January 16 was the twelfth meeting for Systems Thinking Ontario. The registration was at https://st-on-2014-01.eventbrite.com .  

Theme: Systems Thinking and Coevolution with Learning

In systems thinking, two process that see systems change over time are learning and coevolution.  These occur within and amongst living systems that evolve (or potentially devolve).

Coevolution amongst living systems may constrain or provide opportunities for development of each, some or all the systems.  Learning may occur (or not occur with zero learning!) for each living system at varying levels.

Some living systems have will, and therefore could operate at a strategic level, for benefit either just for the self or for the collective.  Some systems may not be interested in change, even if such change would be beneficial in self-interest as well as mutual interests.

How can purposeful (or purposive) learning lead to developmental coevolution?

Suggested pre-reading: 

David Ing, "Rethinking Systems Thinking: Learning and Coevolving with the World", in Systems Research and Behavioral Science, Volume 30, Number 5, (October 2013) pp. 527-547, published at http://doi.wiley.com/10.1002/sres.2229, preprint at http://coevolving.com/commons/201310-rethinking-systems-thinking

  • Section 2.2 says "Learning and coevolving are features of systems thinking in living and non-living systems".
    • Section 2.2.1 says "Learning in systems has been categorized as four types", i.e. zero learning, proto-learning, deutero-learning, trito-learning and phylogenesis.
    • Section 2.2.2 says "Non-living systems can also be described as learning, when the system of interest is shifted", introducing Stewart Brands "How Buildings Learn".
    • Section 2.2.3 says "Originating as two-species interactions, coevolution can also be specified for both the living and non-living", with "Table 2: Two-species population interactions (extended from E.P. Odum, 1983)" listing types of interaction.

Participants should not feel limited to this suggested pre-reading, but should recognize that other attendees may have not read, or are reading differently, that article.


Time Activity Role(s)
6:15 Self-introductions (15 seconds each)
  • Who am I?
  • Which affiliations do I have that might be relevant to systems thinking?
  • How did I come to systems thinking?
Convenor:  David Ing
6:30 The pre-reading (as an entry point)
  • What did the original author say?
Author:  David Ing
Reviewer: TBD
Observer(s):  TBD
6:50 Structure discussion group(s)
6:55 Discussion breakouts
  • Break out in groups of 6 to 10 people, to improve active communications
  • Identify a spokesperson who will summarize the group findings
(Parallel) breakout groups
7:35 Reports on discussion One designated spokesperson for each group
Reporter(s): TBD
7:55 Double loop learning: Revisions in meeting format? Suggestions welcomed
8:00 Adjourn
  • Walk to Baldwin Street (north on McCaul Street, 0.5 km, (the pattern has been for Hana Korea)
  • Continue discussion over dinner and/or drinks.
No host

Post-meeting artifacts

Bloggers are encouraged to write about their learning and experiences at the meeting. Links will be added to this page.