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Friday, April 14, 2017


In the review of our 2010 Human Systems Dynamics Certification course {ref. HSD 3}, F. and I continued our discussion about uncertainty and change.

F. described a recent commercial flight which was delayed for 2 hours; however, their connecting flight was also delayed so after a lot of uncertainty everything worked out. The extra efforts that anxious people went through to find alternatives turned out to be unnecessary. His hypothesis is that in certain conditions of “wellness” the majority of humans prefer to stay in the status quo and don't like change. Alternatively, if not happy, people will look for change.

We next discussed the different kinds of change: static change, dynamic change, dynamical change. It seems that “static” change is a contradiction in words. Accordingly, “stability” in the starting and ending states is an important element. F. feels that for him the word “transformation” is closer to dynamic change; however, for me it means static change since the final state is the new stable transformation. Words, words, words!

We agreed that people should have an emotional reaction to change. Generally, people are afraid of change, particularly dynamical change where the results can't be predicted, and the timing and flow is very uncertain. Or people may be happy with a change that promises something better for them, and a list of emotions felt during change should include hope. As a pilot, I experience joy and fear in the many changes during a flight, with fear being offset by good planning, good instruction, and practice. (The Landscape Diagram tool provides good insight into someone's comfort with change.)

We talked about questions to better understand types of change such as:
For static changes:
  • what are the initial and final states of the change?
  • what energy is needed for the change?
  • risk: ignoring context leads to incorrect impact
  • F. noted that a good examples of static change are to replace a tire on a car, moving from one house to another, a theatre performance in different venues - these are predictable, we have a good idea of energy required

For dynamic change:
  • what are the initial conditions?
  • what is the predictable flow?
  • risk: identification of the border between the states
  • Examples have more energy, more change occurs - many more pieces/elements/more agents, culture, interactions more varied, energy flowing out to the environment

For dynamical change:
  • what is the energy/tension/stress in each level of the system?
  • how are the agents connected & what is the strength of these connections?
  • what interactions are occurring?
  • risk: how you view the system; human desire to predict all results to help you understand life
  • Examples have many outcomes possible depending upon the interaction of agents; e.g., political events in the middle east and in South America

We finished by exploring the idea of using some of these questions to identify each type of change before it happens.

More to come.

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