What Is An Issue?

During my tenure as a Dept. Chair of Biology and across work in the University Faculty Senate, I learned from hired consultants for key meetings about the “parking lot” and the “issue bin.” These were memes passed around by consultants that recognized that EVERY group had disputes that simply could not be resolved in the time span of most meetings. So these were supposed to be recognized as “irresolvable” debates that took up vast amounts of time without ever coming to or allowing consensus.

Most of this was because there were really good arguments on both sides of the paradox or irresolvable issue and so a group of advocates on both sides that perpetuated the argument. Best to recognize and admit the paradox and move on. The systems theory movement as a whole has a number of such irresolvable issues that inhibit progress. Best to recognize those and move on. A good example of this occurred in the INCOSE (International Council of Systems Engineers). They were trying to “define system” – certainly a most basic starting point for their new discipline. The INCOSE Fellows (honorary title for recognized contributions of the past) were charged with finding a widely agreed upon definition. They could not and research led by Dr.Hillary Sillitto revealed that this was because there were large sub-groups with completely different worldviews that made it impossible for them to agree on one definition.

We have found and maintain that across the growing population of systems-aware and systems-focused people there are also large sub-populations with completely different worldviews. This has inhibited both selection, improvement, and evolution-integration of systems theories with the resulting fragmentation and isolation. By citing Systems Issues here and in my books, I hope to allow us to achieve more progress.