Friday, April 03, 2015

Resurgence in Systems-related events

Courtesy of Systems Thinking World:

If you have an event you think should be listed here let me know at

And yes, these evens are all listed in the new Systems Thinking World Resources.
* Climate Leader Systems Thinking Training, Online,
* Strategic Thinking & Leanding, Free Online, Apr 4,
* SCiO Open Event & AGM, Manchester, Apr 20,
* Assoc for Strategic Planning (ASP) Conf, Washington DC, May 6-8,
* DynamiQueST, Worcester, MA, May 29,
* ISIS Summit, Vienna, Jun 3-7,
* Socio-Techical Perspectives in IS Workshop, Stockholm, Jun 9,
* In2:InThinking Network 2015Forum, Los Angeles, CA, June 10-14,
* SCiO Open Event w/ Barry Oshry, London, Jun 15,
* Research Committe on Sociocybernetics, Zargoza, Spain, Jun 29,
* SDS Conference, Reinventing Life on a Shrinking Earth, Boston, Jul 19-23,
* ISSS Conference, Governing the Anthropocene, Berlin, Aug 2-7,
* Relating Systems Thinking & Design, Alberta, CA, Sep 1-3,
* Conference on Complex Systems, Tempe, AZ, Sep 28 - Oct 2,
* Systems Thinking in Action Conference, Washington DC, Oct 20-25,

There is also a Master Class in Change for Sustainability May 6-8 in Stockhom - see

The ASC will have a one day event embedded in the ISSS conference on Wednesday 5th August, Berlin.

Announcement - PhD Course Systems Thinking and Practice in PhD Research:

 Announcement - PhD Course
Systems Thinking and Practice in PhD Research:
Cybersystemic Possibilities for Governing the Anthropocene

30 July – 7 August 2015, Germany


  • Two days of participation in a Systemic Inquiry in Hannover (Herrenhausen) on “Governing the Anthropocene: Cybersystemic Possibilities?
  • Two days of dedicated ‘workshops’ introducing different systems approaches, methods and research traditions at Humboldt University in Berlin
  • Five days of participation in the 2015 ISSS Conference in Berlin, including a group generated presentation on the final day
  • 5 ECTS - points

Working strategically to negotiate boundaries for research in a meaningful way in the areas of contemporary concern e.g. sustainability; development; health; farming, food, rural areas and environment/biodiversity, to name but a few, requires particular skills and abilities: It is necessary to be able to make relevant connections and to contextualize research activities without becoming overwhelmed by potential complexity and uncertainty. The context of the increasingly multifaceted complexity of issues of sustainability and climate change in relation to most contemporary issues is particularly challenging for PhD research. It is a context that is however a core part of the ISSS community’s experience. The purpose of this course is to help you, the PhD student, develop your skills in contextualizing your research, to make connections among issues using systems, cybernetic and complexity thinking and to so improve your ability to work both strategically and purposefully. The course is also designed to help you build on what other researchers have done.

