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Systems Thinking

1 Mins read


Yasmin Merali

Representations and interpretations of systemic phenomena pervade current public discourse about the challenges we face in the inter-connected, network world. Recent examples include climate change, inequality, racism, geopolitical instability, and the emergence of disruptive technologies.  Systems Thinking is concerned with understanding how things interact and play out over time.

The COVID pandemic has underlined the interdependency between the natural, social, technological, and economic dimensions of our civilization.  In this fireside conversation, we draw on insights from Complex Systems Science to explore whether the complexity of the networked society demands a paradigm shift in the way that institutions strategize, organize and define success.  The free-ranging conversation unpacks the management-speak of resilience, adaptation, and transformation, and speculates on whether we are in the process of redefining what it is to be human.

Biographical Note

Yasmin Merali is a Professor of Systems Thinking at the University of Hull in the UK.  Her research transcends traditional boundaries between the natural and human sciences by drawing on Complex Systems Science to study the resilience of socio-economic systems in the networked world.  She is an Expert Evaluator for the EU, and her research collaborations include practitioners from public, private and third sector organizations. She received two BT Fellowships and an IBM Faculty Award for her work on knowledge management and complexity. Her research agenda supports several post-graduate students: past students have worked on the transformation of socio-economic systems in the UK, Canada, Korea, Kenya, and India.  Her current projects are concerned with the networked economy, focusing on policy formulation, international development, food security, health, wellbeing, cybersocial systems, and marginalization and radicalization.  She has published widely in peer-reviewed journals and is a frequent speaker at international conferences.  Her unpublished work includes reports for government and industry, and most recently, her reflections on the deliberations of the Roundtable on Reframing the Discourse on Violent Extremism which she organized with the Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen and Dr. Kamal Hossain.

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