2008/07/17 15:30 Special Integration Group on Systems Applications in Business and Industry, ISSS Madison 2008

ISSS Madison 2008, 52nd Annual Meeting of the International Society for the Systems Sciences

This digest was created in real-time duringthe meeting, based on the speaker's presentation(s) and comments from the audience. The content should not be viewed as an official transcript of the meeting, but only as an interpretation by a single individual. Lapses, grammatical errors, and typing mistakes may not have been corrected. Questions about content should be directed to the originator. The digest has been made available for purposes of scholarship, posted on the ISSS web site by David Ing.

Chaired by David Ing

Two presenters

  • Allenna Leonard
  • Jerome Galbrun and Kyoichi Kijima (

Allenna Leonard

Viable systems model

Symbiosis:  No exchange

Some obligate:  they won't live otherwise

Luminescent bacteria in squid, let hosts see in the dark

Equivalent in business?

  • The arts
  • Soft power empires
  • Trading nodes
  • Venice wasn't a predator, although people who came to trade might feel like prey

Gobi fish can see, shrimp can't; shrimp can dig holes for both

Sponges and crabs

Business applications:

  • Shops gathering in a mall
  • Nature doesn't have waste, it's an input into something else

Where might this fail?  Coupled, either loosely or tightly

  • Have a lot of relationships only coupled by money
  • Social injustice can lead to instability

Supply chain could be important, as symbiotic

Human animal coupling: early human enjoy company of dogs, and dogs provide defence and policing with perceptual acuity

  • Combining strengths
  • Potential in business relationships


Intrigued by example of the shopping mall, not a good example

  • Takes more energy than it provides
  • Rotation of businesses going in and out of business

Bringing people into a market isn't the same as imposing something

  • Symbiosis as an enhancement of variety

Symbiosis versus mutual cooperation?

  • Tighter coupling, means living together, often requirement for survival
  • Mutual cooperation is voluntary

Implication?  More organic development

  • Could enhance viability, due to redundancy
  • Biological examples provide resilience
  • e.g. algae does photosynthesis, hydra

Examples from nature:  not viable alone


  • Mutualism, commensuralism, parasitism

Businesses are all voluntary

Kropotkin, concerned with Darwin, wrote mutual aid

  • Enemies lie down together, depends on environmental conditions

Symbiotic development as a business direction?

Jerome Galbrun and Kyoichi Kijima

Deep dive on healthcare

Business oligopolies as complex systems

  • Interactions with institutions
  • Interactions drive technological regime changes

Context: big players (oligopolies) -- how I can grow faster than others

Systems approach: emergence of a super-player

How should one firm know better than another?  Managerial cognition

  • Super-player is able to do the right selection

Managerial cognition from Herbert Simon, boundedly rational

  • Role of manager is in being in the right network to get the innovation

Would like to do some more research on coevolution and coproduction



Keystone species?

Directed correlation in healthcare industry