Engineering

EMA 610 Final Project Guidelines and Rubric

Overview The final project for this course is the creation of a system analysis and recommendations report. Systems thinking is all about solving problems—in organizations, world situations, and even our personal lives. But it is not just a procedure; it is a different way of approaching problems. Our experience has shown that this approach can yield exciting new insights, even into problems that have existed for years and that previously resisted attempts at improvement. Through this final project, you will have the opportunity to apply systems thinking to a real-world, contemporary challenge in the same way you would use systems thinking in future professional and organizational situations. In this project, you will apply systems thinking within a scenario that can be shaped by your personal or professional interests. First, you will select a challenge area of focus—either one of the provided technological challenges below or your own choice approved by your instructor. For example, you might focus on a situation in your current or in a former workplace or in an organization with which you are affiliated (church, volunteer work, etc.), or you may choose from one of the emerging technology areas below:

 Autonomous vehicles

 Wearable and implantable technology

 Virtual and augmented reality Then, you will refine your project focus by creating an identity for a client organization with vested interests in your chosen challenge area (this may be the organization you work for or are affiliated with). In your first milestone, you will identify plausible perspectives and goals for this organization, including what they see as the key problem related to the challenge area. After you have established your project scenario and defined the problem, you will proceed as if you were a consultant recently hired by the organization. Using the principles, methods, and concepts of systems thinking, your task will be to help your client address (or, potentially, think differently about) the problem. Your work will include three main phases: identification and scoping of the problem, analysis of the systems producing the problem, and creation of recommended system interventions supporting desired outcomes. The results of your investigation will be compiled in a system analysis and recommendations report for your client organization to read and consider. The project is divided into two milestones, which will be submitted at various points throughout the course to scaffold learning and ensure quality final submissions. These milestones will be submitted in Modules Three and Six. The final product will be submitted in Module Nine.

In this assignment, you will demonstrate your mastery of the following course outcomes:

 Illustrate the fundamental philosophical assumptions, conceptual frameworks, and problem-solving strategies of systems thinking using appropriate terminology

 Characterize real-world organizations and situations as systems by logically applying systems patterns and modeling techniques

 Assess contemporary issues for their potential to be best understood and effectively addressed using a systems approach

 Develop informed recommendations for addressing current challenges by identifying possible system modifications and intervention strategies that lead toward desired outcomes

Prompt Your system analysis and recommendations report should answer the following prompt: From a systems thinking perspective, what is the true nature of your client’s problem? What are the systems at play, how are the systems producing the issues, and how might one intervene in those systems to achieve desired outcomes?

I. Introduction A. Illustrate the conceptual framework underpinning your report.

i. Describe the key principles and methods of systems thinking. Remember that your audience (i.e., your client) may not be familiar with this different approach to problem solving, so be sure to clearly articulate the major patterns and characteristics of a systems thinking approach.

ii. Specifically, define the term “system.” Illustrate your answer with examples of the different types of systems archetypes. B. Articulate the value of systems thinking. In other words, defend to your client why you believe your approach to this problem is sound. How

does systems thinking enable problem solving? How is this way of thinking distinct from systems engineering or other approaches to problem solving?

C. Summarize the context of your report, including a brief description of your client organization and its identified problem.

II. System Modeling A. Develop causal loop diagrams that apply to the case with at least 20 causal factors to illustrate. Be sure to use appropriate symbols that clearly

display the information in graphic form. B. Develop stock and flow diagrams that apply to the case with at least 10 stocks and 20 causal factors to illustrate. Be sure to use appropriate

symbols that clearly display the information in graphic form.

III. Problem Analysis A. Apply system archetypes to your case in order to better understand the problem. Illustrate your selections using specific examples. B. Identify the extent to which there have been previous attempts at solving this or related problems. To what extent was systems thinking applied

in the previous attempts? What can be learned from them? C. Identify the extent to which there are analogous problems or situations that contribute to your understanding of this case. What insights can

you glean from these similar cases?

