ISDC 2018: Wednesday Open Plenary Session

New this year at the Reykjavík Conference is a plenary session open to the public. The open session was designed to draw people from the university and city to see important work being done in System Dynamics. This will provide an opportunity to reach directly to the broader public and build interest in our field. The open plenary is scheduled for Wednesday, August 8, 2018, with esteemed presenters Jorgen Randers and Peter Senge. 

Jorgen RandersJorgen Randers: Lessons from seven attempts at "saving the world"

Jorgen Randers is one of the original authors of the famous book The Limits to Growth, published in 1972 when he was only 27 years old. At the time, he felt there was a clear, easily communicated, and actionable message. Yet nothing changed. In the intervening years, he has altered the message and the way it was delivered to really get through to people. Each attempt at getting the key message across has been different, and the seventh is the culmination of the learning from all previous attempts.

Peter Senge: Systems thinking and collective learning: Reflections from three decades in the field

Today we stand at a cultural crossroad. Institutional inertia pushes us toward preservation and extension of industrial-age techno-centric norms and aims. Yet, the imperative for deep change becomes more and more self-evident as societal and ecological breakdowns spread. Amidst the chaos, a renaissance is quietly unfolding, evident in changes as diverse as social entrepreneurship, entrepreneurs eschewing profit as the prime business driver, isolated collaborations successfully generating systems change, and especially a renewed focus on cultivating mindfulness, compassion, and social and ecological connectedness in education. 

For our collective future, we need to call into question the widely-shared, and largely implicit, norms and taken-for-granted assumptions guiding modern societies. The work, paradoxically, is deeply personal (individuals challenging their own worldviews) and at the same time inherently collective. This is where the System Dynamics worldview can find a place in the emerging renaissance, by helping to translate powerful yet still largely inchoate urges into more disciplined learning and change processes.