System Design and Management

The MIT Master's Program in Engineering and Management

Applying Systems Thinking to World Hunger:
Seeking Solutions in Agriculture, Food Production,
and Sustainability

MIT SDM Systems Thinking Webinar Series

Hank Roark, Senior Staff Systems Engineer and Researcher,
Deere & Co., and SDM Alumnus

Download the presentation slides

Date: July 15, 2013

About the Presentation

Systems thinking offers possibilities for simultaneously addressing the increasingly urgent and interrelated issues of world hunger and sustainability. This approach can help categorize complex components, such as:

  • global population, which is projected to increase from 7 billion to 9 billion by 2050
  • agricultural production, which will likely need to double—largely in the same land area—to provide enough food, fuel, and fiber for all
  • technological, business, and socio-political challenges that will need to be overcome to sustainably satisfy human needs

This webinar will discuss how to use a systems framework to categorize these components. Sample issues to be explored include:

  • water productivity improvements
  • value chain challenges in sugar production
  • ways to identify the many intersecting engineering systems involved using a socio-technical approach

One goal of the MIT SDM Systems Thinking Webinar Series is to frame methodologies and ways of thinking about issues that attendees can apply in any domain. In addition, this webinar is designed to spark attendees' interest in agriculture, food production, and sustainability.

About the Speaker

Hank Roark has almost 20 years' experience working for large corporations and startups. Most recently, his work and passion have focused on applying systems thinking to address the food needs of the world's growing population. Previous experience includes leading multinational software product development teams, cofounding two companies, and providing consulting services in global finance, telecommunications, and travel and leisure. He has an S.M. from MIT SDM in engineering and management and a B.S. in physics from the Georgia Institute of Technology.

About the Series

The MIT System Design and Management Program Systems Thinking Webinar Series features research conducted by SDM faculty, alumni, students, and industry partners. The series is designed to disseminate information on how to employ systems thinking to address engineering, management, and socio-political components of complex challenges.

Hank Roark

Hank Roark

Follow Us

Linked In

Twitter

Facebook

You Tube

  • Sloan School of Management
  • School of Engineering
  • Engineering Systems Division

© 2010 System Design and Management Program, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
77 Massachusetts Avenue, Building E40-315, Cambridge, MA 02139