Systemic Innovation is born from the convergence of a variety of experiences, skills and passions, represented by this non-exhaustive and diverse list of tool-sets. With innovation at the heart, the reader will discover they are all related. Through a “systems” approach, we integrate each of them with conviction and passion.
- Systems Design
- Learning Organizations
- A Systems View of Life (Capra)
- The Blue Economy
- Control Systems
- Circular Economy and Biomimicry
- Bottom of the pyramid
- Blue Ocean strategy
- Executive MBA
To offer the reader a better understanding, here is a short description of what they are, followed (in orange) by their relevance to Systemic Innovation in general and to Camila AMAYA-CASTRO more specifically.
The work on Systems Design by prof. Luigi Bistagnino and his team, from Italy’s “Politecnico di Torino, Dipartimento di Architettura e Design” is of immense importance though still largely unknown. Systems Design will aim to reconfigure a current value system, which can be an organisation, a company, a neighbourhood, an industrial process, a region, etc., to allow the enhancement of profit and operating area of that system, and develop new clusters of economic activity.
Systems design helps you to move from the current linear way of looking, to a systemic one. It considers current production and consumption systems, recognising their limits and constraints and proposes to redesign the flow of goods and energy and revisit the full value system.
I am very appreciative to prof. Gino Bistagnino and Sylvia Barbero for sharing their work and invaluable experience and insight in this topic of deep change.
Back in the 90’s, the work of prof. Peter Senge was a forerunner to make science and engineering meet “the human factor”. An engineer by training, prof. Senge became a major figure in organizational development. With the book “The Dance of Change: The Challenges to Sustaining Momentum in Learning Organizations (March 1999)”, co-authored by George Roth, we find this link that, though new at the time, intuitively made full sense. Today, many years later, professor Senge is Senior Lecturer in Leadership and Sustainability at MIT (US).
In control systems, the human factor is oversimplified or considered linear (deterministic), if not simply ignored. When instead we adopt a systemic, less mechanistic approach to human processes (R&D, innovation or change in organisations), we can unleash a potential already present in the group or organization. It taps into the creative capacity of the group and can enable the identification of solutions that do not exist yet.
We believe that the capacity of all teams to create and to find solutions is immense. This is why Camila gives much importance to accompanying change, facilitating interactive workshops and other moments of learning and exchange, through co-creation, collaboration and sharing a systemic way of thinking.
Studying the work of Fritjof Capra, a Vienna-born physicist and systems theorist, was a turning point. His work could not have been more significant. Capra has the rare capacity to comprehensively convey the work from many different scientists into an in-depth, all-embracing unity. In his work he explains the connection between different disciplines and makes the case for a holistic approach, not only to science but also to life as a whole. He has demonstrated this once again in his most recent book, the Systems View of Life.
Prof. Fritjof Capra makes the connection between aspects such as science (natural, mathematical, cognitive, physics, etc.), business and the process of learning itself, a connection that is considered essential for our work on Systemic Innovation.
“Control systems” is a specialisation with Master degrees in both mechanical engineering and electrical engineering. It is the discipline that applies mathematics to model complex systems, helping to describe and understand these systems. It is applicable to a large variety of fields, from the process industry, health, banking and also climate change.
A key takeaway from this master’s degree is the understanding of what defines a ‘good’ model: This is not a complicated model that tries to take everything into account. It is the one where the right choice of parameters is made, seeking simplicity and based on the purpose of the model (there is not one model for all answers). We cannot reproduce the full complexity of a natural process through mathematical models, but merely a best interpretation. However complex and intelligent modelling may be. Scientists such as Ilya Prigogine provide better insights in this concept.
The understanding of complex system makes it evident for us to understand how a systemic approach can lead to 1+1=3… Systems modelling can help us develop new clusters of local economic development. New comprehensive tools are developed to help demonstrate its strengths and value and help build and design new systems.
