I am pleased that you have stopped here to read something of my research interest.   A selection of abstracts and in some cases, links to a full version of some of my publications, is below:


Research - Social Systems Design

My initial area of research (1991) was focussed on 'social systems design' - a sub-discipline initiated by Bela Banathy - see his "Designing Social Systems in a Changing World" Plenum, (1996). This research aim  was focused on how we might individually and collectively contribute to the design of a better future for mankind, rather than just let the future happen. This raised enormous questions relating to the role of education in developing within individuals the competence to engage in what Banathy considered to be a design process.

Here are a set of very broad questions which the initial  researchers started to explore through a series of conversations :

- What kind of society do we envisage for our grandchildren's grandchildren?

- If we have such a vision of such a society what kind of education systems will engender the society we have envisioned?

- If we have a vision of such a society and an education systems to support it, what arrangements and processes for learning, student support, logistics and funding do we envision?

- How do we implement such a system?

These questions are abstact and proved difficult in finding lever points.  However, the underpinning concept was compelling to me, and I was keen to find a practical context.  here is an on-line learning module which relates them , not to major changes to education,  but to the level of a small social unit, or as I put it  to any small social enterprise trying to find a better way forward.

This interest also led me into further research into a style of dialogue or conversation which Banathy proposed, by which he suggested we co-design and co-create a new future.  

Based on some 30 years of experience of Banathy-style conversation, what makes them effective and how to avoid possible pitfalls,  I have written:

Design Guides for Conversation

NB  These are available below and open in a separate window. They are also available via the archive on the IFSR website

Guide for Designing and Sustaining Conversation (V8 Dec 2016) - and an Addendum for Team leaders for the Guide (V6 Dec 2016)


"Evolution unfit for Purpose: a pathway toward  a better future", Milton Contact Ltd, Cambridge, November 2018

This focusses on practical application at the level of small social systems or work groups. See:

"Safeguarding our future:  Systems thinking framework for action post Covid-19", Milton Contact Ltd, Cambridge, May 2023

This book was triggered by the Covid-19 experience and the significant number of deaths occurring in the UK and US. It provides a historical amd systems analysis to throw light on how liberal democracy is not necesarily the best way to deal with future severe threats and suggests a systemic framework and markers for adaptations in governance and education to meet such events. The book expands on the detailed conversation methodology in the first book. It also highlights areas of application relevant to groups that need to move forward following a trauma.  This might be a case of a group which has experienced, or been party to, child or sexual abuse, or racism. The methodology provides a way for agreement to a new  and acceptable way of 'being' or 'operating'.

For further description follow the link to the publishers page

The book is available as a free download from the INTERNET ARCHIVE

Other Publications

Contributions to Books: Articles or Chapters

"Am I using a Systems Approach?- a framework for response" in Systems Science: Addressing Global Issues, Edited by Stowell, F.A. et al, Plenum Press, New York, , July 1993

"Methodology: Guardian of the Realm of Systems Science or a Straitjacket?" in Cybernetics and Systems Science , Edited by Trappl,R , World Scientific Press, April 1994

"Life-long Learning OK! but to what future learning agenda?" in Systems for Sustainability: People, Organisations and Ecnvironments, Edited by F.Stowell et.al., Plenum, New York , July 1997

"Systems Design for Education" (with Craft. A.,) in " Can You Teach Creativity, (with Craft A., Dugal J., Jeffrey B.,and Lyons T.) Education Now, Nottingham, October 1997

"Changing Roles and Processes in Online Tuition for Higher Education" in Usability Evaluation of Online Learning Programmes, Edited by C.Ghaoui, Idea group Publishing, PA (2003)

"Metaphor as trigger for Individual Emergence" in Systemica, (2008)

 "Rights and Responsibilities in Conversation Practice" in Dialogue as a Collective Means of Design Conversation (Volume II), Banathy B.H. and Jenlink P.J (Eds), Springer, New York, (2008)


Journal Articles

"Design and Implementation of an MBA Program in the United Kingdom". American Journal of Distance Education Vol 5 No.2 1991

"Empowerment and Reduction of Isolation of Housebound Disabled Students: A Computer Mediated Communication Project at the UK Open University". Electronic Networking: Research, Applications and Policy Vol l No 2 Winter 1991

"Am I Using a Systems Approach?" Systems Practice, Vol. 6, 4, August 1993

"The 1992 Asilomar Conversation: A Journey for Systems Travellers" (with Banathy,B.H., Pruzan,.P., and Horiuchi,Y.) Review of Administration and Informatics, Vol 6,No. 2. March 1994, University of Shizuoka, Japan.

"Design of a Conversation" (with Collen,A. et.al) Review of Administration and Informatics , Vol 7,No.1 January 1995, University of Shizuoka, Japan.

"Developing a Family Declaration of Interdependence: A Methodology for Systems Design within a Small Social Unit" Systems Research, Vol 12, No. 3. pp.201 -208 Wiley (September 1995)

"Communication Methods for Design of Conversations: Some Cultural Perspectives" (with Banathy, B.A. et al.) Review of Administration and Informatics, Vol. 8, No. 1. December 1995, University of Shizuoka.

