Convergence is a transdisciplinary approach to solving problems. It is a human, interactive process aimed at breaking through artificial domain boundaries that limit innovation. Although examples can be found throughout history, it has become increasing clear that the optimal solutions come from combined approaches.
In 2014, the National Research Council released a report titled, “Convergence: Facilitating transdisciplinary integration of life sciences, physical sciences, engineering, and beyond”. In it, the committee announced the integration of the physical and life sciences as a recent, revolutionary development that should be promoted.
This came as no surprise to members of SDPS. More than twenty years ago, researchers from many disciplines formed the Society of Design and Process Science to promote “transformative research and education through transdisciplinary means”. Moreover, in the SDPS view, transdisciplinary processes are not limited to combinations of physical and life sciences. Consider how the “soft” sciences have contributed to the development of user interfaces.
According to the Convergence report, the tools for convergence exist now. They can be found in the lessons learned from interdisciplinary cultures, team-based science and engineering, industrial research laboratories, and revisions in STEM education.
The 2017 SDPS conference promotes convergence through its theme and topics. Although appealingly varied, the topics are grounded in the idea that transdisciplinary designs and processes can connect people in ways that transform communities. The conference also promotes convergence through the physical layout and schedule of events. Both are designed to facilitate rewarding and productive interaction among members. You are heartily invited to attend and participate.