Open AccessArticle
Structure and Superstructures in Complex Social Systems
Systems 2017, 5(2), 28; doi:10.3390/systems5020028 (registering DOI) -
Abstract
In classical sociology, there is a sharp separation between the superstructure reflecting cultural ideals and the concrete Structural Base (SB). The authors hypothesize a Doxical Superstructure (DS) in its own space at a higher level, containing concepts such as completeness, necessity and possibility
[...] Read more.
In classical sociology, there is a sharp separation between the superstructure reflecting cultural ideals and the concrete Structural Base (SB). The authors hypothesize a Doxical Superstructure (DS) in its own space at a higher level, containing concepts such as completeness, necessity and possibility associated with abstract concepts like beliefs, ethics, knowledge, relations and science. The DS or image (DS-image) is defined as the “explanation” (for the Subject-agent) of the Structural Base. A Mythical Superstructure (MS) is defined as a third superstructure. An analysis is carried out on the Structural Base. Concepts or denotative significances (d-significances) are defined for SB deontic relations. Alethic properties (existence, completeness, possibility and necessity) and deontic properties (permission, obligation and choice) of deontic relations are introduced, defined, and examined in relation to the Ideological Doxical Superstructure (IDS), including Meinong objects (thoughts, feelings and desires). Full article
Open AccessArticle
Assessing the Regional Innovation System’s Absorptive Capacity: The Approach of a Smart Region in a Small Country
Systems 2017, 5(2), 27; doi:10.3390/systems5020027 -
Abstract
Vitality of a smart region depends on the network of closely interconnected actors (individuals and institutions) seeking common goals of development and their capacities to ensure effective knowledge creation and exploitation. This network (a regional innovation system (RIS)) empowers processes of absorptive capacity—knowledge
[...] Read more.
Vitality of a smart region depends on the network of closely interconnected actors (individuals and institutions) seeking common goals of development and their capacities to ensure effective knowledge creation and exploitation. This network (a regional innovation system (RIS)) empowers processes of absorptive capacity—knowledge access, anchoring and diffusion, contributing to regional innovativeness and competitiveness. Absorptive capacity is considered an important object of scientific research. However, there is still a lack of research providing specific tools that are adaptable for assessing the regional absorptive capacity in a small country. Existing differences among countries and even regions inside a small country require adjusted and modified methods and instruments. Consequently, the goal of this research is to present and substantiate the methodological approach of assessing the RIS's absorptive capacity giving evidence from a smart region (Kaunas County) of a small country (Lithuania). The mixed-method approach of the research (combining qualitative and quantitative research strategies) was used to substantiate the presented methodological approach. A smart region of a small country can be characterized by a denser institutional infrastructure and higher results (outcomes) of innovative activities. Smartness of the region can be understood as a consequence of the higher level of absorptive capacity. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Systems Research and the Quest for Scientific Systems Principles
Systems 2017, 5(2), 25; doi:10.3390/systems5020025 -
Abstract
Systems Research formally originated in the 1950s, but a scientific understanding of systemness is still nascent. This shortcoming produces significant risks for complex systems engineering and practice. Current “systems principles” are qualitative heuristics, and systems science is scientific more in attitude than because
[...] Read more.
Systems Research formally originated in the 1950s, but a scientific understanding of systemness is still nascent. This shortcoming produces significant risks for complex systems engineering and practice. Current “systems principles” are qualitative heuristics, and systems science is scientific more in attitude than because of any grounding in systems principles employing clear and quantifiable concepts. In this paper, I propose that a model of how principles and laws are understood across the specialized sciences can, when applied to systems science, open up new ways to discover systems principles. This approach has led to the identification of six new avenues for discovering systems principles. In this paper I explain one of these research avenues (which leverages the maturation profile of the specialized sciences) in detail, and reference active projects to pursue others. The research approach advocated in this paper has the potential to lead to a new perspective on the nature of and relationship between systems science and systems engineering. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Mongolia, Modernity, Systems + Solutions: Questing Holistic Design + Planning Strategies for a Brighter Tomorrow
Systems 2017, 5(2), 26; doi:10.3390/systems5020026 -
Abstract
Mongolia is a unique nation underpinned by rich history, spectacular landscapes, rich culture and deep spirituality. It is also a country grappling with change, modernization, growth and governance. The author has been extensively engaged, over many years, in research and consulting in this
[...] Read more.
