Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Syllabus for Iba Lab B2 (Fall 2012) - Exploring Theories, Methods, and Practices for the Creative Society

We welcome GIGA students who don't speak Japanese!

Syllabus for Iba Lab B2 (Fall 2012)

Exploring Theories, Methods, and Practices for the Creative Society

Takashi Iba (Associate Professor at the Faculty of Policy Management, Keio University)

Important Dates

July 3, 2012: Iba Lab information session (5th hour @ K11)
July 21, 2012: Entry submission deadline
July 26-27, 2012: Interview sessions (dates subject to change)
July 28, 2012: Lab spring presentations

Course Goals and Overview

Our society today is becoming more complex and diverse day by day. Finding a way to design the future with our own hands has become the fundamental problem for us today. To be creative in such a society, we must create our own visions, and design tools and methods to make the vision become a reality.

In our lab, we define a Creative Society as a society where various people design and create new perceptions, new products, new methods, and ultimately the future for ourselves, by ourselves. The lab aims to seize the sprouts of the creative society, imagine its growth, and nurture it through actual practice.

Members of the lab would either work on Personal Projects based on their interest in a certain field, or they can work in one of the Frontier Projects formed by members of the lab.

Examples of Personal Projects include analysis of open collaborations, research on social media, putting creative workshops to practice, analysis of the creative process, creation of tools to support creative processes, building new forms of communication media, or the creation of a pattern language in a new field. Of course, any other topic that you are interested in is welcome.

We are planning on starting the following Frontier Projects.

  • Documentary Filming - Filming, production, and streaming of the world's first documentary film about pattern languages. Those with skills in film editing are welcome.
  • Web Application Development - Launch a new kind of social networking service based on pattern languages. We welcome those with high programming and software development skills. 
  • Global Expansions - Introduce pattern languages and workshops based on them overseas. For all of you out there with high English skills, this is the place for you.
  • Workshop Design - Develop and carry out new forms of workshops using pattern languages. For those interested in creating environments for effective study or creation.
  • Education to Nurture Creativity - Study methods of education that would nurture the creativity of children, and put it into practice. Future teachers and anyone interested in education is welcome.

Upon conducting your project, you must first let go of the knowledge and methods fixed to existing sciences, and commit to the project by reconstructing a new method for a new era of study. To help the process, we will take time to read and discuss books about related topics.

The theme for our lab is Creativity. We are looking for prospective lab members who are willing to commit creatively to the future!

To find out more about our works, visit our lab blog:
The Creative Systems Lab

Course Schedule

  • Progress on each member's project will be shared at lab meetings. In addition, we will read and discuss books, and exercises to polish up skills will be given. 
  • Members are required to work on their projects outside of class time.
  • Sessions are planned on 5th hour Tuesdays.

Course Language

English, Japanese
We welcome GIGA students who don't speak Japanese!

Course Requirements

  • Members are required to take classes held by Professor Iba besides the lab sessions, since skills and knowledge necessary for the lab will be taught there also. Professor Iba will be teaching "Pattern Language" and "Complex Systems Theory" in the Fall semester of 2012. 
  • We are looking for members who are willing to study together with us in a long perspective. Breakthrough in knowledge and skills can be expected through long-term commitment.

Available Seats

Approximately 20

Misc. Information

  • Since members of the lab each have a different field of expertise, knowledge necessary for each member's project must be acquired outside of class.
  • Classes will most likely be extended without notice. We also go for dinner after lab sessions, so please keep your schedule open for the night on days with lab sessions. 
  • You are welcome to take both Iba Lab B1 and B2 in the same semester, or belong to another lab besides the Iba lab at the same time. 
  • Prospective members are asked to attend the Iba Lab Spring Presentation on 7/28/2012 (Sat).
  • Join us on opportunities to go on overseas trips to attend workshops and academic conferences. This year we will be visiting Germany in July and the US in October. 
  • Iba Lab members are required to write their graduation thesis in English.

Entry Assignment

After reading through this syllabus thoroughly, please submit the entry assignment described below via email by Saturday, July 21.

