Bilbao panorama










ISGMA 2016

2nd International Symposium on General Morphological Analysis

Bilbao, 11-12 June, 2016

Arranged by: Swedish Morphological Society (Stockholm) and InPlanta (Madrid/Bilbao)



Background: During the 1940's and 50's Fritz Zwicky, Professor of Astrophysics at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), developed a generalised form of morphological analysis for structuring and investigating the total set of relationships contained in multi-dimensional, mainly non-quantifiable, problem complexes. He applied this method to such diverse fields as the classification of astrophysical objects, the development of jet and rocket propulsion systems, and for formulating complex technological and social policy issues - issues which would later be termed "wicked problems".

Since then, general morphology - or General Morphological Analysis (GMA) - has been employed by engineers, scientists and policy professionals worldwide for structuring complex social planning issues, developing scenario and strategy laboratories, and analyzing organizational and stakeholder structures. During the last 20 years, the development of advanced computer support has made it possible to create interactive, non-quantified inference models, which significantly extends GMA's functionality, its areas of application and means of presentation. Today, GMA has become a discipline in itself.

The 2nd International Symposium on General Morphological Analysis (ISGMA 2016), held in Bilbao 11-12 June, brought together practicing morphologists from nine countries in order to survey the accelerating use of general morphology within four broad contexts:

  • Engineering design, architecture and general design theory
  • Technological forecasting, scenario development and futures studies in general
  • Policy analysis, management science and organisational development
  • Creativity, innovation and knowledge management


  • [For a more detailed discussion of these contexts see Álvarez, A. & Ritchey, T. (2015) "Applications of General Morphological Analysis: From Engineering Design to Policy Analysis", Acta Morphologica Generalis, Vol.4 No.1.]


    Speakers (in order of presentations):

    Dr. Tom Ritchey, Swedish Morphological Society, Stockholm, Sweden
    Prof. Tomasz Arciszewski, George Mason University, Fairfax, VA, U.S.A.
    Prof. Wim Zeiler, Eindhoven University of Technology, Netherlands
    Dr. Iver Johansen, Norwegian Defence Research Establishment, Oslo, Norway
    Dr. Henk Roodt, Waikato Institute of Technology, Dunedin, New Zeeland
    Dr. Mark Sh. Levin, Russian Academy of Science, Moscow, Russian Federation
    Dr. Nasir Hussain, Strategy Foresight Partnership, London, England
    Dr. Asuncion Alvarez/Dr. Pablo Toja, InPlanta, Madrid/Bilbao, Spain
    Dr. Fred Bowden, Defence Science and Technology Group, Salisbury, Australia
    Dr. Guy Duczynski, University of Western Australia, Perth, Australia


    Program:

    Program for ISGMA 2016



    Abstracts:

    TOM RITCHEY - APPLICATIONS OF GENERAL MORPHOLOGICAL ANALYSIS AS A NON-QUANTIFIED MODELLING METHOD

    The broad applications of GMA developed since the 1950's are presented in four main areas: 1) Engineering design, architecture and general design theory, 2) Futures studies, scenario development and technological forecasting, 3) Policy analysis, management science, and organisational change, and 4) Creativity, innovation and knowledge management. Also discussed are different "modes" of being a morphologist and the diverse needs of GMA for different societal sectors - e.g. public vs. private; NGOs; transnational-financed projects; and academia.


    TOMASZ ARCISZEWSKI - MORPHOLOGICAL ANALYSIS: THE KEY TO COMPUTING

    In this paper, it is argued that the major notions and the entire process of Morphological Analysis can be viewed as a precursor of the computing revolution in Science and Engineering and as a knowledge acquisition method (particularly for Machine Learning, Knowledge-Based Systems, Evolutionary Computation, etc.) In this view, MA is much more than "only" an inventive designing method. MA can be used to bridge the gap between the quantitative/analytical engineering thinking and qualitative/abstract thinking, which is required to acquire trans-disciplinary knowledge. Such knowledge is the foundation for engineering creativity and for development of inventions.


    WIM ZEILER - MORPHOLOGICAL APPROACH TO CONCEPTUAL BUILDING DESIGN

    This paper describes a Morphological Analysis-based design method developed to support diverse multidisciplinary building design teams. Research has shown that it is possible to engage engineers and enable other disciplines to learn from them within the conceptual building design phase. The approach can also be used to analyse the design processes and focus on communication within the design team as well as to represent a kind of mental map of the design team. This helps engineers to interact with the conceptual design process and add additional knowledge and experience. In this way competences beyond engineering can be added to improve the outcome of the design process.


