It is for this reason t
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5.2 What are systems approaches?

An approach is a way of going about taking action in a ‘real world’ situation, as depicted in Figure 20. As I have outlined earlier, an observer has choices that can be made for coping with complexity. Here I am assuming that because this unit is about systems approaches, a choice has already been made to approach the world systemically using systems thinking.

Other choices of approach could be made. Think
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5.1 Introduction

In this section, I shall explore the features of the contextualising (systems-methods) ball – the C ball. I will make a distinction between systemic and systematic thinking and action and I will argue that the aware systems practitioner has more choices than the practitioner who is not aware.

An aware practitioner is able to contextualise a diverse array of methods at their disposal creating an opportunity for a greater range of advantageous changes in the ‘real world’ situat
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