Bottom of the Pyramid (BoP) strategies was created by the late C.K. Prahalad. It offers powerful insights in innovation and value creation. BoP recognises the huge gap in consumer good products between the offer, aimed at the upper and middle class part of the world population and the demand, which is basically everyone and thus includes the low-income part of the population which makes up the 3 billion people who live on less than say $2.50 per day. To develop products and services for this segment not only requires out of the box thinking, but more specifically an empathetic mindset and deep insight into consumer-needs. It is quite different to how marketing has evolved over the last decades and generations.
This strategy values alternatives to the prevailing business mindset and looks towards non-conventional ways of thinking in order to find new solutions across the value chain. Today other similar concepts have evolved, such as frugal innovation, Jugaad, Inclusive Businesses and more, further recognising how out of the box thinking helps find new innovative solutions…
A specialist for many years, we contributed to the global strategy at a global food company for its segment covering both the BoP and emerging middle-class consumers, providing a benchmark and competitive analysis. The strategy covers the full value chain, including marketing, supply-chain, production facilities and product development.
The Blue Ocean strategy was developed by 2 professors from INSEAD, France. This strategy makes the case how “companies can succeed, not by battling competitors, but rather by creating ″blue oceans of uncontested market space″”. In other words, instead of focusing on your competition and fighting this head-on, an arguably better way to successfully generate value is by developing a value proposition that responds to what people give significance to and does not yet exist in the market. Not only may this develop a new product or service. You may even create a new market. The tools this strategy provides help identify and develop such value propositions. It is also a perfect tool for the implementation of disruptive innovations.
We share the common objective to develop value (products and services) that may not yet exist and to meet needs (solve problems) in a way that is not yet done. The shared conviction is that new points of view and new products are indeed best to generate new value. We add the view of the limitless opportunities that are offered when we work with what nature already provides. If we are able to tap into the unlimited resources of nature, imagine the unlimited value we may generate…
Sustainable change needs to be accompanied with impactful business solutions. The executive MBA at HEC (Paris) provides the understanding of what currently drives business, in order to help develop solutions for tomorrow that respond to the future challenges and conditions.
Business is about monetary value. It is also about developing “value” through “activities”. We like to keep in mind that there are more than one ways to unlock “value” from “activities” and to drive an economy.
Our focus is on developing value propositions where we believe most value can be created. This is supported by a rich operational experience in factory engineering and IT implementations, as well as in marketing and entrepreneurship. Familiarised with organisations of all sizes and having worked with most departments within an organization provides a deep understanding to work with each part of an organisation.
The Blue Economy
A main source of inspiration for our work is found in the Blue Economy. The origins of the Blue Economy, created by prof. Gunter Pauli, are found in the ZERI (Zero Emissions Research and Initiatives) Foundation, equally created by prof. Pauli. This philosophy is based on abundance, on a world that does not consider waste as waste.
It is inspired by nature and seeks to work with nature, such as we find in the Circular Economy and Biomimicry.
Do not ask nature to give more, but do more with what nature already gives. (Gunter Pauli)
But there’s more. There is bound to be more to be able to realize something we all may agree with, but we know is not easy to built… (otherwise we would already have done it).
As long as we think we can only do what has already been done, we will never do better than those who taught us (free interpretation of Gunter Pauli). So when we acknowledge that the world today is not the same as what it was a few generations ago, and that the challenges for our companies are different to what they have undergone so far, then we may understand we have the obligation to work on solutions in a way that was not done before.
With Systemic Innovation we know that we can do more to:
- innovate new products
- adapt business models to become more prosperous
- lead organisations where people are happy to work for
If we are to contribute to creating viable business solutions, we need to develop our capacity to adapt. We need to adapt at the speed required, which is increasingly fast, though understand that some changes require more time than others. And we need to adapt with wisdom, because it’s not about simply changing but about what you are changing to. So making the right choices is key. We believe this is best done through connection: connecting action with thought, connecting disciplines, connecting people and connecting with the resources around us.
You can discover more about the Blue Economy and its founder, Gunter Pauli, here:
Encounters of the Circular Economy – Quimper, Brittany, France
A new competitive model for the mining sector