Email to: ilab-entry2012 [at] sfc.keio.ac.jp
Subject: Iba Lab B2 Entry
Please attach your entry assignment in a Word or PDF file.

Iba Lab B2 Entry Assignment

  1. Name, Faculty, Grade, Student ID, login ID
  2. Topic of study you wish to work on in the lab, or the Frontier Project you wish to participate in. Reason for your entry. Your Enthusiasm towards the project.
  3. Other Labs you are planning on belonging to next semester (If any)
  4. Labs you have been a part of (If any)
  5. Favorite classes you've taken so far - Multiple answers are welcome
  6. Courses by Prof. Iba which you have taken before
  7. Any other introduction of yourself. (clubs, activities, interests, future visions, any other points to sell)

* Question 2 should be about 1 page in length.
** You are welcome to use any pictures or diagrams for questions 2 and 7.

The selection interview will be held based on the information given in the entry assignment.


  • Takashi Iba, "An Autopoietic Systems Theory for Creativity", Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences, Vol.2, Issue 4, 2010, pp.6610-6625
  • Daniel H. Pink, A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future, Riverhead Trade, 2006
  • Don Tapscott, Anthony D. Williams, Wikinomics: How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything, Portfolio Trade, Expanded ed., 2010
  • Peter Gloor, Coolfarming: Turn Your Great Idea into the Next Big Thing, AMACOM, 2010
  • Keith Sawyer, Group Genius: The Creative Power of Collaboration, Basic Books, 2008 
  • Thomas Kelley, Jonathan Littman, The Art of Innovation: Success Through Innovation the IDEO Way, Profile Business, 2002

  • Morris Berman, The Reenchantment of the World, Cornell University Press, 1984
  • Gregory Bateson, Steps to an Ecology of Mind, The University of Chicago Press, 2000
  • N. Luhmann, Social Systems, Stanford University Press, 1996
  • Thomas S. Kuhn, The Structure of Scientific Revolution, The University of Chicago Press, 1962
  • Freeman Dyson, Imagined Worlds, Harvard University Press, 1997
  • Peter M. Senge, et. al., Presence: Human Purpose and the Field of the Future, Crown Business, Reprint ed., 2008
  • C. Otto Scharmer, Theory U: Leading from the Future as It Emerges: The Social Technology of Presencing, Berrett-Koehler Pub, 2009

  • Stephen Grabow, Christopher Alexander: The Search for a New Paradigm in Architecture, Routledge Kegan & Paul, 1983 
  • M. Lynn Manns, L. Rising, Fearless Change: Patterns for Introducing New Ideas, Addison-Wesley, 2004
  • Learning Patterns Project, Learning Patterns: A Pattern Language for Creative Learning, 2011
  • Christopher Alexander, The Nature of Order, Book 1-4, Center for Environmental Structure, 2001-
  • Jenny Quillien, Delight's Muse on Christopher Alexander's The Nature of Order: A Summary and Personal Interpretation, Lulu.Com, 2008

  • George Lakoff, Mark Johnson, Metaphors We Live By, The University of Chicago Press, 1980
  • "Deduction, Induction, and Hypothesis" (Charles Sanders Peirce, The Essential Peirce: Selected Philosophical Writings VOLUME 1 (1867-1893), Indiana University Press, 1992) p.186-199
  • Hayao Miyazaki, Starting Point 1979-1996, VIZ media, 2009
  • Haruki Murakami, What I Talk about When I Talk about Running: A Memoir, Vintage Books, 2009
  • B. Minto, The Pyramid Principle: Logic in Writing and Thinking, 3rd Revised ed, Financial Times Prentice Hall, 2008

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Pattern Language: Media for Overcoming Double Contingency

Last class, the students in Social Systems Theory class learned scenario planning, which is media for communicating in communities or organizations based on future plans.
On the other hand, Prof. Iba introduced pattern language as media for verbalizing the tacit knowledge and sharing it among people in an organization in order to take over double contingent situations.

He explained what pattern language is, and how we write pattern language with recent examples in our laboratory.

