Whole systems inquiry (WSI) helps people see complex topics as functional activities with inputs, outputs, interactions, and performance of the system over time. The authors used WSI to design a national symposium with 800 attendees who responded to two questions at the end of 70 topical sessions. Responses were aggregated onto a mega-map, synthesized into themes, and drawn as an emerging system. Work groups compared emerging themes with national priorities while individual participants evaluated utility in their disciplinary programs. We conclude that large meetings can be designed as functional systems with participation, synthesis, and evaluation of intentional learning.

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