Mongolia is a unique nation underpinned by rich history, spectacular landscapes, rich culture and deep spirituality. It is also a country grappling with change, modernization, growth and governance. The author has been extensively engaged, over many years, in research and consulting in this interesting milieu, including architectural design, city planning, informal settlements and poverty reduction. Building from an innovative integrative framework (Sinclair 2009) for design and planning, the present paper explores the challenges of realizing progress in Mongolia through the lens of systems thinking. In particular, the author critically examines parameters that inform and inspire the development of guidelines to aid in more effective reconsideration, reform and redesign of the urban fabric. A key dimension of the research centers on ethnographic methods, with sensitivities focused on the needs, desires and aspirations of the local community. Many efforts to modernize, advance and develop nations are hamstrung through fragmentation, specialization, narrow agendas and an inability to see the broader picture. The current speculative proposition aims to connect the dots—intentionally pursuing interdisciplinary and interconnected ways of seeing, thinking and acting. While not directly providing answers to questions about the next steps on Mongolia’s path, the author builds and delineates ways of knowing that can support such answers and inform such steps. The main goal of the paper is to consider the complicated ethos in more systemic, holistic, overarching and impactful ways. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessReview
Research Challenges for the Internet of Things: What Role Can OR Play?
Systems 2017, 5(1), 24; doi:10.3390/systems5010024 -
Abstract
The Internet of Things (IoT) is an extension of the Internet in which large numbers of “things”, including sensors, actuators and processors, in addition to human users, are networked and able to provide high resolution data on their environment and exercise a degree
[...] Read more.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is an extension of the Internet in which large numbers of “things”, including sensors, actuators and processors, in addition to human users, are networked and able to provide high resolution data on their environment and exercise a degree of control over it. It is still at an early stage of development, and many problems/research challenges must be solved before it is widely adopted. Many of these are technical, including interoperability and scalability, as billions of heterogeneous devices will be connected, but deciding on how to invest in the IoT is a challenge for business, and there are also major social, legal and ethical challenges, including security and privacy of data collection, which must be resolved. As the future IoT will be a multi-national, multi-industry, multi-technology infrastructure, the paper reviews the global standardization efforts that are underway to facilitate its worldwide creation and adoption. The main purpose of the paper is to give a broad survey, based on published literature, of the methods of Operations Research (OR), both the mathematical tools and techniques of “hard” OR, and the various approaches of Systems Thinking, including “soft” OR, which may assist in dealing with these problems. A subset of these is described in greater depth to better convey what might be involved in applying OR and Systems Thinking to the IoT. It is suggested that OR has a role to play in balancing the technical and non-technical research challenges which confront the IoT. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
From Systems to Organisations
Systems 2017, 5(1), 23; doi:10.3390/systems5010023 -
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Apithology Systems Inquiry: Evaluation from a Generativist Ontology
Systems 2017, 5(1), 22; doi:10.3390/systems5010022 -
Abstract
The ontological premise of a systems research philosophy raises some unique questions about research efficacy. The study of the relations between abstract objects in bounded contexts places systems inquiry into a specific research category. Different systems research paradigms deal with the question of
[...] Read more.
The ontological premise of a systems research philosophy raises some unique questions about research efficacy. The study of the relations between abstract objects in bounded contexts places systems inquiry into a specific research category. Different systems research paradigms deal with the question of research evaluation distinctively. This article examines the defining criteria for the evaluation of systems research within a generativist systems ontology. Three criteria to inform the design of generativist systems research are proposed. Their use is illustrated for the generativist systems research discipline of apithology. The proposed criteria of research validity, credibility and reliability generate a fourth criterion: systems research veracity. A heuristic for discerning the results of a generativist research design prior to its commencement is provided by an apithology triptych. The benefit of this approach is to enable the design of research of relevance, significance and importance that leads naturally to apithology systems research of consequence. Full article
Open AccessArticle
What Are Ideological Systems?