The example was English pattern writing pattern which he discovered recently on the generative beauty project. We firstly wrote the pattern in Japanese, yet we needed to write the patterns in English in order to submit the paper for the international conference.
On that process, we tend to have difficulties with writing patterns in English, the process does not go smoothly. Then, Prof. Iba realized that we need to learn vocabularies related to topics of the patterns, in this case beauty, so he bought variety of books about cosmetic, fashion and beauty written in English. His intention of it was to write patterns while learning vocabularies and phrases at the same time.

Even though he shared this knowledge with the current members on the project, he will need to explain that consecutively when he encounters the same situations on the different occasions or people. Therefore, it is effective to organize and write this knowledge in order to make easier to tell it to other people.

Then, he decided to write the pattern on that. Basically, pattern language consists of three main parts: context, problem, and solution.
Pattern Name: Writing with Learning
Context: You write in English, which is not your mother tongue.
Problem: Because you have no idea how you should write ideas in proper and comprehensive English, you cannot write patterns smoothly.
Solution: Write patterns with learning and referencing vocabularies and phrased related to the topic of the pattern that you are writing.

The reason why we give names to each pattern is to make us remember the contents of the pattern easily, and help our communication on the topic as a vocabulary.

In other words, Christopher Alexander, an architect who established the concept of pattern language, explains in The Production of Houses that pattern language is a language for writing design knowledge including problem finding and problem solving.

After the lecture, students have Q&A session about pattern language for deeper understanding on that. Although they acquired better understanding on it, they have never talked with patterns.

So, we are having the workshop on patterns in Fearless Change, and having dialogues based on their experiences with vocabularies in the book.

C. Alexander, The Production of Houses, Oxford University Press, 1985
M. Manns & L. Rising, Fearless Change, Addison-Wesley, 2005

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Thinking Outside the Box

How did social science evolve into such a field? And what will it evolve into from now on? On May 29th, we discussed around these subjects, based on Open the Social Sciences: Report of the Gulbenkian Commission on the Restructuring of the Social Sciences by Immanuel Wallerstein, and Dejitaru Media Jidai ni Okeru "Chi no Genri" wo saguru [The Principles of Intellect in the Digital Media Era] by Teruo Inoue and Michio Umegaki.

Every day, Economics, Biology, Computer science, and all other fields are cultivated, their boundaries stretched, by experts in each field. These experts cultivate these fields based off of the rich intellect which have been cultivated for many decades and centuries by countless experts in the past. And the discoveries are continuously added on as new intellect, subsequently creating a rich discipline. But these disciplines are usually closed; having very little relations amongst each other. It is significant that we see, and cultivate the inter-discipline, and trans-discipline.

For example, lets take the complex systems theory. Before it was a field, scientists and mathematicians, many of them having very rich knowledge concerning their own fields, hit problems they could not understand, even with their valuable discipline they cherish. Then the complex systems theory gave completely new insights in which connected, and discovered what hid between the closed disciplines. This is what we define now as the inter-discipline, and as a whole: trans-discipline.

Yet objectivity became a major problem in creating this trans-disciplinary field. Although social scientists valued objectivity in their research, what they defined as “objective” was dependant on who believed it was objective, hence technically becoming subjective. That is why social science should not value objectivity, but rather inter-subjective judgment. All disciplinary fields are dynamic, and the technically “subjective” observations create what becomes a discipline. As time goes by, new subjective observations add on, and change the inter- and ultimately trans- disciplinary field. We believe this inter- and trans-disciplinary field is the essence of research in SFC.

A professor in SFC was formerly a psychiatrist and a consultant for students, now teaches, and researches concerning communications with another person, its characteristics, etc. SFC encourages this sort of “crossing over” fields, and thinking outside the box. These opportunities allow students and professors to explore many different fields, cultivating the inter- and ultimately the trans-disciplinary field which has not been recognized before.

Interestingly however, some in our discussion argued that because SFC encourages this “crossing-over” so much, that some lack too much knowledge, and discipline. This notion is significant, and we must never forget the value of how each discipline developed its intellect through the centuries. In order to step outside of the discipline, it is critical to study the history of the discipline, otherwise it is impossible to discover any new insights. But at the same time, this is why even undergraduates in SFC have the potential to cultivate the frontiers of intellect.

