ISSS 2019 Conference
Posted on Jul 28th, 2019

ISSS 2019 Conference
It is a month now since the 2019 ISSS Conference and Annual Meeting at Oregon State University (OSU). Members from 17 countries attended: Argentina, Australia, Austria. Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Hong Kong, India, Japan, Republic of Korea, Mexico, New Zealand, South Africa, Switzerland, Taiwan, United Kingdom, and the United States.
Thanks to the team at OSU for all the support and to Jennifer Wilby and team for organizing and managing the whole conference. Thanks too for all the great presentations, papers, workshops, ideas, projects and commitments made during the conference.
The theme of Natures Enduring Patterns as a Path Towards Systems Literacy was explored in 16 plenary presentations. Over the four days there were 57 paper presentations and 28 workshops. Over four days there were four participatory plenary workshops when the whole conference engaged in a 3 step process (1. Appreciation/Scanning, 2. Influence opportunity/Focusing, 3.Control/Acting) of thinking about the purpose of ISSS and how it contributes to Systems Literacy and possible and actual projects and actions that can be put into practice to ensure the viability and development of ISSS worldwide. These exciting and energizing and details are below.
Please get involved, to do so you need to be a member of ISSS. Join or renew now here
All plenary speakers were recorded on video and you can view them on the members website at  You will need to be a member of ISSS to view them.
Photos. If you attended the conference please add your photos at
ISSS Action Projects emerging and developing from the ISSS 2019 Conference
Systems Literacy, Peter Tuddenham, Jennifer Makar, Gary Smith, Sue Gabriele, Lynn Rasmussen,
This project began in 2015. A workshop was held on the afternoon of Monday July 1 in Corvallis. The aim is to have a draft document for ISSS 2020 in South Africa. More info at
ISSS Futures. Meetings were held during ISSS 2019 to explore the future of ISSS. 10 people gathered on the Thursday afternoon before the conference began. Mike Jackson led a discussion during the plenary workshop time during the conference.  After the official proceedings had concluded 30 people participated on Tuesday afternoon in a roundtable format to offer ideas and suggestions and commitments to act to ensure the viable future of ISSS. The group is meeting monthly online to secure the future of ISSS. The Past President-President-President Elect team are picking up the leadership of this project following the 2019 conference.
Saturday Special Integration Group Sessions, - Deanna Burleson and John Vodonick. SIG Sessions on Saturdays were a regular feature of the 2018-2019 ISSS year. The 2019-2020 Saturday SIG Sessions will begin on the second Saturday in August. More information will be posted at   Recordings from the 2018-2019 Sessions are at  You will need to be a member of ISSS and login to to view.
SIG Relations, - Gary Smith and Jennifer Makar. The SIG Sessions on Saturdays in 2018-2019 provided an opportunity for members to explore the relations between SIGS, how they might be integrated, and how they support the mission of ISSS. Attendees at the 2019 conference self-organized an evening workshop to develop integrative and synthesis actions related to SIGs. This work continues.
SuperOrganism Project, – Peter Corning. The objective of the ISSS Global Superorganism Project is for the ISSS as an organization to develop a demographic, economic, ecological, and political profile for each one of the world’s 195 countries – and an aggregate assessment for the species as a whole – with respect to four major questions: (1) its capacity to meet the basic biological needs of the human population, (2) each country’s interdependencies with other countries, (3) it’s vulnerabilities in a changing global environment, and (4) its governance capacity and efficacy. 
Volunteer researchers will be sought from the ISSS community who are willing to select a country, or countries, then obtain the relevant data/information for each country and prepare a brief report.  The individual reports will then be aggregated and synthesized into a combined report for the annual ISSS meeting in 2020.  Specialized training or high-level analytical skills will not be required for this volunteer task. For more information, contact Peter Corning at:       
ISSS Podcasts, – George Mobus. This is a proposal to produce and distribute a podcast show dedicated to reaching out to general audiences discussing important issues that have systemic aspects. The intent is to do this with non-jargon-based discussions about real issues and real approaches to solutions using terminology that is systems-literate motivated, but not caught up in the technical aspects of explicit systems thinking. In other words, this is systems science and practice that is relatable by ordinary people. The podcasts would be hosted by ISSS and College of Exploration.  Each cast would have a theme and a discussion pair. One format would involve having an Systems Sciences “elder” and a younger up-and-coming member of the community engaged in a Q&A in which the elder is asked to explain some aspect of a problem from the perspective of systemness (a kind of sharing of wisdom or mentoring).
Project Krysthalis, - Steve Wallis.  Building cohesion in the next generation of systems thinkers and leaders with the forging and refinement of diverse systems theories into a framework that is suitable for application. Use video interviewing to record stories, histories and perspectives of elders and major contributors to the systems sciences.
Curation of SIG information – Marc Pierson.  Using software such at with the aim to collate and curate relevant information about each SIG. SIG Chairs are encouraged to contribute records and previous work to this online resource. Special emphasis is being placed on introduction to each Special Integration Group for new members of ISSS. Also, the Brain software allows for significant linking of ideas and documents, intelligent note-taking. non-linear file management and visualization of ideas and relationships.
VSM as a model for ISSS organization, - Allenna Leonard.  A group formed at ISSS 2019 and is exploring how Stafford Beer’s Viable System Model can help identify gaps and opportunities in the structure and process of ISSS organization and management.
Digital Cooperatives, - David Ing. New forms of digital presentation and information creation and curation were discussed in the plenary workshop sessions. Ideas using federated wikis and new forms of digital platforms were discussed.
ISSS Digital Records. – Roelien Goede. The records of the ISSS through the years is digitized and now ways are being explored on how best to make this information available.
ASC and ISSS Co-development, - Ray Ison and Ben Sweeting. Significant efforts went into coordinating the ISSS and American Society for Cybernetics conference in terms of dates and geographic location so that members of both organizations could easily attend both. This level of cooperation and coordination is continuing with discussions about how the respective history and contributions of both organizations can be more widely recognized.
ISSS 2020 Conference, - Shankar Sankaran, Roelien Goede, Rika Preiser have a team are planning the ISSS conference in South Africa. ISSS2020 will be held Saturday July 11th - Tuesday July 14th, 2020 at Stellenbosch University, Stellenbosch (near Cape Town), South Africa.
ISSS2021 location is not yet decided. If you wish to offer to host the conference in 2021 please contact the ISSS Office at
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