Return to About the TIG

Our History


The Systems TIG developed from a series of sessions held during the 2003 AEA Annual Meeting in Washington DC that focused on systems theory and systems thinking. The TIG held its first planning meeting in Atlanta in 2004 (attendance: 4).

  • First TIG Chair: Patricia Rogers as our first TIG chair
  • First Program Co-Chairs:  Bob Williams and Jan Noga
  • First Communications Chair/Webmaster: Deb Wasserman



Our first conference program. We sponsored 12 sessions that year. Attendance at the biz meeting exceeded our wildest expectations: 60 people packed our tiny room and spilled out into the corridor.



We again sponsored 12 sessions plus our business meeting. Notable events:

  • We launched the Big TIG question during the business meeting, which has since become an annual tradition
  • Bob Williams and Iraj Imam brought together a team of systems thinkers to craft a first-ever anthology on systems thinking for evaluation



TIG leadership places a priority on welcoming members at all levels of experience, comfort, and familiarity with systems thinking. We have a diverse membership of professionals from 35+ countries spanning a wide range of experience in systems thinking and in evaluation. Several members have published books focusing on systems thinking and evaluation, and a number of TIG members have served on the AEA Board, including 2014 AEA President Beverly Parsons.

A priority for the TIG has been to craft offerings and activities that are both interesting and accessible to all systems thinkers, whether novice or experienced. As a result, we’ve seen the focus of our conference sessions evolve along the following lines:

  • defining this thing called systems thinking
  • how we’re using systems thinking in our work
  • how we can support others in the use of systems thinking in evaluation practice
  • developing guiding principles for the use of systems thinking in program evaluation


Permanent link to this article: