Publication date (electronic): 30 June 2007
Systems Thinking for Community Involvement in Policy Analysis
External link: http://18.104.22.168
Kurt is an Engineer, Physicist and Publisher. As an engineer he has built data-driven web-based applications and has designed microchips for many companies including DIRECTV, Panasonic, Thuraya, SES, Lockheed Martin, SLAC, General Dynamics, and NASA. He was also a Senior Systems Analyst for NASA on their Gamma-Ray Large Area Space Telescope (GLAST, now Fermi). As a physicist he is an active researcher in fundamental complexity theory with a particular interest in the nature of boundaries, and the relationship between form and function in complex dynamical networks. As a publisher he owns and runs Emergent Publications which specializes in publishing academic works concerning Complex Systems Thinking. It's flagship publication is the international journal Emergence: Complexity & Organization.
This paper is the text of a presentation to the 1st International Workshop on Complexity and Policy Analysis delivered by Gerald Midgley and transcribed and edited by Kurt Richardson. It charts the development of systems thinking since the 1960s, identifying a number of different systems paradigms. These are then compared with paradigms in complexity research, and significant parallels are identified. It is argued that there are several interacting research communities (including those writing about complexity, systems thinking and cybernetics) that have the potential to learn from one another. A research program on systemic intervention is then presented, focusing on the need to think critically about boundaries and values as a means of dealing with the inevitable lack of comprehensiveness in systemic interventions. A rationale for methodological pluralism is also given. All through the paper, the theoretical and methodological ideas are illustrated with practical examples.
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