Monday, June 1, 2009

Health care, energy experts to speak at 2009 systems conference - SDM Pulse, Summer 2009

By Lois Slavin, MIT SDM communications director

SDM’s annual systems thinking conference provides opportunities for systems thinkers to learn practical applications from some of the world’s leading innovators—including experts from MIT and industry, as well as each other. This year’s conference, focused specifically on health care and energy/sustainability, will take place October 22-23, 2009, on the MIT campus. The event has been carefully designed to provide attendees with practical information that can be broadly applied across a range of industries—from automotive and high tech to retail, financials, services, and nonprofits.

The premise of the conference is that complex challenges require a new way of thinking, working, and leading that incorporates disciplines formerly seen as separate, or at best, linked. Conference attendees will learn to apply an interdisciplinary, “systems thinking” approach to challenges that integrates technology, management, and social sciences. Designed to expand the reach of systems thinking to more and more complex systems, the event will stress the importance of designing solutions that incorporate all three areas, with an emphasis on the societal context.

Speakers will not only discuss best practices for applying systems thinking to some of the most pressing and complex challenges of our time—health care, energy, and sustainability—but also how attendees might think about using insights provided in their own work. There will be plenty of opportunity to ask questions, as well as to network with other systems thinkers attending the conference.

As of this writing, the following speakers have been confirmed:

From MIT:
• Joel Moses, PhD, Institute Professor
• Olivier L. de Weck, PhD, associate professor of aeronautics and astronautics and engineering systems;
associate director, Engineering Systems Division
• Patrick Hale, director, MIT System Design and Management Fellows Program; senior lecturer, MIT Engineering Systems Division; president, International Council on Systems Engineering
• Deborah Nightingale, PhD, professor of the practice of aeronautics and astronautics and engineering systems; codirector, Lean Advancement Initiative
• Stan N. Finkelstein, MD, senior research associate, Engineering Systems Division and Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences & Technology
• Joseph F. Coughlin, PhD, senior lecturer, Engineering Systems Division; director, AgeLab

From the health care industry:
• Blackford Middleton, MD, MPH, MSc, Partners HealthCare System Inc., Clinical Informatics R&D, Center for Information Technology Leadership
• Henry Feldman, MD, Beth Israel Medical Deaconess Center

Experts on energy and sustainability:
• Sharon L. Nunes, PhD, vice president, Big Green Innovations, IBM
• Mike Ryschkewitsch, chief engineer, NASA
• Lawrence D. Willey, PE, GE Infrastructure, energy advanced technology operations manager, Wind Conceptual Design
• John Reid, PhD, director, Product Technology and Innovation, John Deere Inc.
• Eric Cahill, senior director, Progressive Insurance Automotive X PRIZE

We invite you to join us on October 22-23, 2009. For additional information, including registration details and information on becoming a conference sponsor, visit or contact John M. Grace, SDM industry codirector, at or 617.253.2081.

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