INCOSE Natural Systems Working Group

Natural Systems Include All of Nature: Living Systems, Geology, Water, and Air

Co-Chairs: Curt McNamara, Dennis Tuckowski, Alex Wolf

INCOSE Natural Systems Working Group (NSWG)

NSWG priorities for 2022 are:

  • support for inclusion of natural systems thinking in system engineering and design

  • coordination with the VINE systemology cluster of NASA Virtual Interchange for Nature Inspired Exploration.

  • engagement and collaborations with other INCOSE Working Groups and stakeholders.

* * * * *

We focus on:

Bio-Inspired Design

Biomimetics and Systems Mimicry

Patterns in Natural Systems

Complexity and Natural Systems

Mapping Natural Systems Tools to the SE Process

The following items are products we will work on in 2022:

  • Release draft of Natural Systems for SE primer

  • Two + short videos: thick boundaries, and hierarchy / levels and layers / composite

  • Completed 5E handbook page edits

In addition we will curate about six webinars. The following are scheduled:

  • Product Development (April)

  • Resilience and diversity

  • Biocene conference (May)

  • More to come!

Content curators: we have a few topics in mind, and are open to more. Set up webinars or focused discussions. The individual will select a topic and suggest papers for an informal discussion. They will also work with leadership to suggest a webinar speaker on the topic.

We conducted three NSWG sessions at IW2022, and one joint session with the Systems Science WG. Send a note for link to recordings.

Diverse Intelligences and gamifying tradeoffs

Fri 11/18 11 a.m. CST

Alex Wolf

Alex Wolf was an artist in residence at Diverse Intelligences Summer Institute ( in St Andrews, Scotland in 2022. She will report in on the studies for animal, human, and artificial intelligence which was discussed.

The session then turns to reimagining how biological and engineering trade-off can surface universal trade-offs and be used in a game format for learning. Working with Parameters and Inventive Principles(related to TRIZ) from Julian Vincent, the beginnings of diagrammatic and icon based visualizations are in the first pass to reduce the redundancies inherent in language-based diagrams.

Working Group Update


- the 5E handbook entry has been accepted by the editors! They worked with us to create a figure to accompany the text.


- the primer is written and out for review

- we will send the primer to INCOSE editorial team in late Sept., and publication will be at the end of October.


- a white paper on circularity will follow publication of the primer

- there is an NSWG Yammer community - send a note and we will add you to it.

Co-Chairs: Curt McNamara,

Dennis Tuckowski

Alex Wolf