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Professor Simon Bell

Professor Simon Bell

Professional biography

https://youtu.be/TQwA9krV8EA

Research interests

Research focus

My research and scholarship focuses on participation and methodologies to promote it, including the role of information systems. The main methodologies developed through research are: ‘Imagine’, ‘Triple Task’, ‘Multiview’ and Logical Framework. I am primarily interested in methods which help us to understand complex issues. 

Formations of Terror

2015 - 2017. I have been engaged in scholarship into the phenomena of fear. I have two major publications in this regard: 

Bell, S. 2017. The Formations of Terror. Cambridge Scholars. London. ISBN: 1-4438-4705-4

and the graphic novel: 

Project Fear. 

There are a host of books about fear but, as yet, there has been little attempt to methodically and systemically assess how fear emerges and is targeted. This highly readable yet rigorous book sets about the methodical assessment of fear as an emergent property. Working from the personal experience of fear as ‘everyman’, and then using examples and case studies, it explores the main principles which lie behind the manifestation of fear of all kinds. Using climate change as its specific point of focus, fear is seen to be a major force in problem assessment and analysis and, by accident or intention, a significant confusion to human decision making. By the systemic development of the main features of the Paradigm of Fear and the identification of Fear Amplifying and Fear Attenuating systems, the book demonstrates how fear can be contained, how new social forms can arise and how new behaviours and social qualities can mitigate the Formations of Terror.

Sustainability Indicators and Sustainable Community (Imagine and Triple Task)

2015. Principal Investigator on Making Metrics Meaningful – an Open University funded research project on sustainability and community in Milton Keynes. £15k.

2013. Co Investigator: AHRC funded project - Understanding the Changing Cultural Value of the BBC World Service and British Council. AHRC noted: It was awarded a top grade 6 “An outstanding proposal that is world-leading in all of the following: scholarship, originality, quality, and significance. It fully meets all the assessment criteria for the scheme and excels in many or all of these. It provides full and consistent evidence and justification for the proposal and management arrangements are clear and convincing. It should be funded as a matter of the very highest priority.” Outcomes presented at: Conference of International Broadcasters' Audience Research Services, Cité Internationale Universitaire de Paris 2nd-5th November 2014.

2013. Principal Investigator for a joint project with INSEAD in Abu Dhabi: Triple Task Analysis of Policy Maker Decision Making in Education. £20k.

2008 – 2011. Principal Investigator for UK contribution to FP7 project, Policy Influence of Indicators or POINT project. €1.4 million (Bayswater element €170,000)

2000 – 2011. Principal Investigator for six projects funded by the Mediterranean Action Plan: Systemic Sustainability Analysis in Malta, Lebanon, Slovenia, Algeria, Cyprus and Spain.

2008 Principal Investigator for the Academy for Sustainable Communities and Homes and Communities Agency. Analysing, adapting and testing a taught version of the Imagine Methodology – Creating Sustainable Communities. (£100,000).

2008 – 2010. Member of ITd Net – International Transdisciplinary Net on Case Studies for Sustainable Development (funded attendance at conferences in Helsinki in 2008 and Vienna in 2010).

Teaching interests

I have Chaired the following modules, mostly from production to presentation 

2009 – present. T319: Environmental Management II: Production Chair.

2008.  Creating Sustainable Communities VLE: Production Chair. http://learn.open.ac.uk/course/view.php?id=5548

2007. GT045: Managing Complexity. Production Chair.http://www3.open.ac.uk/courses/bin/p12.dll?C01GT045

2002 – 2012.    T851: The Information Systems Toolkit: 

2002 – 2008.    TXR248: Experiencing Systems: Production and Presentation Chair.

1997 – 2013        T306: Managing Complexity – a systems approach.

Production Chair (1997-2000) Presentation and Exam Board Chair (2000-2006).

1996 – 2001.    T843: Management Information Systems:

Production Chair (1996-1997). Presentation and Exam Board Chair.(1997-2001).

