Design Thinking misses a fourth circle. Ikigai comes to the rescue.

Sustainable Design Thinking inspired by the Ikigai Source : complexus.fr and @maga-lik
Sustainable Design Thinking inspired by the Ikigai Source : complexus.fr and @maga-lik

That being said, I’m here to argue that without integrating the needs of our ecological and social fabric, design thinking is obsolete. Not only does it generate less value, it also directly contradicts the “human-centered approach” that IDEO claims since its beginnings in 1978. I will go as far as saying that Tim Brown himself, consciously or not, knows it.

FXPasquier – Design Thinking misses a fourth circle. Ikigai comes to the rescue.

Understanding complexity: A prerequisite for sustainable design

The sciences of complexity are a variety of process-oriented areas of research exploring non- linear dynamics within complex systems. As I have mentioned before, the simplest definition for a complex system is any system with more than three interacting variables. Complexity is thus a common feature of the world we inhabit.

Daniel Christian Wahl – Understanding complexity: A prerequisite for sustainable design

COMPLEXITY RISING: From Human Beings to Human Civilization, a Complexity Profile

Since time immemorial humans have complained that life is becoming more complex, but it is only now that we have a hope to analyze formally and verify this lament. This article analyzes the human social environment using the “complexity profile,” a mathematical tool for characterizing the collective behavior of a system. The analysis is used to justify the qualitative observation that complexity of existence has increased and is increasing. The increase in complexity is directly related to sweeping changes in the structure and dynamics of human civilization—the increasing interdependence of the global economic and social system and the instabilities of dictatorships, communism and corporate hierarchies. Our complex social environment is consistent with identifying global human civilization as an organism capable of complex behavior that protects its components (us) and which should be capable of responding effectively to complex environmental demands.

Yaneer Bar-Yam – COMPLEXITY RISING: From Human Beings to Human Civilization, a Complexity Profile

Were the principles of life invented or discovered?

Even if you are not a reductionist and believe, as I do, that there is genuine causal power and functionality in the arrangements of things that is not contained in the things themselves or fully explainable by their low-level interactions, you are still left with the question of where that functionality comes from. It does feel like it somehow violates the conservation of causal power for evolution to have simply created systems that can do things – truly amazing, incredibly powerful things – from the mundane, purposeless matter that we are all made of.

Kevin Mitchell – Were the principles of life invented or discovered?

7 Differences between complex and complicated

Many people believe that complexity is just higher order complicatedness i.e. that there is a continuum and that the difference is one of degree, not type.  When one considers however how very different these states are from each other, I tend to agree with Dave Snowden when he says that there are in fact phase shifts between them i.e. they are fundamentally different types of systems.

Why is this important:  as long as decision-makers believe they are dealing with complicated systems, they will assume they are able to control outcomes; find solutions to problems and waste a lot of money on expert consultants to give them the “answers”. For organisations to become more resilient and sustainable, business science simply has to move beyond its Newtonian foundations towards an understanding of complexity.

Sonja Blignaut – 7 Differences between complex and complicated

Knowledge Work Effectiveness not Efficiency

The default marketing strategy for this category of tool is to emphasize efficiency….

The marketing from efficiency argument is simple to articulate and deeply rooted in an industrial mindset. Tools are good if they make workers more efficient; Frederick Taylor opined on the size and shape of shovels to improve the efficiency of strong-backed men moving stuff from pile A to box B. Knowledge workers aren’t shoveling coal. None of us work in typing pools.

These tools and their effective (not efficient) use are better understood from the perspective of augmentation laid out by Doug Engelbart. Saving keystrokes isn’t the point; redistributing cognitive load is.

Jim McGee – Knowledge Work Effectiveness not Efficiency

Touch Screens and the Loss of Nuanced Control

As software eats more of the world, we’re abstracting more controls to panes of glass. Touchscreen-based user interfaces are more flexible and cheaper to design, develop, deploy, and iterate than dedicated physical controls. But touchscreens come at the expense of nuanced control in critical situations, where tighter feedback loops between the system and its operators can make all the difference.

Jorge Arango – Touch Screens and the Loss of Nuanced Control

An example of Layers of Abstraction, the Cost of Convenience, and the Commoditization of Experience

Life’s economy is primarily based on collaborative rather than competitive advantage

If we want to re-design economics based on what we know about life’s strategy to create conditions conducive to life, we need to question some basic assumptions upon which the narrative underlying our current economic systems is built. The narrative of separation has predisposed us to focus on scarcity, competition, and the short-term maximization of individual benefit as the basis on which to create an economic system. Life’s evolutionary story shows that systemic abundance can be unlocked through collaboratively structured symbiotic networks that optimize the whole system so human communities and the rest of life can thrive.

Source: Life’s economy is primarily based on collaborative rather than competitive advantage

Scaling: The surprising mathematics of life and civilization

So what is “scaling”? In its most elemental form, it simply refers to how systems respond when their sizes change. What happens to cities or companies if their sizes are doubled? What happens to buildings, airplanes, economies, or animals if they are halved? Do cities that are twice as large have approximately twice as many roads and produce double the number of patents? Should the profits of a company twice the size of another company double? Does an animal that is half the mass of another animal require half as much food?

Geoffrey West – Scaling: The surprising mathematics of life and civilization

Want to innovate like Amazon? This is their formula

You can’t escape Amazon in the digital economy. Now a trillion-dollar company, they have disrupted diverse sectors from retail to software development with a deftness and drive that’s admirable and alarming. They actually seem to be speeding up their rate of innovation as they scale, defying the Law of Large Companies that causes giants to get dragged down by their own girth.
How do they manage that?

Scott Brinker – Want to innovate like Amazon? This is their formula

Some great insight into how Amazon is able to innovate at scale, especially in AWS. Provides some insight into answers to the questions I asked a couple of years ago in Companies and Superlinear Scaling. (Which I now need to revisit and expand)