"Enthalpy: A Metaphor for a Design Guide for Conversation", Educational Technology Vol. 36, No. 1 , Englewood Cliffs, NJ, USA ( January-February 1996)

"Enthalpy: A Metaphor for the Chemistry of Conversation" Systems Research Vol 13,2 Wiley (June 1996)

"Formulating a Transnational Design Inquiring System using Japanese Cultural Values in a Japanese Setting" (with Horiuchi Y. et al) Review of Administration and Informatics, University of Shizuoka, Japan (March 97)

"Future life-long learning: a Provisional model for the Creation of Value" (with Horiuchi et al.) Review of Administration and Informatics, University of Shizuoka, Japan (November 98)

"The Y3K Problem: Evolutionary Guidance Towards the year 3000" (with Brahms S. et al.) in Social Systems and the Future, Austrian Society for Cybernetic Studies,(November 2000 )

"The Y3K Problem: Building a Better World for the year 3000" (with Brahms S. et al.) Review of Administration and Informatics, University of Shizuoka, Japan (November 2000)

"It's a Small World Idea Book team: "2000 Asilomar Summary" (with Brahms S. et al.) Review of Administration and Informatics,  Vol 13,2 University of Shizuoka, Japan (March 2001)

"Towards a New Meta-systems Paradigm for Y3K" (with Hammond D. et al.) Review of Administration and Informatics, Vol 15,1 University of Shizuoka, Japan (November 2002)

"Triggering Individual Emergence:Inspiration of Banathy the Visionary" World Futures pp 365-378 Vol 58, Nos 5-6 (September-December 2002)

"Beyond Systems Design as we know it." Journal of European Union Systems Science  (Res-Systemica) ,  Vol 2 Special Issue (December 2002 ) [online]. Available from:  http://www.afscet.asso.fr/res-systemica/ [Accessed 28 December  2005]

"Repositing Thinking for Future Social Systems Design: In Tribute to Bela H. Banathy and his Inspiration of the Fuschl Conversations" Systems Practice and Action Research Vol 17, No.4, August 2004"

"Metaphor as trigger for Individual Emergence" in Systemica Vol 14, Journal of the Dutch Systems Group (2007)

"Enthalpy Change: firing enthusiasm for learning" in Journal of Business Chemistry Vol. 4, Issue 3, University of Munster, Sept 2007

"The Banathy Conversation Methodology" (with Jones J, Rowland G, & Zweifel S.) (2015) in Constructivist Foundations 11(1): 42-50. Available for download at http://www.univie.ac.at/constructivism/journal/11/1/042.dyer (accessed 20 May 2017)


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Papers in International Conference Proceedings

"Landscape Painting as a Metaphor for Systems Design: Analysis, Interpretation and Limitations" (with Dyer, J), 38th Annual Conference of the International Society for the Systems Sciences, Asilomar, California, USA, June 1994.

"Exploring Interdependence in the Context of Social Systems Design" in Proceedings of the Seventh International Conversation on Comprehensive Design of Social Systems" (ed. Rowland, G), sponsored by the International Systems Institute, Asilomar, California November 1995

"Enhancing Systems Design Practice Through Creative Synergy" (with Collen, A et al) in Proceedings of the Eighth Fuschl Conversation, sponsored by the International Federation of Systems Research, Austria, April 1996

"Metaphorming for Systems Designers" (with Dyer, J et al) in Proceedings of the Ninth International Conversation on Comprehensive Design of Social Systems" " (ed. Rowland,G), sponsored by the International Systems Institute, Asilomar, California ,November 1997

"Towards Integrative Systems Engineering:A case study derived form the movement of people, goods and information" ( with Chroust G et al) in Proceedings of the IFSR Conversation 2010, Pernegg, Austria, (available on-line at http://www.ifsr.org/index.php/proceedins-of-the-ifsr-conversation-2010-pernegg-austria). accessed Nov 2015

"Future Directions of the Banathy Conversation Methodology" (with Rowland G et al) in Proceedings of the IFSR Conversation ,Linz , Austria 2014 (available on-line at http://www.ifsr.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/IFSR-Conversation-2014-Proceedings.pdf )

"How do we identify transcultural metaphors?" Output reflection paper - in Proceedings of the IFSR Conversation ,Linz , Austria 2014  (available ibid)

"Social Evolution unfitfor purpose: a pathwway to a beter future" - Annual Conference of UK OR Society - Dec 12 2019 Abstract in Proceedings

"Covid-19 lessons - proposals for creating a group’s future through the lens of Banathy’s evolutionary consciousness, Annual Conference of the UK OR Society Sep 16 (Paper 1) -On-line. Video available for OR Society members only for one year

"Post Covid-19 – Some markers for practical methodology through the viewpoint of Banathy’s conscious evolution ",Annual Conference of the UK OR Society Sep 16 (Paper 2) - On-line. Video available for OR Society members only for one year


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