Through joining this course you can expect to:
  • gain an overview of the intellectual traditions of Cyber-systemic Thinking Approaches,
  • make links to the history of ISSS and other organized bodies concerned with cybersystemic research and scholarship,
  • strengthen your research through developing understanding of cybersystemic theories and methodologies
  • have an opportunity to reflect on strengths and weaknesses of different systems approaches and methodologies in relation to your own PhD research
  • get added value from your participation in the Herrenhausen Systemic Inquiry and the Berlin ISSS Conference by also becoming part of a parallel critical learning systems community that has a PhD research focus
  • critically review potential contributions of your research to help meet global challenges
  • develop appreciation of multiple perspectives on contemporary issues
  • work across multiple disciplines, build networks and establish new relationships supportive of your research and scholarship
The course will be held in connection to the 2015 ISSS Conference in Berlin and the Herrenhausen ”Governing the Anthropocene” systemic inquiry (sponsored by the Volkswagen (VW) Foundation at the Herrenhausen Palace in Hannover – see ) and draw on the gathering of specialists and researchers within this field. The design draws on tried and tested ways of experiential learning and the expertise of academics who have been designing learning experiences for mature age learners for many years. The course will be grounded in a project of your own choice, preferably based on your PhD work. In your time in the program, if accepted, you will participate in an inquiry with three main parts - before, during and after the conference. It will also involve some preparation and submission of a final reflection.
  1. Before the course, you will be asked to complete an assignment in which you describe and reflect on either (i) your understanding and use of systems/cybernetic theories in your project; or (ii) the rationale you have followed, or would follow, in making a choice to include, or not, systems/cybernetic theories in your PhD research; this will require an on-line submission prior to your arrival.
  1. The course will start with participation in a purposefully designed ‘systemic inquiry’ exploring the question: Governing the Anthropocene: cybersystemic possibilities” taking place on 30 - 31 July at Herrenhausen Hannover hosted by the VW Foundation. You will be engaged in active table-based inquiry with 150 invited participants keynote presenters and panels who will provide ‘evidence’ for your inquiry. As part of your participation you will be expected to help with report preparation from your inquiry group.
  1. The second part of the course is a weekend workshop held on the campus of Humboldt University Berlin followed by the ISSS conference held at the Scandic Hotel, Berlin. This phase will start by exploring your own research context and needs and beginning a process of self-designing a ‘critical learning system’. You will be supported in the process by facilitators and other specialists who will provide inputs and resources and prepare you for the final phase of the course including mentorship that helps you plan your attendance at the most relevant sessions for you at the ISSS conference. It will also provide an opportunity for joint reflection and feedback as the conference progresses. The endpoint of this phase will be a presentation developed by the whole PhD group for the ISSS conference attendees during the final session.
  1. After the conference (afternoon of 7 August), you and the other students will gather for half a day to recapitulate and work in groups, and complete the assignment that has been agreed, on possible improvements of your own PhD study design, or future research trajectory, linking it to cybersystemic thinking and practice. 
 Background and resources
This PhD course will benefit strongly from the fact that many outstanding researchers within the systems, cybernetics and complexity science approaches will be gathered at the ISSS Conference. Contributions specifically to this course will come from experienced researchers who have been a part of the ISSS and related community for many years. They will include lectures and/or workshops that
  • introduce systems and cybernetic (hence cybersystemic) theories;
  • consider different cybersystemic approaches and methodologies suitable for researching issues of contemporary concern grounded in the participant’s own research interests:
  • bridge the different cybersystemic approaches – soft, hard, critical, viable, first-order, second-order etc.
  • explore how to deal with handling of complexity and the role that modeling can play
  • critically review focuses on action, learning and reflexivity
  • explicate social learning and learning systems approaches
  • explore the relationship between cybersystemic approaches and transdisciplinary research
THINK PROCESS: apply and submit verification to Humboldt; WAIT for confirmation, then REGISTER for ISSS STUDENT registration as per diagram below.

Key literature
Blackmore, Chris (Ed.) (2010) Social Learning Systems and Communities of Practice. Springer: London. For online extracts see:
Ison, Ray (2010) Systems Practice: How to Act in a Climate-Change World. Springer: London. For online extracts see:
Ramage, Manus and Shipp, Karen (2009) Systems Thinkers. Springer: London.
For online extracts see:
Reynolds, Martin and Holwell, Sue. Systems Approaches to Managing Change. Springer: London. For online extracts see:

 Course Assessment
To obtain the course certificate you will be required to:
  • complete the assignments as outlined above
  • participate in the lectures and group discussion.
  • participate in one of the relevant working groups of the ISSS conference .
  • after the conference, discuss improvements to your own PhD study, or future research trajectory design linking it to cybersystemic thinking and practice.
 Nomination process

Nominations are open to any current PhD students studying anywhere in the world. A maximum of 30 places exists. When nominating students must:

·         provide details of their current PhD enrolment
·         explain in no more than a paragraph why they would benefit from the course
·         affirm that they have the financial resources to participate and have, or can obtain a relevant visa

Once acceptance has been notified by Humboldt, then students must register using the student registration box on the ISSS conference website to complete the process of acceptance on this programme.

Nominees will be advised by the end of April 2015.

Please be assured that acceptance onto the programme will allow registration until May 15 at the stated early registration rate on the conference website – see .


The only direct fee is the student registration fee for the ISSS conference (EUR 375 before April 30 and EUR 450 after). For those accepted all expenses at Herrenhausen (Hannover), including European travel, will be paid by the organisers. All other travel, accommodation and living expenses will be the responsibility of the student.
Application for the Course

Wiebke Hampel
Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

Phone: +49-(0)30-2093-46382
Email :

Course Team
Dr. Thomas Aenis, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Germany
Prof. Dr. Nadarajah Sriskandarajah, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Sweden

Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Konrad Hagedorn, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Germany 

Guest lecturers
Prof. Dr. Ray Ison, The Open University Applied Systems Thinking in Practice Group, UK and Monash University, Australia (current President of the International Society for Systems Sciences)
Dr Chris Blackmore, The Open University Applied Systems Thinking in Practice Group, UK.