1997 – 2000.    T301: Complexity, Management and Change. Applying a systems approach: 

Impact and engagement

Some of my more recent engagements include: 

2015. Facilitator to Step up to Serve and the Prince’s Trust, Holborn, London. January 13th

2015. Facilitator to Lord Raefe Lucas and his team for The Good Careers Guide. Millbank, London. January 9th

2014. Designer and Facilitator, Capgemini Co-Innovation Lab workshop – for staff of the Accelerated Solutions Environment (ASE) ‘Systems Thinking Clinic’. Capgemini, Holborn Aqueduct, London. December 18th.  

2014. Designer and Facilitator, Conciliation Resources. Strategic Planning Workshop. Cecil Sharp House, 2 Regent's Park Road, London. December 8th

2014 Evaluation of the Digisheds project: Brixton London. Funded by Capgemini and the Department for Work and Pensions. 

2014 Reviewer to the Hauser Center at Harvard University: Global Analysis of Fund Managers: Water governance as a case study for integration of environmental, social and governance (ESG) information. 

2012. Consultant to CapGemini/ Rolls Royce. Aston, UK. 

2012. Consultant to Priorities Action Programme, Regional Activity Centre, Split, Croatia. 

2010. Consultant to Future of London – Sustainable Community Training for London Borough High-Flyer Programme. 

External collaborations

I am currently a Visiting Professor with Capgemini. 

In recent years I have been Visiting Professor at INSEAD in Abu Dhabi, the University of Tsukuba in Japan and Senior Fellow at International Development at the University of East Anglia. 

I have collaborated with a variety of national and international organisations including the British Council, The World Bank and the United Nations. I have research grants from the European Union and the Arts and Humanities Research Council. 

Research Activity

Research groups

NameTypeParent Unit
Open Systems Research GroupGroupFaculty of Mathematics, Computing and Technology

