Conference to gather top practitioners in each field to discuss best practices

Urgency needed, say MIT conference organizers, in adapting a systems-based thinking approach to address health care, energy, space, and environmental challenges

Conference to gather top practitioners in each field to discuss best practices

October 22–23, 2009
MIT campus, Broad Auditorium, 7 Cambridge Center, Cambridge, MA

CAMBRIDGE, Mass., October 14, 2009 — Besides posing serious challenges, the threat of global warming, the future of health care, and the development of alternative energy and space travel appear unrelated. But are they? And how can addressing a problematic aspect of one of these areas result in solving that of another?

The MIT System Design and Management’s annual conference on systems thinking on October 22 and 23 will provide a forum for industry leaders to describe best practices that demonstrate the challenges they face within and outside their organizations, the benefits achieved through systems thinking, and the lessons learned that illustrate the need for a more holistic view of complex systems. This year’s focus will be health care, energy, space, and environment.

“The pressing global challenges we face require a new way of thinking, working, and leading that integrates disciplines often seen as separate,” says John Sterman, a professor at MIT Sloan School of Management and director of the MIT System Dynamics Group. “This event has been carefully designed to provide practical information that can be applied across industries, so that attendees can demonstrate value to their companies when they return to the office.”

Slated speakers, who will discuss applying a systems-based approach to planetary water management, wind power, sustainable agricultural production systems, and sustainable regional energy, include:

  • Michael Ryschkewitsch - Chief Engineer, NASA
  • John Reid, Ph.D. - Director, Product Technology and Innovation, John Deere
  • Sharon L. Nunes, Ph.D. - Vice President, Big Green Innovations, IBM
  • Lawrence D. Willey - Energy Advanced Technology Operations Manager, Wind Systems Conceptual Design, GE Infrastructure

Representatives from Harvard Medical School, who collaborated with MIT SDM on the conference, will also present new findings.

Also presenting are representatives from Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center; Brigham & Women’s Hospital; and Partners HealthCare System along with MIT academics and research scientists representing the school’s Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics; Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab; Engineering Systems Division; the Center for Technology, Policy and Industrial Development; the Age Lab; the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology; the Lean Advancement Institute; the Complex Systems Research Lab; and the MIT Energy Initiative.

To register, please visit the SDM Web site at and select the conference information under ‘Events’ in the right-hand column. For additional information on the event, please contact John M. Grace, SDM industry co-director, at, 617-253-2081.

For Media Inquiries

Paul Denning
Director of Media Relations
Tel: 617-253-0576
Fax: 617-253-5875

Patricia Favreau
Associate Director of Media Relations
Tel: 617-253-3492
Fax: 617-253-5875