Ray Ison has been Professor of Systems at the UK Open University (OU) since 1994 where he has developed an international standing in Systems scholarship and made significant contributions through his research, teaching and consultancy. At the OU he and colleagues run the STiP (Systems Thinking in Practice) Postgraduate Program. Ray's expertise is in STiP education and capability-building as well as systemic governance (see his latest book co-authored with Ed Straw). His research has focused on social learning, systemic environmental decision making, ‘knowledge transfer’, design of learning/inquiring systems and the sustainability of agricultural systems. From 2008-15 as Professor of Systems for Sustainability at Monash University's then Sustainability Institute he founded and led the Systemic Governance Research Program. His social learning research and practice innovation demonstrates how it could be employed as an alternative governance mechanism for managing complex, or ‘wicked’ situations, particularly water catchments and other multiple stakeholder settings.
Ray’s work has found practical application in diverse fields including governance reform, water and river governance, organisational change, staff induction, Higher Education reform, rural development and climate change adaptation. Ray’s earlier book, widely used and studied, was Systems Practice. How to Act.