Publications

Towards an Effective Multi-Stakeholder Consultation Process: Applying the Imagine Method in Context of Abu Dhabi’s Education Policy (2016-08)
Mahroum, Sami; Bell, Simon; Al-Saleh, Yasser and Yassin, Nasser
Systemic Practice and Action Research, 29(4) (pp. 335-353)
Rich Pictures: Sustainable Development and Stakeholders – The Benefits of Content Analysis (2016-03)
Bell, Simon; Berg, Tessa and Morse, Stephen
Sustainable Development, 24(2) (pp. 136-148)
Towards understanding problem structuring and groups with Triple Task Methodology 'e' (2016)
Bell, Simon; Mahroun, Sami and Yassin, Nasser
Journal of the Operational Research Society ((In Press))
Participating in the knowledge society (2015-06)
Bell, Simon
Systemic Practice and Action Research, 28(3) (pp. 289-296)
Transdisciplinary sustainability: the Council for Frontiers of Knowledge (2014-05-06)
Agrell, Cecilia; Bell, Simon; Bosco, Filipo; Diamond, Dermot; Emnéus, Jenny; Guiseppi-Elie, Anthony; Katsube, Atkins; Lynch, Jim; Morse, Stephen; Moussy, Francis G.; Murtagh, Fionn; Nair, P. K. R. and Weathers, Pam
International Journal of Transdisciplinary Research, 7(1) (pp. 1-26)
The innovation of Multiview3 for development professionals (2014-05-05)
Bell, Simon and Wood-Harper, Trevor
Electronic Journal of Information Systems in Developing Countries, 63(3) (pp. 1-25)
Groups and indicators in post-industrial society (2014-05)
Bell, Simon and Morse, Stephen
Sustainable Development, 22(3) (pp. 145-157)
Assessing the use and influence of sustainability indicators at the European periphery (2013-12)
Cassar, Louis F.; Conrad, Elisabeth; Bell, Simon and Morse, Stephen
Ecological Indicators, 35 (pp. 52-61)
Towards an understanding of how policy making groups use indicators (2013-12)
Bell, Simon and Morse, Stephen
Ecological Indicators, 35 (pp. 13-23)
Imagine coastal sustainability (2013-10)
Bell, Simon; Correa Peña, Ana and Prem, Marko
Ocean and Coastal Management, 83 (pp. 39-51)
Rich pictures: a means to explore the ‘sustainable mind’? (2013-02)
Bell, Simon and Morse, Stephen
Sustainable Development, 21(1) (pp. 30-47)
DPSIR = A problem structuring method? An exploration from the “Imagine” approach (2012-10-16)
Bell, Simon
European Journal of Operational Research, 222(2) (pp. 350-360)
John Naughton Technology Systemisist: Observations on a new book from the Networker (2012-06)
Bell, Simon
Systemic Practice and Action Research, 25(3) (pp. 301-304)
Understanding stakeholder participation as part of sustainable development (2012-03)
Bell, Simon; Morse, Stephen and Shah, Rupesh
Journal of Environmental Management, 101(1) (pp. 13-22)
London's Olympic legacy and the Imagine methodology (2012-02)
Bell, Simon and Farren Bradley, Judi
Local Economy, 27(1) (pp. 68-77)
Groups and facilitators within problem structuring processes (2012)
Bell, Simon and Morse, Stephen
Journal of the Operational Research Society, 64(7) (pp. 959-972)
Fair and open approach to academic publishing (Editorial) (2011-12)
Bell, Simon and Flood, Robert L.
Systemic Practice and Action Research, 24(6) (pp. 499-503)
From sustainable community to Big Society: ten years learning with the Imagine approach (2011-08-08)
Bell, Simon
International Research in Geographical and Environmental Education, 20(3) (pp. 247-267)
From sustainable community to Big Society: 10 years learning with the Imagine approach (2011-08)
Bell, Simon
International Research in Geographical and Environmental Education, 20(3) (pp. 247-267)
Being, engaging, contextualizing and managing matrix — a means for nonspecialists to assess group dynamics? (2011-08)
Bell, Simon and Morse, Stephen
Systems Research and Behavioural Science , 28(4) (pp. 319-339)
Futurescaping infinite bandwidth, zero latency (2011-06)
Bell, Simon and Walker, Steve
Futures, 43(5) (pp. 525-539)
Sustainable development indicators: the tyranny of methodology revisited (2011)
Morse, Stephen and Bell, Simon
Consilience: The Journal of Sustainable Development, 6(1) (pp. 222-239)
An analysis of the factors influencing the use of indicators in the European Union (2011)
Bell, Simon and Morse, Stephen
Local Environment, 16(3) (pp. 281-302)
Triple Task method: systemic, reflective action research (2010-12)
Bell, Simon and Morse, Stephen
Systemic Practice and Action Research, 23(6) (pp. 443-452)
Creating sustainable communities - A means to enhance social mobility? (2009-12)
Bell, Simon and Lane, Amanda
Local Economy, 24(8) (pp. 646-657)
Systemic approaches to managing across the gap in the Public Sector: results of an action research programme (2008)
Bell, Simon
Systemic Practice and Action Research, 21(3) (pp. 227-240)
Problem structuring methods: theorizing the benefits of deconstructing sustainable development projects (2007-05)
Bell, S. and Morse, S.
Journal of the Operational Research Society, 58(5) (pp. 576-587)
Applying the multiview analysis and design methodology in a non-governmental organisation in Bangladesh (2007-04-01)
Bell, Simon and Wood-Harper, A.T.
Journal of Global Information Technology Management, 10(2) (pp. 7-33)
Story telling in sustainable development projects (2007)
Bell, Simon and Morse, Stephen
Sustainable Development, 15(2) (pp. 97-110)
Applying the multiview analysis and design methodology in a non governmental organisation in Bangladesh (2007)
Bell, Simon and Wood-Harper, A. T.
Journal of Global Information Technology Management, 10(2) (pp. 7-33)
Applying Systemic Project Management Approaches for the UK National Health Service (2006-02)
Bell, Simon and Christina, Ann
Systemic Practice and Action Research, 19(1) (pp. 27-43)
Editorial (2005-08)
Bell, Simon
Systemic Practice and Action Research, 18(4) (pp. 335-337)
Holism and understanding sustainability (2005-08)
Bell, Simon and Morse, Stephen
Systemic Practice and Action Research, 18(4) (pp. 409-426)
Delivering sustainability therapy in sustainable development projects (2005-04)
Bell, Simon and Morse, Stephen
Journal of Environmental Management, 75(1) (pp. 37-51)
Experiences with sustainability indicators and stakeholder participation: a case study relating to a 'Blue Plan' project in Malta (2004-02)
Bell, Simon and Morse, Stephen
Sustainable Development, 12(1) (pp. 1-14)
Surfing the Third Wave: Experiential Reflections on New Working Practices (2002-02)
Bell, Simon
Systemic Practice and Action Research, 15(1) (67 -82)
Special Issue Editorial: Reflections on Systems Thinking and Systems Practice at the UK Open University (2001-12)
Bell, Simon
Systemic Practice and Action Research, 14(6) (pp. 661-667)
Breaking through the glass ceiling: Who really cares about Sustainability Indicators? (2001-08-01)
Bell, Simon and Morse, Stephen
Local Environment, 6(3) (pp. 291-309)
From teaching to learning: technological potential and sustainable, supported open learning (1998-12)
Bell, Simon and Lane, Andrew
Systems Practice and Action Research, 11(6) (pp. 629-650)
The Formations of Terror (2017-03)
Bell,, Simon
ISBN : 1-4438-4705-4 | Publisher : Cambridge Scholars | Published : London
Rich Pictures: Encouraging Resilient Communities (2016-03-31)
Bell, Simon; Berg, Tessa and Morse, Stephen
Earthscan Tools for Community Planning
ISBN : 978-1138898738 | Publisher : Routledge | Published : London
Resilient Participation: Saving the Human Project (2012-03)
Bell, Simon and Morse, Stephen
ISBN : 1849712557 | Publisher : Earthscan | Published : London
Sustainability Indicators: Measuring the immeasurable (2nd ed) (2008)
Bell, Simon and Morse, Stephen
ISBN : 1-85383-498-x | Publisher : Earthscan | Published : London
A practitioner's guide to 'Imagine', the systemic and prospective sustainability analysis (2005-10)
Bell, Simon and Coudert, Elisabeth
Blue Plan Papers
ISBN : 2 912081 15 7 | Publisher : UNEP | Published : Valbonne, France
How to set up and run information systems: a non-specialist's guide. 2nd edition (2003-06)
Bell, Simon and Wood-Harper, Trevor
ISBN : 1853839582 | Publisher : Earthscan | Published : London, UK
Measuring sustainability: learning by doing (2003-03)
Bell, Simon and Morse, Stephen
ISBN : 1853838438 | Publisher : Earthscan | Published : London, UK
Learning with Information Systems: Learning cycles and information systems development (1996)
Bell, Simon
ISBN : 0-415-10603-6 | Publisher : Routledge | Published : London
Story telling in Action Research projects: Malta, Bangladesh, Lebanon and Slovenia (2007)
Bell, Simon and Wood-Harper, Trevor
In: Kock, Ned ed. Information Systems Action Research: Bridging the Industry-University Technology Gap (pp. 161-192)
ISBN : 0 38736 059 x | Publisher : Springer | Published : New York
Rethinking Models of Evaluation: Sustainability as the Goal of International Cultural Organisations (2016-06-15)
Bell, Simon; Gillespie, Marie and Wilding , Colin
In : International Sustainable Development Research Conference (13 - 15 July 2016, Lisbon, Portugal)
Rich pictures – beyond the tipping point (2015-08-10)
Bell, Simon; Berg, Tessa and Morse, Stephen
In : 21st International Sustainable Development Research Society Conference Tipping Point: Vulnerability and Adaptive Capacity (10 - 12 July , Geelong, Australia)
The soul of groups: eductive interpretation of rich pictures (2015-07-13)
Berg, Tessa; Bell, Simon and Morse, Stephen
In : 27th European Conference on Operational Research (EURO 2015) (13th July 2015, Glasgow)
Formations of terror - can systems approaches help us to model and avoid the tipping point? (2015-07-12)
Bell, Simon
In : 21st International Sustainable Development Research Society Conference Tipping Point: Vulnerability and Adaptive Capacity (10 - 12 July 2015, Geelong, Australia)
Imagine real avatars and flying shepherds: involvement and engagement in innovative ICT (2012-08)
Walker, Steve; Bell, Simon; Jackson, Adrian and Heery, Daniel
In : 12th Participatory Design Conference (14-16 Aug 2012, Roskilde, Denmark)
How people use Rich Pictures (2012-03-07)
Bell, Simon and Morse, Stephen
In : Open University Colloquium. Pictures to Help People Think and Act. (07 March 2012, Open University, Milton Keynes)
The ‘Infinite Bandwidth, Zero Latency’ Project: inventing a digital future (2011-06)
Walker, Steve; Bell, Simon; Fensom, Shaun and Straughan, Keith
In : IADIS International Conference: ICT, Society and Human Beings (24-26 July 2011, Rome)
Learning from all sides: Triple Task as a new approach to problem solving (2010-09-07)
Bell, Simon and Morse, Stephen
In : Conference of the Operational Research Society (OR52) (07-09 Sep 2010, London, UK)
Triple Task and the Philosophers Stone: discovering a methodology for systemic and reflective participation (2010-07-19)
Bell, Simon and Morse, Stephen
In : the 54th Meeting of the International Society for the Systems Sciences (18-23 Jul 2010, Waterloo, ON, Canada)
Rich Pictures: a means to explore the 'Sustainable Group Mind' (2010-05-31)
Bell, Simon and Morse, Stephen
In : The 16th annual international sustainable development research conference (30 May - 01 Jun 2010, Hong Kong, China)
The role of Sustainability Indicators within evidence-based policy for sustainable development in the European Union (2010-05-30)
Bell, Simon and Morse, Stephen
In : The 16th annual international sustainable development research conference (30 May - 01 Jun 2010, Hong Kong, China)
Participatory visioning of indicator use (2009)
Bell, Simon and Morse, Stephen
In : 15th International Sustainable Development Research Conference (5 - 7 July 2009, Utrecht, Netherlands)
Behavioural dimensions of participation: Envisioning institutional sustainable development (2009)
Powles, Anna; Morse, Stephen and Bell, Simon
In : International Sustainable Development Research Conference (5 - 8 July 2009, Utrecht, Netherlands)
Sustainable development projects: explicit and acroamatic story telling as part of a new ‘project ethnography’ (2005)
Bell, Simon and Morse, Stephen
In : 11th Annual International Sustainable Development Research Conference (2005, Helsinki, Finland)
Delivering sustainability therapy in a projectified world (2004)
Bell, Simon and Morse, Stephen
In : Proceedings International Sustainable Development Research Conference (2004, Manchester, UK)
Learning from experience in sustainability (2003)
Bell, Simon and Morse, Stephen
In : Proceedings International Sustainable Development Research Conference 2003 (Proceedings of) (24-25 March 2003, Nottingham, UK)
A Systems view of teaching and learning: technological potential and sustainable, supported open learning (1997)
Bell, Simon and Lane, Andrew
In : 5th International of the UK Systems Society - Systems for sustainability: people, organisations and environments (July 7-11, 1997, Milton Keynes) (pp. 171-176)
Data, Metrics and Monitoring in CGIAR - a strategic study (2014-12-08)
Giller, K; Bell, S; Mock, N and Hijmans , R
CGIAR, Rome, Italy.
Understanding the Changing Cultural Value of the BBC World Service and the British Council (2014-07)
Gillespie, Marie; Bell, Simon; Wilding, Colin; Webb, Alban; Fisher, Ali; Voss, Alex; Smith , Andrew W. M.; Macfarlane, Jess; Martin, Nat; Foster, Tot and Lvov, Ilia
Arts and Humanities Research Council , Swindon.
Innovation in Multi-stakeholder Engagemnet (2013-10)
Mahroum, Sami; Bell, Simon and Yassin, Nasser
INSEAD

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