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Please join us for our systems thinking webinar with Eric Rebentisch, SDM instructor and research associate at the MIT Sociotechnical Systems Research Center! Keep reading for more information on the talk and speaker.

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About the talk: “Creating value in technically complex modern enterprises, industries, and industrial ecosystems is a core challenge of the 21st century. It is difficult to characterize, model, and predict the behaviors of these large, complex, open systems. Designing and implementing interventions to transform them to produce new desirable outcomes adds further layers of sociotechnical complexity that easily can exceed the capabilities of single organizations. The experience of a MIT-based research initiative may provide a useful model for how to tackle these challenges. The Lean Aerospace Initiative (LAI) was an active research program at MIT from 1993 to 2014. Its initial objective was to introduce Lean principles to the US aircraft industry. Over its twenty-one years the scope of LAI’s activities grew and eventually evolved to address enterprise transformation beyond just the aerospace sector and the borders of the US. LAI involved more than 75 stakeholder organizations representing government, industry, academia and labor. It developed tools that are used in industry and government even today, and prepared over 325 graduate students to deploy Lean Enterprise Thinking across the globe. It has a legacy of not only numerous books and other publications, but also active learning experiences involving change in large-scale organizations. Authors of the 2002 book “Lean Enterprise Value” recently completed a second edition of the book that includes reflections on the legacy of LAI, how it functioned, and its evolution toward a dynamic learning and value-creating community. This webinar will explore LAI – a vibrant real-life learning-doing laboratory – as a model for such a community. The authors suggest that LAI’s model as a dynamic learning and value creating community can be replicated as a template to tackle a variety of complex, large-scale, “messy” transformational challenges.”

About the speaker: Eric Rebentisch is a research associate in the MIT Sociotechnical Systems Research Center (SSRC) and in the Systems Engineering Advancement Research Initiative (SEAri). He is an instructor in the MIT System Design and Management (SDM) program with a focus on systems engineering. He studies complex engineering activities through a sociotechnical systems approach, drawing on perspectives from engineering, management, technology, and human behavior. His current research focuses on digital transformation in engineering organizations.

He will be joined in this webinar for a discussion of LAI as a dynamic learning and value creating community by past leaders of LAI and coauthors of Lean Enterprise Value.

About the series

Sponsored by the System Design & Management program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the MIT SDM 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.