Coevolving Innovations

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The trajectory of systems research and practice: A Fuschl conversation (2008)

Over the past 28 years, the International Federation for Systems Research has hosted a meeting that has become known as the Fuschl Conversation. The conversation was designed as an “anti-conference” by Bela H. Banathy. Rather than centering on presentations of completed papers, small groups meet in a low-stress setting to engage in generative conversation, creating new knowledge. To focus and energize the conversations, position papers are developed by each individual before the meeting, and proceedings are published following.

For 2008 — my third Fuschl Conversation — I was privileged to spend four days with Gary Metcalf, Jennifer Wilby, Allenna Leonard and Leonie Solomons. Here’s an abstract of our conversation:

For this Fuschl meeting in March 2008, a group was formed based on a call for individuals with experiences in both (a) systems research and practice, and (b) applications in industry, academia and/or public policy. All of the participants in Team 2 have exercised systems thinking applied in the social sciences, both in research/educational contexts and in applied/practice contexts. In the discussion, we shared a rich base of collective experiences working in multiple countries across four continents.

In retrospect, the conversation drew out insights in three areas:

  • 1. Where does systems knowledge figure into the practice of social science practitioners?
  • 2. How is systems knowledge applied with domain-specific knowledge?
  • 3. When are domain-specific issues providing entry points into which systems knowledge becomes valuable?
  • 4. How is the nature of systems knowledge coevolving with institutions (public, private, not-for-profit) and technology (wikis, blogs, voice over Internet)?
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Over the past 28 years, the International Federation for Systems Research has hosted a meeting that has become known as the Fuschl Conversation. The conversation was designed as an “anti-conference” by Bela H. Banathy. Rather than centering on presentations of completed papers, small groups meet in a low-stress setting to engage in generative conversation, creating new knowledge. To focus and energize the conversations, position papers are developed by each individual before the meeting, and proceedings are published following.

For 2008 — my third Fuschl Conversation — I was privileged to spend four days with Gary Metcalf, Jennifer Wilby, Allenna Leonard and Leonie Solomons. Here’s an abstract of our conversation:

For this Fuschl meeting in March 2008, a group was formed based on a call for individuals with experiences in both (a) systems research and practice, and (b) applications in industry, academia and/or public policy. All of the participants in Team 2 have exercised systems thinking applied in the social sciences, both in research/educational contexts and in applied/practice contexts. In the discussion, we shared a rich base of collective experiences working in multiple countries across four continents.

In retrospect, the conversation drew out insights in three areas:

  • 1. Where does systems knowledge figure into the practice of social science practitioners?
  • 2. How is systems knowledge applied with domain-specific knowledge?
  • 3. When are domain-specific issues providing entry points into which systems knowledge becomes valuable?
  • 4. How is the nature of systems knowledge coevolving with institutions (public, private, not-for-profit) and technology (wikis, blogs, voice over Internet)?
Read more (in a new tab)
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