For the second part of the class, we watched how SFC came forth, from the significance of inter-discipline and trans-discipline. While Keio University, and all other universities in Japan had faculties that studied fields which have been researched for centuries, Tadao Ishikawa, former President of Keio University proposed the necessity of a new field that can cultivate what existing fields could not see. This revolutionary attempt that valued inter-disciplinary and trans-disciplinary fields subsequently created the Faculty of Policy Management, and the Faculty of Environmental Studies, and SFC. 


Immanuel Wallerstein, Open the social Sciences: Report of the Gulbenkian Commission on the Restructuring of the Social Sciences, Stanford University Press, 1996

 Teruo Inoue and Michio Umegaki, Dejitaru Media Jidai ni Okeru "Chi no Genri" wo saguru [The Principles of Intellect in the Digital Media Era],Yuhikaku Publishing Co. Ltd., 1998

Thursday, June 7, 2012

A Web of Patterns

Using the KJ method, we continued grouping up some of the patterns.
Since we had too many sticky notes to deal with, we had to remove our desks of our lab and spread the sheet on the floor so that we could oversee the whole aspects.
Knowing that we had to finish the task by tonight was hard to nerve-wracking with the sheet filling up the entire lab.

Walking through the seeds of patterns, we tried to identify which pattern is close to each other. Overwhelmed by the immense amount of patterns, our members had a tough time with the task. Some sitting on the floor absentminded, others walking around trying to come up with a good idea.

However, such situation was the best time to use our creativity and breakthrough difficulties. Once one of the members began choosing specific patterns, others also was able to start moving their handsto pick up some patterns.
Finding a new way whenever your lost and disregarding the old fashion way is one of our important element to be creative. 

Even though we spent more than 5 hours to finish the KJ method, we still couldn't finish putting together the patterns. Some members had tiredness on their faces after cudgeling their brains to the utmost. But on the bright side, we were able to find some connections among the patterns, making a web of patters.

We will (try) finishing our task net week. We truly hope that we can finish the hardest part in the process of pattern making.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Scenario Planning

Scenario Planning is introduced in The Art of the Long View by Peter Schwartz.
“The book in your hands presents the arts of “taking the long view” of decisions that need to be made today.”

This method is used for designing strategic conversations leading to continuous organizational learning about key decisions.
Furthermore, planning’s are a tool for helping us to take a long view in a world of great uncertainty – scenario planning is necessary since future is uncertain. 

Prof. Iba explained the concepts with the familiar topic to students, which we postponed the school festival last year due to the storm. All performances were cancelled and stands were closed – it was miserable for everyone, students, teachers and guests.
He told the students his concern that the administrator could expect bad weather bothering us to implement our plan.

In the scenario planning, when we are able to expect the possibility of external factors and signs that prevent us from implementation, it helps us recognize and adapt to changing aspects of our present environment.

Today, the class was more engaging than usual. Students had an hour workshop experience scenario planning.

Approximately 60 students formed groups of 4 and began with self-introduction. They lively chatted about what they study and what kind of community they belong to and so on.

Prof Iba told the question,
“On your life, what kind of environmental factors might be happening beside your intention and actions?”
The objective of the question is to consider what kind of uncertainty we might encounter.

Second, students picked up 2 factors that they think critical or crucial for their lives or their plans in their future. Popular topics were environmental destructions, earthquakes, conflicts on nuclear power plants, and an aging society.

Third, students are assigned to draw four quadrants and plot those 2 factors.
Then, they come up with the scenarios on those 4 quadrants, and gave the names on each scenario.

Finally, they are assigned to think about preparations, strategies and warning signs.

Prof. Iba came up with the idea of this class from the experience on the school festival last year. Students’ faces lit up because they realize what they study in class are related to their lives.

At the end, he revealed his intention why scenario planning in Social System theory. Scenario planning encourages not only taking about strategies and leaning in organizations, but also bringing people from variety of areas and creating collaborations.

In addition, communication, the center element in Social Systems Theory, are generated by scenario planning, which taking about the future.

P. Schwartz, The Art of the Long View: Planning for the Future in an Uncertain World, Crown Business, 1996