SYSTEMS LITERACY Evolving our Power to Address the Issues of Our Time


  • William E Smith ODII
  • Peter David Tuddenham College of Exploration


power, practice, purpose, control, appreciation, influence, systems literacy


Issues of complexity, governance, power, influence and control and climate among so many other issues are opportunities to develop systems literacy globally. Building on work in the systems sciences and social sciences we suggest an approach to inclusive design.

We seek to address the interests and needs of the whole society and environment that supports us. While we may not have intended these consequences, time has shown that our programs have resulted in societal threats to the ocean, earth, health, education, and infrastructure, political and social justice.This poster proposes evolutionary improvements in the process of social design by developing a five-dimensional organizing process drawn from the natural wisdom in our languages of science, our native languages, and our language of light, darkness, and color (LDC).

Link to the poster PDF

Author Biographies

William E Smith, ODII

Bill is a social scientist who has contributed innovative thinking, and practice in the fields of , organization, leadership and social development.
He has created and implemented new approaches to organization for multinational corporations, for governments, the World Bank and the United Nations in many parts of the world.
While working for British Airways, he made Rome the best performing of all the airline's stations in less than six months. The results defied any current explanation, so he moved to the United States to discover the sources of exceptional performance in organizations by pursuing an MBA.
He found an answer to his quest while pursuing a PhD researching “The Design of Rural Development Projects,” for the World Bank,
The resulting model linked purpose, power and leadership into a new framework named after the three universal powers at its center appreciation, influence and control, AIC. The model has been applied all over the world to individuals, organization and countries.
Over the last ten years he has been applying the AIC concepts to the development of leaders capable of implementing such approaches and has been adapting them for teaching in a University setting. In particular, he helped architect a Master Program with George Washington University that has succeeded in producing such leaders.
He is developing a set of Instruments—Power Maps—that give users insight into their own purpose and the unique pattern of AIC power relationships they create.
He is now looking for opportunities that combine his experience in regional development with organizational and leadership development


Peter David Tuddenham, College of Exploration

Mr. Peter Tuddenham is a co-founder of the College of Exploration, Virginia, USA, which over the past 20 years has engaged over 15,000 learners worldwide in online collaborative learning environments. Participants from a wide variety of disciplines and countries meet online to explore, learn and create with each other on a variety of ecosystem topics especially ocean, earth and climate systems.  He has been a Co-Principal Investigator on a number of National Science Foundation and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration grants researching and educating on the topics of ocean and earth science literacy, change and learning in complex adaptive systems.  He is Managing Director of CoExploration Ltd, Dorset, England which is a partner with 15 European organizations on an EU Horizon 2020 ocean literacy initiitive across Europe.   Mr. Tuddenham served for three years as guest faculty in Executive Development at the U.S. Army War College, Carlisle PA,  studying personal development for systems leadership. This action research was part of a research project at the U.S. Army Research Institute. Prior to that work he was Strategic Issues Manager for Arizona Public Service in Phoenix AZ,  and before that worked as Communications Systems Manager for the Adolph Coors Company in Golden, Colorado. Currently Mr. Tuddenham is serving as Vice-President of the International Society for Systems Sciences where he is coordinating a global effort to develop systems literacy. He has studied Systems Design and Systems Behaviour at Saybrook University in San Francisco and the Open University in England. He has a BS in Business from Regis University in Denver, Colorado. Before moving to the USA he was commissioned as an officer in the British Army Corps of Royal Engineers from the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst.



How to Cite

Smith, W. E., & Tuddenham, P. D. (2021). SYSTEMS LITERACY Evolving our Power to Address the Issues of Our Time. Proceedings of the 63rd Annual Meeting of the ISSS - 2019 Corvallis, OR, USA, 63(1). Retrieved from