D. Using a systems thinking approach, characterize the true nature of the problem as you see it. In other words, to what extent is there a “problem

behind the problem”? Cite specific evidence to support your conclusion.

IV. Recommended Interventions A. Identify recommended interventions. Specifically, identify leverage points that can be used to modify the system, explain how they would be

applied to the system, and describe the possible impact of each. B. Evaluate the likely effects of your recommended interventions for your client using specific evidence that supports your interpretation. To what

extent might there be unintended consequences and how might they be mitigated? C. Finally, defend your use of the scientific method in arriving at and validating your recommended interventions. In what ways did you apply the

scientific method to test your recommended interventions? Cite specific evidence to support your claims.

Milestones Milestone One: Introduction and Project Methodology In Module Three, you will identify and describe the challenge area you wish to focus on for your final project, build your client profile, and formulate a problem statement that leads to a systems thinking approach to address your client’s needs. This milestone will be graded with the Milestone One Rubric. Milestone Two: System Modeling and Problem Analysis In Module Six, you will submit your system modeling and problem analysis (Sections II and III above). This milestone will be graded with the Milestone Two Rubric. Final Submission: System Analysis and Recommendations Report In Module Nine, you will determine your recommended interventions (Section IV above) and also write your introduction (Section I above). You will then revise and incorporate your milestones to submit your final project in its entirety. It should be a complete, polished artifact containing all of the critical elements of the final project. It should reflect the incorporation of feedback and knowledge gained throughout the course. This submission will be graded with the Final Project Rubric.

Final Project Rubric Guidelines for Submission: Your report should be 10 to 12 pages in length with double spacing and 12-point Times New Roman font. All citations should be in APA format. Instructor Feedback: This activity uses an integrated rubric in Blackboard. Students can view instructor feedback in the Grade Center. For more information, review these instructions.

Critical Elements Exemplary (100%) Proficient (90%) Needs Improvement (70%) Not Evident (0%) Value

Introduction: Key Principles and

Methods

Meets “Proficient” criteria and demonstrates nuanced understanding of the philosophical assumptions, conceptual frameworks, and problem-solving strategies of systems thinking

Describes key principles and methods by clearly articulating major patterns and characteristics of systems thinking

Describes certain principles or methods but fails to identify all or to accurately or clearly articulate the major patterns and characteristics of systems thinking

Does not describe the principles and methods of systems thinking

8

Introduction: Define “System”

Meets “Proficient” criteria and demonstrates nuanced understanding of the philosophical assumptions, conceptual frameworks, and problem-solving strategies of systems thinking

Accurately defines the term “system,” using specific examples of the different types of relevant systems archetypes to illustrate

Defines the term “system” but there are gaps in accuracy, or fails to use specific examples of different, relevant system archetypes to illustrate

Does not define the term “system”

7

Introduction: Value of Systems

Thinking

Meets “Proficient” criteria and demonstrates nuanced understanding of the philosophical assumptions, conceptual frameworks, and problem-solving strategies of systems thinking

Articulates the value of systems thinking for the client by persuasively demonstrating how it enables problem solving compared to other approaches

Articulates the value of systems thinking but fails to fully or persuasively demonstrate the utility of the approach for the client

Does not articulate the value of systems thinking

8

Introduction: Context

Meets “Proficient” criteria and balances the inclusion of all necessary details with a precise economy of language

Summarizes the context of the report, including a brief description of the client organization and its identified problem

Summarizes the context of the report but fails to briefly describe or lacks necessary details on the client organization or its identified problem

Does not summarize the context of the report

3

System Modeling: Causal Loop

Diagrams

Meets “Proficient” criteria and demonstrates advanced ability to apply the patterns and modeling techniques of systems thinking

Develops appropriately formatted causal loop diagrams that apply to the case with at least 20 causal factors to illustrate

Develops causal loop diagrams but there are inaccuracies, issues with formatting, or fewer than 20 causal factors

Does not include causal loop diagram

8

System Modeling: Stock and Flow

Diagrams

Meets “Proficient” criteria and demonstrates advanced ability to apply the patterns and modeling techniques of systems thinking

Develops appropriately formatted stock and flow diagrams that apply to the case including at least 10 stocks and 20 causal factors to illustrate

Develops stock and flow diagrams but there are inaccuracies, issues with formatting, or fewer than 10 stocks or 20 causal factors

Does not include stock and flow diagrams

8

Problem Analysis:

System Archetypes

Meets “Proficient” criteria and demonstrates advanced ability to apply the patterns and modeling techniques of systems thinking

Applies relevant system archetypes to the case using specific details that demonstrate insight into the problem

Applies system archetypes to the case but there are gaps in the relevancy or demonstration of insight into the problem using specific details

Does not apply system archetypes to the case

8

Problem Analysis: Previous Attempts

Meets “Proficient” criteria and demonstrates sophisticated illumination of the issues using a systems approach

Identifies the extent to which there have been previous attempts at solving this or related problems including specific examples of lessons learned and the extent to which systems thinking was applied

Identifies previous attempts at solving this or related problems but fails to fully qualify response with specific descriptions of lessons learned or the extent to which systems thinking was applied

Does not identify previous attempts at solving this or related problems

8

Problem Analysis: Analogous Problems

Meets “Proficient” criteria and demonstrates sophisticated illumination of the issues using a systems approach

Identifies the extent to which there are analogous problems including specific descriptions of gleaned insights

Identifies analogous problems but fails to fully qualify response with specific descriptions of gleaned insights

Does not identify analogous problems

8

Problem Analysis: True Nature of the

Problem

Meets “Proficient” criteria and demonstrates sophisticated illumination of the issues using a systems approach

Characterizes the true nature of the problem using a systems thinking approach by citing specific evidence that supports conclusion

Characterizes the nature of the problem but fails to appropriately apply a systems thinking approach or cite specific evidence supporting the conclusion

Does not characterize the nature of the problem

8

Recommended Interventions:

Leverage Points

Meets “Proficient” criteria and recommendations reflect particularly creative, insightful, or thorough application of systems thinking as a problem- solving methodology

Identifies reasonable recommended interventions including specific leverage points that can be used to modify the system and explains the possible impacts of each on the system

Identifies recommended interventions but some are not reasonable, or fails to include specific leverage points or explain the possible systems impacts of each

Does not identify recommended interventions

8

Recommended Interventions: Likely Effects

Meets “Proficient” criteria and recommendations reflect particularly creative, insightful, or thorough application of systems thinking as a problem- solving methodology

Evaluates the likely effects of the interventions using specific supporting evidence illustrating the intended and possible unintended consequences and how might they be mitigated

Evaluates the likely effects of the interventions, but fails to use specific supporting evidence illustrating the intended and possible unintended consequences and how might they be mitigated

Does not evaluate the likely effects of the interventions

8

Recommended Interventions: Use

of Scientific Method

Meets “Proficient” criteria and recommendations reflect particularly creative, insightful, or thorough application of systems thinking as a problem- solving methodology

Defends the use of the scientific method in testing recommended interventions with specific evidence

Defends the use of the scientific method in testing recommended interventions but fails to sufficiently support with specific evidence

Does not defend the use of the scientific method in testing recommended interventions

7

Articulation of

Response Submission is free of errors related to citations, grammar, spelling, syntax, and organization and is presented in a professional and easy-to-read format

Submission has no major errors related to citations, grammar, spelling, syntax, or organization

Submission has major errors related to citations, grammar, spelling, syntax, or organization that negatively impact readability and articulation of main ideas

Submission has critical errors related to citations, grammar, spelling, syntax, or organization that prevent understanding of ideas

3

Total 100%

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