Wholophilia of the LIPS

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Essence.pdf (210 KB)

As human beings we all (well almost all) do the following:

1. Learn & Decide
2. Innovate & Play
3. Plan & Change
3. Create Systems

The beautiful and enticing acronym for this is LIPS (Learn, Innovate, Plan and Create Systems)

But are there methods to do these essential activities effectively on a regular basis?

The Principles of System Thinking and Design Thinking provide the way forward. For example, we can learn and decide about anything through System Thinking. Innovate and Play through Design Thinking. Plan and change through Design and System Thinking and then create new systems through System Thinking.

In this way Design Thinking and System are inseparably linked. One is rooted to the other. However, describing it in this way creates confusion as it appears rather paradoxical. My friend  Vlad (Vlad Kunko a great designer in his own right) actually helped me out of this confusion by terming this as 'Wholophilia' which is a great and appropriate term to use. It means that we explore any issue in a holistic manner but we do so in two different ways which are integrated. We do this by exploring the whole as a prerequisite for systems thinking, and as a manifestation of design thinking & action.

In other words, it focuses on design or creativity as the holistic unison of aesthetics and spirituality, beauty and structure, form and the essence, order and chaos, discipline and love and provides a context for rigorous inquiry into wholeness materialized into solutions through the act of design.

Vlad states this in his unique style (exactly as he wrote to me): "Co-evolution of understanding and meaning making / memory and concept / Enkidu and Gilgamesh / Dionysius and Apollo / yesterday and tomorrow / autopoietic immanence and enaction … nicely done Dibyendu — a Whole Person approach for living Whole Systems Design … Wholophilia … "

Let us make it simpler. Wholophilia helps us to understand problems as a whole and create new solutions that help sustain the purpose of the system without causing any short or long term unintended consequences for life and living.

The simplest way to apply Wholophilia is to think in terms of 'Emergence' and 'Essence'.

Emergence is what we can see and feel. It is the 'Shakti' or the 'Yang'. It is the manifested pattern in 'Space' and 'Time'.

Essence is the relationship that helps the manifestation or the Emergence to take place. Essence is invisible though one can feel it. It is the 'Shiva' or 'Yin' It is the energy that holds things together. It is timeless and not limited by 'Space' and 'Time'.

The play is between the Emergence and Essence. It is happening all the time and all around us, It appears as the play of opposites or appears as the paradox of opposite. But essentially there is unity & balance in this paradox of opposites. Or we can say that there is always 'UNITY IN OPPOSITES'.

This basic understanding helps us to LIPS.

A simple story would be appropriate here for clarity.

A modern and sophisticated chemical plant used an ultra modern state of art control system to control the operation of the plant. A strange phenomenon was happening there. One of the electronic control panel was blowing off frequently and rather randomly. It was a strange phenomenon since very reliable electronic control panels were installed. It was also strange that only one of them was behaving in this manner. Nothing happened to the similar electronic boards. Even the ones on the two sides of this particular board remained unaffected.

This caused sudden plant outages. This is not only costly but also dangerous in a chemical plant. It is costly because valuable productive time is lost with the subsequent loss of energy, material and human efforts in starting up again. That it is downright dangerous need not be emphasized. Bhopal, Alfa Piper and Chernobyl stand as living ghostly memories in the minds of all. It affects life and living for generations.

The cause of this strange but important problem was not apparent and people struggled with it for months till the 'Whophilia' was applied. 

Wholophilia in action:

The ambient temperature of this place in summer is around 42/47 degrees C while the room temperature of this modern control room is maintained at 22 degrees C. It is also necessary for people to constantly get in and out of the control room, which they did through the glass door as shown in the slide show (attached).

So the 'Wholophilia' understanding is as follows:

Emergence –> Frequent failure of the electronic panel. (visible pattern manifested in time and space — the Shakti or the Yang)

Essence –> 'Thermal shock' owing to sharp temperature difference between the outside and the inside initiated by frequent ingress and egress of people through the nearby door. (Invisible energy that creates the relationship between the Emergence & the Essence — the Shiva or the Yin).

The connection between the Emergence and the Essence completes our understanding of the issue in 'whole' in the simplest possible terms.

This same understanding of 'wholeness' also helps us to materialize the appropriate solution (sustains the purpose of the system without giving birth to unintended consequences to life and living) through the act of design (decision, creation, …).

The simple solution was to lock the door permanently and use another door at the other end of the control room (where it is not possible to generate thermal shocks).

The other associated solutions were to put sun film on the doors to cut out unnecessary radiation and trapping heat in the room that would lead to increase in air conditioning load.

Increase the temperature of the room from 22 degree C to 24 degrees C. It helps in three ways. First, less energy consumption by decreasing the air conditioning load of this fairly large control room. Second, it provides better effectiveness of the electronic components and their functioning since these function best between a temperature of 24 to 27 degree C. Third, the thermal gradient is reduced for any possible thermal shocks in the future.

The result: The strange problem vanished for good. No failure observed in the next 4 years. 

This simple solution illustrates the power & application of Wholophilia of the LIPS.

It helps organizations to learn, create and implement changes effortlessly and effectively.

The existing systems gradually transform to more sustainable solutions.


The accompanying slide show. (Wholophilia of the LIPS)

http://dibyendu.posterous.com/connecting-emergence-essence-to-innovate (Connecting Emergence to Essence to Innovate)



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