A message from Gerald Midgley – Operations Research Annual Conference OR65 – one week to respond with submissions: defining systems thinking, and ‘where to next?’


I am writing to the whole of my research network in the systems community and beyond, and am also extending this invitation on Facebook and LinkedIn.

There are so many different systems theories, methodologies and methods being developed by largely separate research communities. What would emerge if we could facilitate learning across all these communities?

To this end, I want to convene a really special event. As I have done over the past five years, I am going to co-organize the Systems Thinking stream at the 2023 Annual Conference of the Operational Research Society (OR65 for short). However, this year, instead of having just three parallel streams of paper presentations and workshops, I want to facilitate two significant dialogues:

The first will be at the start of the stream, and will involve everyone in a discussion of how systems thinking should be defined, and why. The second will be towards the end of the conference, after people have learned about the extraordinary variety of ideas being developed, and it will discuss “where to next for systems thinking?” I expect new collaborations to be forged!

I co-facilitated workshops like this in 1998 and 2004, and they were transformative! Not only did the opening sessions put everyone in a really open frame of mind to enable mutual appreciation and learning, but some of the collaborations that were forged in the closing workshops have lasted to the present day! I want to create a similar experience for the next generation of systems practitioners.

OR65 will be held on 12-14 September 2023 in Bath, UK. Here is the overall conference web site: https://www.theorsociety.com/events/annual-conference/

In addition to participating in the workshops, you will be able to take a 20-minute presentation slot and/or run your own participative workshop lasting up to two hours long.

If you want to present a paper, you need to create an account on the OR Conference site and then upload an abstract by 30 May 2023. PLEASE SELECT THE SYSTEMS THINKING STREAM for your abstract. If you want to run a participative workshop, PLEASE SELECT THE “MAKING AN IMPACT” STREAM for your abstract upload.

Here is where to create an account and upload an abstract: https://theorsociety.eventsair.com/…/or65abstractportal

If you need to get permission from your employer to go, or ask your employer to pay, please don’t delay – upload your abstract and sort out those details later.

If you have questions about writing your abstract or the focus of a proposed presentation or workshop, I can be contacted on g.r.midgley@hull.ac.uk However, if you have questions about the conference as a whole, please contact the organizers (not me).

I look forward to seeing you in September!

Annual Conference – The OR Society