September 20th is the 51st meeting of Systems Thinking Ontario. Please RSVP at Eventbrite.

ISSS and ASC Recap at Systems Thinking Ontario

International Society for the Systems Sciences, and
American Society for Cybernetics (Applying the Science of Context)
Annual Conference Recap,
at Systems Thinking Ontario

Attended the ISSS or the ASC conference? Come and tell us about it!
Didn't attend? Come hear about and discuss some of the central topics!

Allenna Leonard, will share her observations and experiences from the recent ISSS and ASC Conferences.

American Society for Cybernetics Conference, 2017, Salem, MA
Resilience and Ethics: Implications

Founded in 1964, the American Society for Cybernetics (ASC) aims to encourage new developments in cybernetics as an inter-/trans-/meta-disciplinary field. ASC members apply cybernetics within a variety of fields: biology and the life sciences, the arts, medicine, therapy (psychological and social), mathematics, the physical sciences and engineering, design, management, and business.

International Society for the Systems Sciences Conference, 2017, Vienna, Austria
From Science to Systemic Solutions - Systems Thinking for Everyone

The International Society for the Systems Sciences (ISSS) is among the first and oldest organizations devoted to interdisciplinary inquiry into the nature of complex systems, and remains perhaps the most broadly inclusive. The Society was initially conceived in 1954 at the Stanford Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences by Ludwig von Bertalanffy, Kenneth Boulding, Ralph Gerard, and Anatol Rapoport. In collaboration with James Grier Miller, it was formally established as an affiliate of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 1956. Originally founded as the Society for General Systems Research, the society adopted its current name in 1988 to reflect its broadening scope - with the following principal aims:
  • to investigate the isomorphy of concepts, laws, and models in various fields, and to help in useful transfers from one field to another; 
  • to encourage the development of adequate theoretical models in areas which lack them; 
  • to eliminate the duplication of theoretical efforts in different fields; and 
  • to promote the unity of science through improving the communication among specialists.

In the intervening years, the ISSS has expanded its scope beyond purely theoretical and technical considerations to include the practical application of systems methodologies to problem solving. Even more importantly, it has provided a forum where scholars and practitioners from across the disciplinary spectrum, representing academic, business, government, and non-profit communities, can come together to share ideas and learn from one another.

Allenna Leonard is a former President of ISSS (2009), former President (2002 – 2004) of the American Society for Cybernetics (ASC) and winner of the 2014 Warren McCulloch Award for outstanding and profound lifelong contributions to the nurturing of cybernetics.

Join us in an open discussion. Newcomers always welcomed.

In preparation, please review the following notes:



Time Activity Role(s)
6:30 Self-introductions (15 seconds each)
  • Who am I?
  • Which affiliations do I have that might be relevant to systems thinking?
  • How did learn about this Systems Thinking Ontario session?
6:50 Allenna Leonard provides an overview of recent ASC and ISSS annual conferences
Followed by open discussion, expanding on the conference topics - with emphasis on the content and themes highlighted in the suggested readings - for example; reflecting on the fitness/reality distinction of Donald Hoffman's article in The Atlantic, the growing impact of Artificial Intelligence in our everyday lives - and their relations to Viable Systems and Sustainability, in general terms.

Allenna Leonard
8:30 Adjourn - Optionally, join other attendees to continue discussion over dinner and/or drinks at a nearby restaurant
(ideally, one that's quiet, reasonably priced and spacious enough for our continued conversations).

Post-meeting artifacts: