INCOSE IS2018 After Action Report

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INCOSE IS2018 was a great success this year. A gathering of the world's top Systems Engineers in the heart of our nation's capital, listening to some well thought out papers and lectures dealing with this year's theme, “Delivering Systems in the Age of Globalization.” The keynote speakers where quite inspiring and challenging:

  • Dr. Zhang Xin Guo observed that MBSE is the key to working Complex System Engineering projects. (Embrace SE version 4.0) -- see the youtube video.
  • Langdon Morris explained what the "Big Shift" is and how SEs can innovate solutions (Exponential is the new norm)  -- see the youtube video.
  • Dr. Barbara Kellerman's showed how culture and technology have put limits on today’s leaders (It’s not Followership but Stakeholdership)
  • Kristen J. Baldwin, Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Systems Engineering spoke on U.S. Department of Defense Systems Engineering for National Security -- see the youtube video.

And it was great meeting fellow Systems Engineers and be able to talk in our special shorthand in an efficient manner. In others words, it’s nice to be able to talk about Systems Engineering and be understood.

My favorite talks this year had more of a philosophical bent to them.

  • A Framework for Understanding Systems Principles and Methods by David Rousseau (Centre for Systems Philosophy) - talking about the Architecture of Systemology - discussing the flow and intersections between Systems Philosophy; Systems Science; Systems Engineering and Systems Practice. Great stuff. My favorite of the symposium. 
  • SE Management is Not SE Core Competency: Time to Shift this Outdated, 60-Year-Old Paradigm by Charles Wasson (Wasson Strategics, LLC) - by providing a history lesson on how Systems Engineering and Project Management started at the same time and for the same reasons, Charles is concerned that we Systems Engineers are focusing too much on process and not enough in ensuring we are actually engineering a quality solution. Charles is also the author of the book: System Engineering Analysis, Design, and Development: Concepts, Principles, and Practices.
  • A Conceptual Model of Systems Engineering by Swaminathan Natarajan, et. al., is a paper concerned with the highest level of abstraction for Systems Engineering as a solution creation system. They’d like to create a systems ontology (with concepts such as entities, attributes, relationships, roles etc) as an upper ontology to capture knowledge in other knowledge domains, laying the foundation for linkage across different knowledge domains. Heady stuff.

The three papers below this paragraph are of one piece. Since the summer of 2016, the INCOSE Fellows [Hillary Sillitto, Regina Griego, James Martin, Dov Dori, Patrick Godfrey, Dorothy McKinney, Daniel Krob, Eileen Arnold, and Scott Jackson] have been pursuing a special initiative to review INCOSE's definitions of 'system' and 'systems engineering', and if necessary improve them. These papers are a culmination of all their hard work.

  • What do we mean by 'system'? - System Beliefs and Worldviews in the INCOSE Community
  • A fresh look at Systems Engineering - what is it, how should it work?
  • Envisioning Systems Engineering as a Transdisciplinary Venture

These papers will be informing some future blog entries that’ll follow-up on my Posts “Systems Science — an oxymoron?” and “The Science of Systems Engineering.” After all, somebody has to "Scholarize" Systems Engineering. It might as well be me!

We were actually at the syposium to drum up some business for SE Scholar. Passing out mugs, pencils, postcards and a special coloring activity book created exclusively for the symposium. If you missed it, check it out <HERE>. I even got to meet some of my virtual students face-to-face.

 The SE Scholar Team manning the booth at INCOSE IS2018 - Washington, DC

The SE Scholar Team manning the booth at INCOSE IS2018 - Washington, DC

 I got to meet some of my on-line students - face-to-face.

I got to meet some of my on-line students - face-to-face.

 Learn all about the INCOSE SEP Certification Process through this wonderful activity book that we gave away during the syposium.

Learn all about the INCOSE SEP Certification Process through this wonderful activity book that we gave away during the syposium.

Next year, INCOSE IS2019 will be in sunny Orlando, FL. Hope to see you there.