The case studies and context in the book cover a decade from 2001 to 2011. This writing was done much as a shadow, 5 years after the histories had settled into stories that could be related to others.

In that decade, I was an employee of IBM Canada, with formal assignments extending to customer teams residing in the United States. Further, I was an active participant in mutual learning with colleagues globally, collaborating on projects and in communities via online forms, email and real time chat. I am sometimes asked whether this writing includes any confidential data. I assert that there is nothing in this book that 400,000 other IBM employees couldn't also know. Many of their names are now inscribed on these pages, in their contributions towards learning and innovating.

In my assignment to the IBM Advanced Business Institute, Al Barnes provided a home for continuing research after a First-of-a-Kind project was wound down. Stephan Haeckel set me on the course of appreciating systems thinking, as he was completing the Adaptive Enterprise book. The teach team of Marianne Kosits, Bob Keiser and Pat Brown showed me the art of guiding customer executives to be slightly uncomfortable with revolutionary ideas in managing business with new technologies, while remaining engaged and enthusiastic for the education they provided. Ian Simmonds at IBM Research Yorktown saw the art in the science in our collaborative inquiries, as experimental tools influenced new ways of working. Taking the Adaptive Enterprise framework into practice was a highlight in a client consulting engagement with Michael Karchov, Mike Wittenstein and Brad Long.

Returning back to IBM Global Business Services in Canada, Greg Lowes was a nurturing manager who enculturated practice leaders with the way-out work that I was trying to do. Long-time friend Joe Arteaga again became a colleague and mentor in navigating the practicalities of a consulting business in Canada. The business architecture community leads of Doug McDavid, Martin Gladwell and Dav Bisessar encouraged the formation of the blog at where my writing has continued, a decade later. During this time, Jim Spohrer welcomed me into the service sciences community, and now the new field of cognitive opentech.

In the assignment to IBM Industry Solutions, Mary Ellen Mulvey and Bill Liebler were creative in transitioning me to a permanent part-time position attempting to balance my day job with the external research. Antonio Fazzalari later buffered me back in the return back to a full-time role. Charlie Matheson and Greg Pizzuti deployed me onto customers in the media and entertainment industry as workflows based on analog media went digital. Alison Olesksiak and Stephen Brickell placed me into collaborative teams with governments looking into smarter cities and the adoption of social media.

In parallel over the decade, my involvement with the systems sciences community offered me a view of larger changes in the world. As a trustee of the International Society for the Systems Sciences, G.A. Swanson extended the longevity of a professional organization founded in the 1950s for subsequent generations to build on prior wisdom. Jennifer Wilby deepened my involvement with the ISSS and the University of Hull. Gary S. Metcalf connected me to the larger international community of systemicists and cyberneticians. David L. Hawk has been a gateway to the dynamics amongst systems thinking luminaries in the 1970s through 1990s, with a sense of humour on the human condition. Continuing collaboration with Minna Takala led me to visit Finland, putting me to work on projects that matter. Kyoichi Jim Kijima and Hiroshi Deguchi led a decade of symposiums on service systems science, affording the richness of in-person knowledge development.

At Aalto University, Eila Järvenpää has been a patient Ph.D. supervisor for a graduate student who has been distracted from completing his studies multiple times. Simo Makkonen was generous in providing initial lodging for an itinerant scholar getting oriented to Finland. Karlos Artto lent me a deeper appreciation of Finnish culture and customs over many long dinner conversations. Taina Tukiainen showed how a new program at a university of applied sciences could break down barriers between current practice and developing theory. In the earliest days of the master’s program in Creative Sustainability, Aija Staffans and Katri-Liisa Pulkkinen molded me into the Finnish style of leading graduate students, as we piloted two new courses on systems thinking. In the later days of that program, Susu Nousala and Tiina Laurila evolved the courses to not only maintain their theoretical richness, but to also be more digestible to learners transforming their mindsets in a matter of months.

Special thanks go to the only person to have endured reading every version of this manuscript: David Hawk. He advised on the writing, as the style progressed from more academic, to more readable, and then more academic again. I have enjoyed multiple visits to Iowa, where time takes a different pace from my normal urban life at home.

In the time that it’s taken for this book to culminate, my four sons entered university, graduated, and are in productive careers. Adam, Eric, Noah and Ryan are always enthusiastic and skeptical critics at the dinner table.

Mostly, I dedicate this book to my spouse Diana. In 1984, she met a graduate student dropping out of university in Vancouver, and took a chance to start a new life together in Toronto. In 2017, she’s still married to a graduate student who has not yet completed his final degree.



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