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[sigchairs] Particular attention for 2005 meeting {Enrique Herrscher, 2004/03/27}
Posted by: daviding (
Date: March 27, 2004 05:35PM

----- Forwarded by David Ing/Markham/IBM on 03/28/2004 12:31 AM -----
"Enrique Herrscher" <>
Sent by:
03/27/2004 08:19 PM
Subject: Re: [sigchairs] Where were we headed?

Dear friends,

I think Tom Mandel deserves great credit for rising the nr. 1 key issue to
commemorate 50 years of our discipline: "why systemics hasn't 'caught on' in
a general way?"

So much so that, now that this president-elect and his Advisory Committee
are about to begin thinking of the 2005 annual meeting program, I propose
that above question should receive particular attention. Possibly this will
happen also next July at Asilomar, but it does not seem an issue that will
get "closed" in one meeting.

By "particular attention" I mean discussion, real discussion, what I think
cannot be achieved by reading or explaining papers one after the other. It
should take place around a table, and this means a discussion group of few
(perhaps about 20) persons. If more persons are committed (not just
"interested"), another table should be set up.

I know that the Primer group and several SIGs are working hard thinking
about the characteristics, identity and principles of our discipline and our
entity ISSS. The mail discussion triggered by Tom's question derived also in
a rich dialogue, comprising mostly wholeness and complexity. These dialogues
are, I think, a most valuable activity of ISSS. I particularly liked John
Kineman's thoughts (except on wholeness, where I prefer Edgar Morin's, in
Maruyama's "Context and Complexity"). Nice also that someone remembered that
we do have a glossary: Charles François' Encyclopedia.

However, if we are to relate these thoughts to Tom's question, I think we
are accepting the premise that the reason why "the whole world doesn't know
about systemics" (Tom dixit) is our inability to define our discipline, I.
e. the weak consistency and validity of such thoughts. So we keep refining
and refining them. We are right doing so, as every science does. But: is it
the right premise?

It may be only half of the issue: perhaps at least part of that reason is
more the message and the communication than their contents. As Jamshid
Gharajedaghi says (in "Systems Thinking - Managing Chaos and Complexity"):
"The world is not run by those who are right; it is run by those who can
convince others they are right".

So, I think we should have in 2005 TWO discussion groups. One to be involved
in above refinements: you may call it the "IDEOLOGICAL APPROACH". Another to
investigate reasons and "what can be done" from a more operative viewpoint,
thinking more of the needs "out there" than the precise definition of what
we have to offer. You may call this the "STRATEGIC APPROACH".

I hope this does not sound too much "marketing language". The idea is more
in line with the "service" approach we had in a past annual meeting. And
anyway: Tom's question IS a marketing question.

The thoughts of the Primer group, SIG chairs, Gustavo (for the impact on the
Cancun facilities) and particularly the Advisory Committee will be welcome
and needed. At Asilomar I also hope to talk about this with many of you..

Post Edited (03-27-04 22:35)

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