We share Professor Ison’s concerns. A split in systemic thinking erupted in the origins of the Club of Rome in 1970. An original proposal by Hasan Ozbekhan and Aleco Christakis offered 49 Continuous Critical Problems (CCPs) and argued for a dialogical method for dealing with them. This dialogue-based proposal was rejected in favor of an expert-design System Dynamics approach that resulted in the publication of The Limits to Growth. As a result of the report and parallel efforts, system dynamics became a dominating example of systemic thinking.
Meanwhile, a dialogical approach for dealing with systemic complexity was launched in the form of Interactive Management through the efforts of Aleco and John Warfield. In its further refinements IM has become Structured Dialogic Design (SDD).
Tom Flanagan and I have recently published a workbook that addresses the full human complexity of pressures on our planet using SDD. One sure method of getting a group to agree on priorities for dealing with those pressures is to get them to spend a day focused on the 49 CCPs using SDD. Perhaps some conference will have the courage to atte3mmpt this. The book is A Democratic Approach to Sustainable Futures: A Workbook for Addressing the Global Problematique. It is available either at Create Space or through Amazon.