Systems 2017, 5(1), 21; doi:10.3390/systems5010021 -
Abstract
Ideology is a systemic property of cognition central to the transmission and actualization of beliefs. Ideologies take many forms including religious, philosophical, popular and scientific. They play a central role in both personal identity and in the way society holds itself together. Therefore,
[...] Read more.
Ideology is a systemic property of cognition central to the transmission and actualization of beliefs. Ideologies take many forms including religious, philosophical, popular and scientific. They play a central role in both personal identity and in the way society holds itself together. Therefore, it is important to understand how to model identities. The article introduces ideologies as a function of cognition that have been described by political scientists and critical theorists. There follows a typology of ideologies that shows their increasing complexity as societies develop. These considerations lead to the identification of key elements and variables in an ideology that can be expressed mathematically together with some of their systemic relations. These variables may be used to estimate the validation of ideologies. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessConcept Paper
The Role of Analytical Frameworks for Systemic Research Design, Explained in the Analysis of Drivers and Dynamics of Historic Land-Use Changes
Systems 2017, 5(1), 20; doi:10.3390/systems5010020 -
Abstract
Analytical frameworks provide the basic vocabulary of concepts and terms that may be used to construct the kinds of causal explanations expected of a theory. In addition, framework-based approaches are applied as a way of dealing with the complexity that arises in situations
[...] Read more.
Analytical frameworks provide the basic vocabulary of concepts and terms that may be used to construct the kinds of causal explanations expected of a theory. In addition, framework-based approaches are applied as a way of dealing with the complexity that arises in situations involving human interactions with the environment. This paper presents an example of an application of the “Analytical Framework for a Systemic Analysis of Drivers and Dynamics of Historical Land-Use Changes” with the purpose of showing the role of the selected analytical framework in the design of systemic research, namely as it is conceived and as it develops over time. This analytical framework helps to organize research by linking the theoretical questions to the empirical analysis, while serving as a platform for the construction of theoretical explanations, which represent the flow of knowledge in various contexts and conditions. In the context of systems research, the combination of an analytical framework with grounded theory approaches may allow researchers to achieve both creative thinking and novel outcomes, without losing a certain degree of coherence. We also hope to understand the real motives behind decision-making and dynamics of space and time in order to support the design of policies that take into account local differences. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Research vs. Practice on Manufacturing Firms’ Servitization Strategies: A Gap Analysis and Research Agenda
Systems 2017, 5(1), 19; doi:10.3390/systems5010019 -
Abstract
Servitization in the manufacturing industry implies a shift from an offer based mainly on standard goods, to a wider value proposition composed of solutions aimed at solving specific customers’ problems, obtained by integrating tangible and intangible elements. The purpose of this paper is
[...] Read more.
Servitization in the manufacturing industry implies a shift from an offer based mainly on standard goods, to a wider value proposition composed of solutions aimed at solving specific customers’ problems, obtained by integrating tangible and intangible elements. The purpose of this paper is to investigate the servitization strategies of manufacturing firms, more specifically about: (i) how manufacturing companies move toward servitization (servitization pattern); (ii) how they achieve the capabilities needed; and (iii) which factors enable this transition. We did so by comparing the state of the art of academic research with a qualified sample of case studies of global companies that famously improved their competitiveness by shifting from products to solutions. The results show some gaps between research and practice, concerning in particular: the impact (either transformational or integrative) of servitization on the manufacturing organization; the role of financial resources in shaping the capability achievement strategy, particularly for external acquisitions, and; the role of servitization enablers poorly considered by the extant literature, such as time, leadership and continuity, operational excellence and digital technologies. These findings lead to the definition of seven formalized research directions, thus outlining an agenda for future research. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
The Techno-Politics of Data and Smart Devolution in City-Regions: Comparing Glasgow, Bristol, Barcelona, and Bilbao
Systems 2017, 5(1), 18; doi:10.3390/systems5010018 -
Abstract
This paper explores the substantial effect that the critical understanding and techno-political consideration of data are having in some smart city strategies. Particularly, the paper presents some results of a comparative study of four cases of smart city transitions: Glasgow, Bristol, Barcelona, and
[...] Read more.
This paper explores the substantial effect that the critical understanding and techno-political consideration of data are having in some smart city strategies. Particularly, the paper presents some results of a comparative study of four cases of smart city transitions: Glasgow, Bristol, Barcelona, and Bilbao. Likewise, considering how relevant the city-regional path-dependency is in each territorial context, the paper will elucidate the notion of smart devolution as a key governance component that is enabling some cities to formulate their own smart city-regional governance policies and implement them by considering the role of the smart citizens as decision makers rather than mere data providers. The paper concludes by identifying an implicit smart city-regional governance strategy for each case based on the techno-politics of data and smart devolution. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
A Balance Paradigm for Post-Plutocracy: Toward Sustainable Development with Integral Harmony
Systems 2017, 5(1), 16; doi:10.3390/systems5010016 -
Abstract
For a sustainable human future, a rapid paradigm shift is a must from the prevailing “Explosion Paradigm” to a more reasonable “Balance Paradigm” by means of constantly enriching the existing diverse society-specific holistic cultures (“Cultures”). This means inviting a new age of balanced
[...] Read more.
For a sustainable human future, a rapid paradigm shift is a must from the prevailing “Explosion Paradigm” to a more reasonable “Balance Paradigm” by means of constantly enriching the existing diverse society-specific holistic cultures (“Cultures”). This means inviting a new age of balanced and integrated socio-economic systems worldwide with the help of the most important human common property—diverse Cultures. Generally speaking, each Culture has been deeply interwoven with its social value system, belief system, natural-social environments, and experience-based knowledge and wisdom. Such Cultures all over the world, however, have been mostly devastated by the modern ideology of lopsided market fundamentalism (“Market”) that has favored the plutocracy-driven power structure (“Big Market”) of the world. In order to seek a sustainable future by achieving the paradigm shift, the devastated diverse Cultures need to be restored, invigorated and enriched by long-term worldwide collaborations. For such a purpose, we cannot rely totally on the existing line of modern thoughts and theories of economics and other disciplines. Therefore, the present article introduces an alternative theoretical framework of balanced socio-economic development, which is argued for on the assumption of respectively and differently enriched diverse Cultures. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Formal Proof of the Dependable Bypassing Routing Algorithm Suitable for Adaptive Networks on Chip QnoC Architecture
Systems 2017, 5(1), 17; doi:10.3390/systems5010017 -
Abstract
Approaches for the design of fault tolerant Network-on-Chip (NoC) for use in System-on-Chip (SoC) reconfigurable technology using Field-Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) technology are challenging, especially in Multiprocessor System-on-Chip (MPSoC) design. To achieve this, the use of rigorous formal approaches, based on incremental design
[...] Read more.
Approaches for the design of fault tolerant Network-on-Chip (NoC) for use in System-on-Chip (SoC) reconfigurable technology using Field-Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) technology are challenging, especially in Multiprocessor System-on-Chip (MPSoC) design. To achieve this, the use of rigorous formal approaches, based on incremental design and proof theory, has become an essential step in the validation process. The Event-B method is a promising formal approach that can be used to develop, model and prove accurately SoC and MPSoC architectures. This paper proposes a formal verification approach for NoC architecture including the dependability constraints relating to the choice of the path routing of data packets and the strategy imposed for diversion when faulty routers are detected. The formalization process is incremental and validated by correct-by-construction development of the NoC architecture. Using the concepts of graph colouring and B-event formalism, the results obtained have demonstrated its efficiency for determining the bugs, and a solution to ensure a fast and reliable operation of the network when compared to existing similar methods. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessConcept Paper
Transdisciplinarity Needs Systemism
Systems 2017, 5(1), 15; doi:10.3390/systems5010015 -
Abstract
The main message of this paper is that systemism is best suited for transdisciplinary studies. A description of disciplinary sciences, transdisciplinary sciences and systems sciences is given, along with their different definitions of aims, scope and tools. The rationale for transdisciplinarity is global
[...] Read more.
The main message of this paper is that systemism is best suited for transdisciplinary studies. A description of disciplinary sciences, transdisciplinary sciences and systems sciences is given, along with their different definitions of aims, scope and tools. The rationale for transdisciplinarity is global challenges, which are complex. The rationale for systemism is the concretization of understanding complexity. Drawing upon Ludwig von Bertalanffy’s intention of a General System Theory, three items deserve attention—the world-view of a synergistic systems technology, the world picture of an emergentist systems theory, and the way of thinking of an integrationist systems method. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessReview
Systems Engineering in Front-End Governance of Major Public Investment Projects
Systems 2017, 5(1), 13; doi:10.3390/systems5010013 -
Abstract
This paper provides an account of how systems engineering principles are applied by the Norwegian government to improve up-front planning and decision-making of large public investment projects, as well as the effect of these efforts after 15 years of operations. It suggests that
[...] Read more.
This paper provides an account of how systems engineering principles are applied by the Norwegian government to improve up-front planning and decision-making of large public investment projects, as well as the effect of these efforts after 15 years of operations. It suggests that the results are promising, both in securing budgetary compliance, but also to ensure conceptual solutions that are economically viable in a life-time perspective. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Analysis of Integrating a Production Design Generator with a Business Decision Support System for System-Level Decision Making
Systems 2017, 5(1), 14; doi:10.3390/systems5010014 -
Abstract
Decision support systems (DSSs) are used to enhance decision making speed and effectiveness. However, without a view of the entire system, any decision may have unanticipated effects, such as sub-optimal outcomes. This paper explores the benefits of applying a DSS over the analysis
[...] Read more.
Decision support systems (DSSs) are used to enhance decision making speed and effectiveness. However, without a view of the entire system, any decision may have unanticipated effects, such as sub-optimal outcomes. This paper explores the benefits of applying a DSS over the analysis of unprocessed data and the effectiveness of integrating a product design generator (PDG) with a business DSS where system-level effects can be analyzed. Using survey questions and recording decision makers’ actions, it was found that decision makers are significantly faster and came to better conclusions when using the DSS over unprocessed data. However, it was also seen that the difference between the two variants of the system DSS that were used for testing was insignificant. Overall, this research shows that having a system-level tool is better than the unprocessed data and that large differences in a DSS are required for improvement between them. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Complexity Triggered by Economic Globalisation— The Issue of On-Line Betting-Related Match Fixing
Systems 2017, 5(1), 12; doi:10.3390/systems5010012 -
Abstract
Complexity in mainstream economics consists in high intermediary consumption of mathematics. A new approach to complexity economics dwells upon path-dependent global systems; their emergence and evolving organisation. The focus here is on the complexity of the real economic world due to globalisation. On-line
[...] Read more.
Complexity in mainstream economics consists in high intermediary consumption of mathematics. A new approach to complexity economics dwells upon path-dependent global systems; their emergence and evolving organisation. The focus here is on the complexity of the real economic world due to globalisation. On-line betting related match-fixing is a case in point about which the article presents non-exhaustive empirical evidence and shows how it is analysed with the standard model of the economics of crime. There is no room for complexity in such an individualistic approach to corrupt behaviour applied to bet-related fixes. A more complex model is sketched based on interactions between a global (though underground) market for fixes and the actual partly legal, partly illegal global sport betting market. These interactions exhibit how complex is the issue of combating betting-related match fixing. Reviewing those major policies envisaged for containing the latter—prohibition; sanctions; regulation; privatisation (betting rights)—the article opts for a global ‘Sportbettobin’ tax on sport betting gains; in the same vein as the famous Tobin tax on international capital transfers. The novelty in this approach is a variable (increasing) rate applied to increasing tranches of taxation (gains) which should dry up the worst cases of on-line bettingrelated match fixing. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Reaction Networks as a Language for Systemic Modeling: Fundamentals and Examples
Systems 2017, 5(1), 11; doi:10.3390/systems5010011 -
Abstract
The basic processes that bring about living systems are conventionally represented in the framework of chemical reaction networks. Recently, it has been proposed that this framework can be exploited for studying various other phenomena. Reaction networks are specially suited for representing situations where
[...] Read more.
