4.1 Articulating your appreciation of complexity

I have organised the material in this section so that you can follow the activity route shown in Figure 36.

This section is primarily concerned with what can be understood by the term complexity, and how to compare it with the ideas of difficulty and mess you may
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3.1 The state of ‘Being’

The structure of Section 3 is set out in Figure 25. Use this as a way of keeping track of the argument I am making.

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9.9 Perspectives review

Just as you were completing your rich picture, I asked you to identify and record any stakeholdings, thinking, feelings, and views about what to do. In the next activity, I invite you to do a similar exercise based on where you are now. I then want you to re-examine the notes and compare the earlier perspective against your current perspective.

Expect to spend about half an hour on this activity.

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8.2 Stakeholder traps

I've found it's not at all uncommon to discover I have a stake in a situation. Complex situations often spread their tentacles into all sorts of areas, so that the number of people touched by them can be very large. This increases the chances of an individual acquiring a stake, even an indirect or second hand one. The human capacity to empathise draws me into a situation so that I form pre-judgements about fairness, blame and so on without really trying. In many ways this is to be welcomed â€
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6 Part 2: 2 Immersing yourself in complexity

The first three activities in Figure 4 are to plan a strategy, then to immerse yourself in an example of complexity, and then represent that complexity through drawing a rich picture. I've selected a rich picture as the focus of this task because it is a means of bringing you into a r
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18.5 Government regulations and legislation

You saw earlier in Part 2 how governments can stimulate invention by providing incentives for manufacturers to develop new products. The example given was in the field of alternative fuel vehicles in the USA and Europe. As well as influencing the development of innovations, government legislation and regulations can also affect diffusion by creating conditions that encourage consumers to buy and use particular innovations.

In the UK the government has introduced a mixture of incentives
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17.4 Standards and their role in innovation

Standards were originally related to units of measurement. The first ‘standard’ was the Egyptian royal cubit, which was made of black granite and was said to be equivalent to the length of the Pharoah's forearm and hand. This was also subdivided into finger, palm and hand widths – one ‘small cubit’ was equivalent to six palms. But because the human forearm was the master reference this meant that the cubit varied in different parts of the world. Over thousands of years agreement ove
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16 Part 3: Innovation

As you've seen above, many inventors have discovered that innovation – getting their ideas made and sold – is harder than invention. To bring an invention to the market there are a number of obstacles to overcome – technical, financial and organisational. The invention has to be made using appropriate materials and manufacturing processes depending on the nature of the product and the numbers required. Then, once an innovation is available to potential buyers, there are a number of fact
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15 Part 2: 6 Key points of Part 2

  • Individuals are motivated to invent by one or more factors: curiosity; constructive discontent about a product; a desire to help others; a desire to make money.

  • Organisations invent for a number of reasons: business strategy; the need to improve existing products and processes; new materials become available, as do technologies and manufacturing processes; government policy, legislation and regulations.

  • The process of invention
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12.2 Technology push

The technology push model is a simple linear model that suggests that the innovation process starts with an idea or a discovery – it is sometimes called ‘idea push’ (Figure 51). Sometimes this is by a creative individual who has the knowledge and imaginatio
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References

Bailey, R.W. (1982) Human Performance Engineering:A guide for systems designers, New Jersey, Prentice Hall.
Blackler, A., Popovic, V. and Mahar, D. (2003) ‘Intuitive use of products’, Design Studies.
Jordan, P. (2000) Designing Pleasurable Products, London, Taylor and Francis.
Norman, D. A. (1998) The Design
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8.1.1 Visibility

Recall that a key usability design feature identified by Donald Norman – from his analysis of using everyday objects such as doors – was visibility. An everyday object such as a door, or a control such as a button on a product should appear to be obvious about how it is used, and indeed it should perform that obvious function. For example, is it obvious how you insert a disc into a player? Is it obvious how you switch the machine on, adjust volume, and so on?


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7 Ergonomics and human factors

This section discusses designing for human capabilities and limitations. It introduces the study of ergonomics which can offer general guidelines as well as specific suggestions for good, user-centred product design.

Taking the user as the central point of reference for the design and evaluation of products is the approach encouraged by ergonomists.

The field of ergonomics (also known as human factors engineering) is the systematic study of human capabilities, limitations and requ
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2.5 Air circulation

At this stage, air circulation enters and plays a dual role. Firstly, winds transmit moisture horizontally from one location to another. In this way, moisture derived from oceanic evaporation can be transported many miles to a land mass. Secondly, convective or vertical currents arising from unequal heating or cooling can transmit moisture upwards. When it cools, some of the water vapour condenses. It is from these currents that most precipitation develops.


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2.3 Transpiration

If there were no vegetation, the rate of evaporation from land surfaces after rain would diminish rapidly to a very low value. Plants increase this rate by transpiration. In this process, water is transferred from the soil through the roots to the leaves by osmosis and capillary action. Water evaporates from the surface of the leaves and the resulting vapour diffuses into the atmosphere. For hydrological measurements, this phenomenon is frequently lumped with evaporation because the two proce
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Module team

Andy Lane, author Mary Thorpe, author

John Martin, course chair, Amber Eves, course manager

Mandy Anton, graphic designer

Susan Carr, critical reader

Tony Duggan, project controller (Technology)

Eion Farmer, critical reader

Clive Fetter, editor

Jim Frederickson, critical reader

Pip Harris, compositor

Caryl Hunter-Brown, subject information specialist

John Naughton, critical reader

Pat Shah, course secretary

Ro
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Acknowledgements

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Grateful acknowledgement is made to the following sources for permission to reproduce material in this text:

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4 Introduction

(Please refer to Reading 4: Learning to act: managing and systems practice, by Andy Lane) This unit teaches some aspects of systems thinking and practice. But what does it mean to be a systems practitioner, and is it different to being a manager? This reading attempts to answer those questions.

First, I believe a good systems practitioner will be more competent at handling complex situations, more capable of managing their working and domestic lives, and more able to learn not only how
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3.4 Conclusion

The headings alongside each of the activities in this article were there to remind you of the three different types of learning to which you were introduced in Reading 2: memorising, understanding and doing. The three models of the learning process that I have discussed in the present reading – acquisitive, constructivist and experiential – have strengths particularly for each of these three kinds of learning.

Some learning goals require that we know information accurately and can r
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3.2 The constructivist model of learning

This model of learning concentrates on what happens during the process of learning. It identifies the central role of concepts and understandings that learners bring to new learning and the way in which new and old ideas interact. Its starting point is that learners use their existing frameworks of understanding to interpret what is being taught, and that these existing ideas influence the speed and effectiveness with which new ideas are learned. Learners are actively involved in processing w
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