About Swemorph

Tom Ritchey is a former Research Director for the Institution for Technology Foresight and Assessment at the Swedish National Defense Research Agency in Stockholm. He works primarily with non-quantified decision support modeling -- especially with General Morphological Analysis (GMA), Bayesian Networks (BN) and Multi-Criteria Decision support. Since 1995 he has directed more than 100 projects involving computer aided GMA for Swedish government agencies, national and international NGO:s and private companies. He is the founder of the Swedish Morphological Society and Director of Ritchey Consulting LLC, Stockholm.

2nd International Symposium on General Morphological Analysis (ISGMA 2016)

The 2nd International Symposium on General Morphological Analysis (ISGMA 2016) was held in Bilbao 11-12 June.  It featured presentations from 11 practicing morphologists from nine countries: Australia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Russian Federation, Sweden, Spain, UK, and USA. Co-arranged by the Swedish Morphological Society (Stockholm) and InPlanta (Madrid/Bilbao), it was a great success — and great fun. We are presently in discussions with a scientific journal to produce a Special Theme Issue based on the proceedings of the symposium.

Abstracts of the presentations are available at the Symposium’s website at: www.isgma.swemorph.com


/Tom Ritchey

Principles of Cross-Consistency Assessment in Morphological Modelling

The following article is now available at AMG:

Ritchey, T. (2015) “Principles of Cross-Consistency Assessment in Morphological Modelling”, Acta Morphologica Generalis, Vol. 4 no. 2.

Download at: http://www.amg.swemorph.com/pdf/amg-4-2-2015.pdf

Abstract:  In General Morphological Analysis (GMA), the Cross-Consistency Assessment (CCA) both serves as a check on the integrity and clarity of the concepts being employed, and allows us to identify and weed out all internally incompatible relationships in order to reduce the total problem space of the morphological field to a smaller, internally consistent solution space. With computer support this solution space can be treated as an inference model. This article examines the methodological principles and practical procedural issues involved in the CCA process, and presents examples from a number of client-based projects.

New Article: Applications of General Morphological Analysis

Applications of General Morphological Analysis: From Engineering Design to Policy Analysis

Available from Acta Morphologica Generalis at: http://www.amg.swemorph.com/pdf/amg-4-1-2015.pdf

Abstract: Since its conception and development in the late 1940’s by Fritz Zwicky at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), the “morphological approach” – or General Morphological Analysis (GMA) – has been applied to many diverse areas of study, from engineering design and technological forecasting to policy analysis, organisational development and creative writing. This article outlines the numerous applications of GMA developed since the 1950’s and gives examples from some 80 published articles. Early examples of Zwicky’s work are also described and an overview of modern, computer-aided GMA is presented.

Four Models about Decision Support Modelling

For those who are interested in the wider (social as well as operational) aspects of Decision Support Modelling, the following article is now online at AMG:
“Four Models about Decision Support Modelling”, Acta Morph Gen, Vol. 3 No. 1. (2014).

Available for download in PDF format at: http://www.amg.swemorph.com/pdf/amg-3-1-2014.pdf Abstract. Models and modelling methods play an essential role in Operational Research and Management Science (OR/MS). This article presents four models which concern how OR/MS employs different modelling methods for different modelling tasks, under different constraints, and for different forms of uncertainty. Two of these “meta-models” concern how OR/MS modelling has been employed in decision support for the Swedish Defence Research Agency: one of them from a more academic or theoretical perspective, the other more from the perspective of the practitioner. The third model concentrates on how different modelling techniques are constrained by varying stakeholder positions. The final model is introspective and classifies a variety of modelling methods on the basis of a number of formal modelling properties. All of these meta-models were developed using the non-quantified modelling method General Morphological Analysis (GMA).


Tom Ritchey

On a Morphology of Theories of Emergence


For those who are interested in the principle of “emergence” and/or general morphological analysis (GMA), the following article is now online at AMG:

“On a Morphology of Theories of Emergence”. Acta Morph Gen, Vol. 3 No. 3., 2014.

Available for download in PDF format at: http://www.amg.swemorph.com/pdf/amg-3-3-2014.pdf

Abstract: “Emergence” – the notion of novel, unpredictable and irreducible properties developing out of complex organisational entities – is itself a complex, multi-dimensional concept. To date there is no single, generally agreed upon “theory of emergence”, but instead a number of different approaches and perspectives. Neither is there a common conceptual or meta-theoretical framework by which to systematically identify, exemplify and compare different “theories”. Building upon earlier work done by sociologist Kenneth Bailey, this article presents a method for creating such a framework, and outlines the conditions for a collaborative effort in order to carry out such a task. A brief historical and theoretical background is given both to the concept of “emergence” and to the non-quantified modelling method General Morphological Analysis (GMA).


Tom Ritchey

Revised and extended article on Wicked Problems and GMA

For those who might be interested, a revised and extended version of “Wicked Problems: Structuring Social Messes with Morphological Analysis” is available for download at AMG:

Go to: http://www.amg.swemorph.com

The extended text mainly concerns how GMA stacks up against some of Rittel and Webber’s criteria concerning “wicked problems”, plus a short lament over how this “term d’art” is being abused by quick-fix consultants, and turned into a media buzzword.