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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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5.8 Developing a soft systems method

One of the more widely used systems methods is known by its originators as ‘soft systems methodology’ or SSM. The driving force behind its development and increasing application in the domain of information systems development has been Peter Checkland at the University of Lancaster in the UK (e.g. see Checkland and Holwell, 1997). SSM, or adaptations of it, has been used in many other domains as well. The experiences that have given rise to the development of what in this course 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 Author(s): The Open University

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11.5.3 Combination

Combination is where two or more existing devices are combined to produce something new. For example the Toggle (Figure 45) combines a screwdriver and wire stripper for the outer and inner cores of an electric cable. It was designed by an OU student of an earlier version of the
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11.5.1 Adaptation

Adaptation is where a solution to a problem in one field is found by adapting an existing solution or a technical principle from another. For example Karl Dahlman adapted the hovercraft principle embodied in land and sea vehicles for use in the first hover lawn mower, the Flymo, in 1963 (Author(s): The Open University

11.5 Step 4 – act of insight

Suddenly an insight suggests a solution, or the means of achieving a solution, to the inventor. Legendary examples include Newton observing an apple falling from a tree and having his insight into the laws of gravitation or Archimedes leaping from his bath and running naked through the streets shouting ‘Eureka!’ (‘I've found it!’). These vivid images point to the fact that creative ideas can occur when someone is not consciously trying to solve a problem.

These acts of insight a
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11.4 Step 3 – incubation

Incubation is a period when the inventor, having been working on the problem for some time during identification and exploration, is no longer giving it conscious attention. The problem and its solution have been put to one side, on purpose or not, but the subconscious mind is capable of holding on to the problem. During this time, according to Roy (Open University, 2004, p. 34), ‘the relaxed brain [is] repatterning information absorbed during the period of preparation often after receiving
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11.1 Five steps to invention

I've looked at what motivates people and organisations to invent. I'll look more closely now at what's actually involved in inventing something.

Wherever invention occurs, whether with a lone inventor or in a creative team within an organisation, there seem to be common factors involved. There have been many attempts over the past 100 years to explain the creative process that occurs while people are attempting to solve problems. I'm going to combine ideas from two such models of the st
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10.6 What drives invention in organisations?

Much invention and nearly all innovation nowadays take place inside organisations – from small start-up companies to well-established multinationals. This is mainly because increasingly invention and innovation require access to technology and resources beyond the scope of most individuals. But it is also because competitiveness and survival depend on the continual improvement of a company's products and processes. This provides a strong incentive for companies to invest in both the increme
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10.5 Desire to help others

This is a less common motivation but it shows not everyone is driven by money.

In 1991 the inventor Trevor Baylis saw a BBC documentary about the spread of HIV/AIDS in Africa. What was needed was a way of broadcasting the safe-sex message to people in areas without electricity and where batteries for a radio could cost a month's wages. Solar power wouldn't necessarily help as most people who could get to a radio listened in the evening after work. While absorbing this information he ima
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10.4 Desire to make money

While most inventors might dream of growing rich from their inventions few invent for that reason alone. There are some exceptions though.

Take the case of the safety razor. One person, a travelling salesman named King Camp Gillette, was primarily responsible for the original invention and prototype. Unlike many lone inventors Gillette was not inventing something arising from a hobby or a field of technology with which he was already familiar. He was deliberately searching for a winner.
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10 Part 2: 1 How invention starts

You can experience this free course as it was originally designed on OpenLearn, the home of free learning from The Open University: Author(s): The Open University

Analysing European Romanticism
The principal tenets of the movement known as Romanticism first began in Germany and England, with the former pioneering the moral and philosophical beliefs and the latter producing the first Romantic artists and poets. This album concentrates on the development and spread of Romanticism in mainland Europe, analysing in clear, concise terms the metaphysical questions and beliefs that engendered the movement, along with the cultural and historical contexts that encouraged its development. The alb
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Introduction

Historians on both sides of the Atlantic have argued that the empire was not an issue of popular interest in the late nineteenth-century Britain and the United States. This course examines some of the evidence available to assess the truth of this claim. More broadly, the course raises questions related to evidence: is it possible to discover what ‘ordinary’ people thought about expansionism?

‘I couldn't give a damn’; ‘I don't know anything about politics’; ‘Why don't they
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10 User research techniques: observing users

This section introduces an alternative to basing user research on yourself. This is observation of experienced and inexperienced users either in experimental or natural situations.

One way around the difficulties of basing research on oneself is to observe other people acting as users and to choose naive or different kinds of experienced users, depending on what information you want to gather.

Begin by identifying those experienced users who will be able to provide you with releva
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6 Inclusive design

This section reveals the importance of designing things to suit all potential users.

Inclusive design (or universal design) means designing products so that they can be used easily by as many people as wish to do so. This may sound an obvious goal, but the fact is that many people – some estimates suggest as many as one-fifth of all adults – have difficulty carrying out ordinary tasks with everyday products.

Many elderly and disabled people cannot carry out – certainly with
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Music and its media
This free course, Music and its media, examines some of the main ways in which music is transmitted. It considers how the means of communicating a particular piece can change over time; and how the appearance and contents of a source can reflect the circumstances in which it is produced. The course focuses on three examples of musical media that allow us to study music of the past: manuscripts of sixteenth-century Belgium, prints of eighteenth-century London, and recordings of twentieth-century
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History of reading tutorial 1: Finding evidence of reading in the past
How do we know what people read in the past, and how they read it? This free course, History of reading tutorial 1: Finding evidence of reading in the past, is the first in a series of tutorials designed to help users of the UK Reading Experience Database (UK RED) search, browse and use the resource, and explores the types of evidence historians have uncovered about the history of reading. Tutorial 2 (Red_2) and Tutorial 3 (Red_3) look at how this evidence can be used to tell us about the recept
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Napoleonic paintings
In this free course, Napoleonic paintings, we will examine a range of Napoleonic imagery by David, Gros and a number of other artists, beginning with comparatively simple single-figure portraits and moving on to elaborate narrative compositions, such as Jaffa and Eylau. In so doing, we will have three main aims: to develop your skills of visual analysis; to examine the relationship between art and politics; and to introduce you to some of the complex issues involved in interpreting works of art.
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