    IVER JOHANSEN - USING MORPHOLOGICAL ANALYSIS IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF SCENARIOS FOR DEFENCE PLANNING

    The presentation describes how morphological analysis can be applied to develop a well-structured scenario set for the analysis of alternative defence structures. First a scenario space is constructed based on four parameters - Actor, Objective, Method and Means. Then a consistency analysis is carried out to rid the scenario space of solutions that are either logically inconsistent or not relevant for further analysis. The resulting solution space is then analysed to identify similarities and differences. Finally, a set of relevant, internally consistent and mutually excluding scenarios are defined. The complete scenario set represents the entire universe of possible security challenges to an actor.


    HENK ROODT - ESTABLISHING NEW TECHNOLOGY INITIATIVES IN THE INSTITUTES OF TECHNOLOGY AND POLYTECHNICS IN NEW ZEALAND - ENERGY SUFFICIENCY

    This paper discusses the use of Morphological Analysis by the New Zealand Institutes of Technology and Polytechnics (ITP) sector and the issues which it faces to be relevant within the context of industry and excel at applied research and application of technology and service innovation towards real world solutions. In particular, it describes progress on the applicability and use of GMA as regards Energy Sufficiency as a vehicle for cooperation and the challenges encountered.


    MARK SH. LEVIN - HIERARCHICAL MORPHOLOGICAL APPROACH TO MODULAR SYSTEMS AND COMBINATORIAL MODELLING

    In this paper, some extensions of basic Morphological Analysis are suggested: (i) hierarchical modular system, (ii) multi-criteria/ordinal description of design alternatives (DAs), (iii) analysis of ordinal compatibility DAs, and (iv) combinatorial problems: multi-criteria ranking (sorting) of DAs and synthesis/composition (as morphological clique) of DAs while taking into account quality of the selected DAs and quality of their compatibility. A support technology platform for modular systems is presented and some applications are described (e.g., modular software, control system, communication protocol, building, medical treatment, educational course).


    NASIR HUSSAIN - GETTING ORGANISATIONAL BUY-IN FOR MORPHOLOGICAL ANALYSIS AS A DECISION SUPPORT TOOL: TALES FROM THE COALFACE

    The author presents his experiences of promoting morphological analysis as a decision support tool to commercial and not-for-profit organisations. Feedback from clients - both those that have considered/used it and those that did not - is described through a series of short case studies. Also described are strategies followed to overcome organisational/cultural, logistical and budgetary constraints. A number of issues that arise to achieve buy-in from clients are also discussed, as are findings from other disciplines to show how the "selling" cycle can be shortened.


    ASUNCIÓN ÁLVAREZ AND PABLO TOJA - APPLYING GMA IN PRIVATE COMPANIES

    This paper describes the result of a survey - comprising a questionnaire and personal interviews - among a number of managers in Spanish companies (or companies with Spanish branches) - which the authors believed would be good potential candidates for Morphological Analysis. The results of the paper are expounded, as is the authors' interpretation of the results and the conclusions drawn regarding (i) the potential application of GMA in Spanish and unexplored markets, and (ii) the existence of differential factors in the private sector with respect to the public sector as regards their potential as GMA clients.


    FRED BOWDEN - APPLICATION OF GENERAL MORPHOLOGICAL ANALYSIS TO DEFENCE FORCE MODERNISATION

    This presentation will outline how General Morphological Analysis has been used to aid in development of analytical campaigns in support of Army Modernisation. It will also outline three developments made to enhance their utility; ranking of possible configurations, dynamic morphologic trees and consideration of feasible scenario spaces. This has helped to provide confidence that key possibilities are considered when considering Defence Force modernisation, as well as how it helps to identify those possibilities that may not exist today but may be critical tomorrow.


    GUY DUCZYNSKI - ISSUES OF ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT FOR INDIGENOUS AUSTRALIANS; & A STUDY OF JOINT OPERATIONS PLANNING FOR INTERNATIONAL ENGAGEMENTS

    The paper describes two GMA projects. The first one led to the development of a morphological field for North Korea, involving 20 senior military planners. The second study deals with the issues associated with a large group of indigenous Australians in the South West of Western Australia and how to systematically tackle issues which contribute to poor health, limited life expectancy, high unemployment, alcohol and substance abuse and other crippling social problems.


    TOM RITCHEY - VARIOUS MODELLING TECHNIQUES WITH COMPUTER-AIDED MORPHOLOGICAL ANALYSIS

    A number of case studies are presented demonstrating different modelling techniques that can be employed using computer-aided morphological analysis, especially as concerns the development of virtual laboratories and non-quantified inference models. Issues include simplex and duplex modelling, scenario-strategy overlay techniques and gap analysis. Different synthetic and analytic presentations of results will also be discussed, e.g. predictive, prescriptive and diagnostic procedures.


    * The 1st International Symposium on GMA was held in Stockholm in June 1997 and brought together morphologists from five countries: France, Germany, Sweden, U.K. and U.S.A.

    Swedish Morphological Society
    Acta Morphologica Generalis
    Email: ritchey@swemorph.com | Web: www.swemorph.com
    Org. no. 802452-3162