Systems Sciences meet Systems Engineering

A small group of international experts from both systems sciences and systems engineering met in the beginning of November for a six days conversation in a research retreat near Cómpeta (Malaga, Spain). Janet Singer, an independent researcher, member of the ISSS, convoked that group “to test the premise that more robust, coherent and effective systems praxis coordination can be achieved by taking the wild (or wicked or complex) to be the general default case, with the tame (or simple) as the exception”. That is, there is rising concern that systems that engineers have been dealing with in their professional practice turn out to be systems that are complex in nature like any other self-organising, natural or social systems – and not artifacts that could be successfully treated in a mechanistic and deterministic way.

The group discussion drew up certain principles that should guide problem structuring, systems understanding, systems conceptualisations, systems interventions and reflections (to be published on The outcome of the discussion shall also feed the body of knowledge that is provided  in a wiki (SEBoK) by INCOSE, the International Council on Systems Engineering with several thousands of practitioners.


Snapshot of members of the group. Janet Singer sitting, second from the right (photo: Michael Singer)

The Bertalanffy Center supports this initiative and was represented by Wolfgang Hofkirchner.

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