Annual systems thinking conference at MIT – October 21-22, 2010

Systems thinking experts from MIT and industry to share best practices

By Lois Slavin, SDM Communications Director
May 25, 2010

MIT’s annual systems thinking conference, sponsored by the System Design and Management Program (SDM) showcases the new ways of thinking, working, and leading required to address today’s complex challenges. This year’s event will focus on complexity and innovation in energy, health care, sustainability, and service systems.

Designed to provide practical information on how to integrate technology, management, and social sciences to achieve success, the conference will take place October 21-22, 2010, at the MIT Media Lab.

MIT professors will frame the three-fold nature of systems thinking—technical, managerial, and socio-political—and outline how it is being applied in the critical areas of energy, health care, sustainability, and service systems. Industry leaders will describe best practices that demonstrate the challenges they face within and outside their organizations, how they apply systems-based approaches, the benefits achieved, and the lessons learned.

MIT has chosen the speakers not only for their expertise in addressing complex systems challenges, but also for their role in leading the implementation of the day-to-day tasks that produce success. Speakers include experts from MIT and industry. As of this writing, they include:

  • Pat Hale, director, SDM Fellows Program
  • George Apostolakis, commissioner of the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission and Korea Electric Power Corporation professor of nuclear science and engineering and professor of engineering systems at MIT
  • Mark D. Jenks, Vice President of Development, 787 Program, Boeing Commercial Airplanes
  • John Sterman, Jay W. Forrester professor in computer science and professor of system dynamics and engineering systems at MIT; director, MIT System Dynamics Group
  • Andrew Scott, professor, MIT School of Architecture
  • Bruce Beihoff, senior principal technologist and director of innovation and technology—systems and process research, Whirlpool Corporation
  • Irving Wladawsky-Berger, consultant, innovation and technical strategy, IBM and Citigroup; visiting faculty, MIT and Imperial College
  • Blackford Middleton, corporate director of clinical informatics research and development and chairman, Center for Information Technology Leadership, at Partners Healthcare System; assistant professor of medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, and of health policy and management at the Harvard School of Public Health
  • Roberto Rocha, senior corporate manager for knowledge management and clinical decision support, clinical informatics research and development, Partners Healthcare System; faculty member, division of general internal medicine and primary care of the department of medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School
  • Joseph Coughlin, senior lecturer, Engineering Systems Division; director, AgeLab and New England University Transportation Center
  • Richard C. Larson, Mitsui professor of engineering systems and civil and environmental engineering; and director, Center for Engineering Systems Fundamentals, MIT
  • Deborah Nightingale, professor of the practice of aeronautics and astronautics and engineering systems, codirector, Lean Advancement Initiative, MIT

The conference will provide significant opportunities to ask questions of our speakers, as well as to network with other systems thinkers attending the conference. An evening reception will be held during the evening of October 21 for all who hold full conference admission.

Registration details will be available in early summer on the SDM website

For information on corporate sponsorship, contact Jon Griffith, Director of Operations and Partner Integration at, 617.253.3799.