The basic processes that bring about living systems are conventionally represented in the framework of chemical reaction networks. Recently, it has been proposed that this framework can be exploited for studying various other phenomena. Reaction networks are specially suited for representing situations where different types of entities interact in contextual ways leading to the emergence of meta-structures. At an abstract level, a reaction network represents a universe whose evolution corresponds to the transformation of collections of entities into other collections of entities. Hence, we propose that systems correspond to the sub-networks that are stable enough to be observed. In this article, we discuss how to use reaction networks for representing systems. Namely, we introduce the different representational levels available (relational, stoichiometric, and kinetic), we show how to identify observable systems in the reaction network, discuss some relevant systemic notions such as context, emergence, and meta-system, and present some examples. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessConcept Paper
New Resource-Wise Planning Strategies for Smart Urban-Rural Development in Finland
Systems 2017, 5(1), 10; doi:10.3390/systems5010010 -
Abstract
This article discusses the opportunities and challenges for resource-wise development strategies in regional planning. Spatial planning integrates the key aspects, transportation, housing, and food production which are, on many occasions, stated as the most significant consumption factors causing environmental impacts. In light of
[...] Read more.
This article discusses the opportunities and challenges for resource-wise development strategies in regional planning. Spatial planning integrates the key aspects, transportation, housing, and food production which are, on many occasions, stated as the most significant consumption factors causing environmental impacts. In light of the challenges that regions are currently facing in Finland, we are drawing attention to the role of strategic spatial planning as demand-responsive resource management, a theme which is still inadequately addressed within regional development and planning in Finland. In many other fields of society, innovative data-based products and demand- and user-driven services are considered important sources of success in the future. Such strategies combine different types of service providers, like deliveries for groceries or restaurant meals, mobile healthcare services, or public transport with on-demand services. We highlight the fact that a regionally large and sparsely populated country, such as Finland, cannot achieve success solely through centralisation. Instead, smart networking, co-creation, and innovative cyber-physical solutions are vital for the utilisation of the entire country’s resource potentiality. In conclusion, we underpin the need for a framework, which would offer a strategic support scheme for resource-wise development, resource optimization, and closure of yield gaps. In our view it is necessary to begin to envision, strategise, and develop user- and demand-responsive development strategies with a specific aim for sustainable, resource-wise ways of life in northern regions, also outside the growing urban centres, and innovate solutions that help individuals, communities, and the whole society to renew and manage resources wisely. Full article
Open AccessArticle
A Hierarchal Risk Assessment Model Using the Evidential Reasoning Rule
Systems 2017, 5(1), 9; doi:10.3390/systems5010009 -
Abstract
This paper aims to develop a hierarchical risk assessment model using the newly-developed evidential reasoning (ER) rule, which constitutes a generic conjunctive probabilistic reasoning process. In this paper, we first provide a brief introduction to the basics of the ER rule and emphasize
[...] Read more.
This paper aims to develop a hierarchical risk assessment model using the newly-developed evidential reasoning (ER) rule, which constitutes a generic conjunctive probabilistic reasoning process. In this paper, we first provide a brief introduction to the basics of the ER rule and emphasize the strengths for representing and aggregating uncertain information from multiple experts and sources. Further, we discuss the key steps of developing the hierarchical risk assessment framework systematically, including (1) formulation of risk assessment hierarchy; (2) representation of both qualitative and quantitative information; (3) elicitation of attribute weights and information reliabilities; (4) aggregation of assessment information using the ER rule and (5) quantification and ranking of risks using utility-based transformation. The proposed hierarchical risk assessment framework can potentially be implemented to various complex and uncertain systems. A case study on the fire/explosion risk assessment of marine vessels demonstrates the applicability of the proposed risk assessment model. Full article
Figures

Figure 1