Category Archives: General

Ackoff’s Triple Systems Explanation Whopper

Russ L. Ackoff (1919-2009) was a friend and colleague of C. West Churchman (1913-2004). They both hailed from Philadelphia, both served in the Second World War, and both devoted their lives to developing and applying ‘systems approaches’ worldwide because they … Continue reading

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A concept map of Churchman’s general systems approach (update)

Below concept map is a representation of the present author’s understanding of Churchman’s general systems approach, mostly based on the description of the nine categories in ‘The systems approach and its enemies’ (Churchman 1979, 79-100). Reading a concept map of … Continue reading

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Dialectical Systems Learning

During the past month or so I have been ruminating over my post of May 10, 2019, which was about my latest effort to come to a better understanding of the workings of a systems approach described in a workbook … Continue reading

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Soft systems methodology revisited

Combining Checkland and Churchman for systems learning This post has been syndicated by The Systems Community of Inquiry to https://stream.syscoi.com, the global network of systems thinkers, scientists and practitioners. Systems concepts baffling     Over the past years I have been trying to … Continue reading

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Systemic evaluation design

Currently Bob Williams is preparing the second edition of his workbook on ‘Using systems concepts in evaluation design’ (available as a pdf for only 5$ from https://gumroad.com/l/evaldesign). It describes a practical systems approach to evaluation design. As Churchman explains in … Continue reading

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Systems thinking in three steps

Systems thinking is generally considered difficult, both to learn and to explain what it is about. Here is the latest of my efforts in this blog to make it simple. At the end is a concept map. It is self-explanatory, … Continue reading

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Definitions of systems and systems thinking

There are no simple definitions of systems and systems thinking (Monat & Gannon 2015) that are sufficiently rich to clarify what they are essentially about. So instead, I will offer a circumscriptive definition in three parts and add a small … Continue reading

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The capability approach to social system design

This is my third and probably last consecutive blog post on the capability approach in about one-and-a-half week (here are 1 and 2). The capability approach was first articulated by the Indian economist and philosopher Amartya Sen in the 1980s. He has collaborated … Continue reading

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The capability approach, Aristotle, and the systems approach

Last week I blogged a post on the capability approach. I mentioned the two versions of the capability approach, the original one by Sen and the more Nicomachean version of Nussbaum. The term Nicomachean refers to Aristotle’s ethics, which Nussbaum … Continue reading

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The capability approach and the systems approach

In the world of international development Amartya Sen’s capability approach is well known, especially for its adoption by UN policy makers to formulate and justify the Millennium Development Goals and their successor set, the Sustainable Development Goals. The MDGs have … Continue reading

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