Special Issue of Technological Forecasting and Social Change

General Morphological Analysis: Modelling, Forecasting, Innovation

Guest Editors: Tom Ritchey & Tomasz Arciszewski

We are happy to announce the Special Issue of Technological Forecasting and Social Change featuring General Morphological Analysis (GMA). The articles appearing in this issue are based both on papers presented at The Second International Symposium on General Morphological Analysis (ISGMA 2016), held in Bilbao 11-12 June, and on additional contributions provided by selected GMA practitioners. The articles for the Special Issue are now in press and will be available on-line shortly. The “hard copy” version will be available later this year.

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction and Historical background (Editors)
  2. General Morphological Analysis as a Basic Scientific Modelling Method
  3. A Collaborative Process Model and Web-based Software-Support for GMA
  4. Scenario Development with General Morphological Analysis
  5. On a Morphology of Contact Scenario Space
  6. The Morphological Approach to Inventive Engineering
  7. Morphology of Conceptual Building Design
  8. From GMA to Optimizing Complex Industrial Operation Scenarios
  9. Linking Fields with GMA: Sustainability, Companies, People and OR
  10. Investigating Traffic Congestion: Targeting Social-Technical Interdependencies
  11. An Informal Survey on the Application of GMA in the Private Sector

Continue reading


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