Origin meets Future Development – Systems Thinking at the 60th Anniversary of the Operational Research Society

BCSSS Managing Director Stefan Blachfellner followed BCSSS Scientific Advisory Board Member Gerald Midgley’s invitation and attended the 60th anniversary (#OR60) of the founding of the Operational Research Society (OR), from 11th to 13th September 2018 at Lancaster University, in UK.

Operational Research and Systems Science.

OR and Systems Science are closely interlinked, however, the connection was weakened, and the two disciplines distanced increasingly from one another. The 60th anniversary of the OR was, therefore, used to reimplement Systems Thinking in the field of Operational Research.

Background.

In 2017, the United Nations (UN), the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) all publicly declared Systems Thinking as a key leadership skill and that it is necessary to deal with the fundamental interconnectedness of complex, local-to-global economic, social and environmental issues. This recognition of Systems Thinking by major international agencies represents an open door to new opportunities to make a difference in both local communities and global governance.

Framing Policy Development with Systems Thinking.

Stefan participated in the programme by holding a lecture on “Systems Thinking in Policy Development”, where he highlighted the opportunities and constraints of Systems Thinking in policy development. Stefan included his activities and experiences as Special Advisor of the European Commissioner for Transport (2016-2018).

BCSSS Participation.

Further lectures were created and held by BCSSS members: “Comprehensive Worldview Model for Systems Research” and “Designing Operational Teams in Evolving Contexts”, both by David Rousseau and Julie Billingham. Stefan, moreover, attended an event on “Systems Thinking: the Elevator Pitch!” by BCSSS Scientific Council member Gerald Midgley.

Systems Research.

Stefan also used the conference to meet Mike Jackson, Editor-in-Chief of the journal Systems Research and Behavioral Science, former president of the International Society for the Systems Science (ISSS)  and emeritus Professor for Logistics and Supply Chain Management, who also held a keynote on Systems Methodologies at the #OR60 Event. Mike and Stefan discussed future corporations between the Editor-in-Chief and the BCSSS. Stefan also visited the highly interesting plenary “A Parthian shot (friendly): Reflections on 40 years of engagement” by Impact led Research pioneer and past president of the ISSS Peter Checkland. He functions as the connecting element between the fields of Systems Thinking and Operational Research and is a promising and highly influential figure for the reimplementation and re-merge of Systems Thinking as an origin and Operational Research as future development.

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