For Individuals

Track Your Career and Understand Your Skills

For Organizations

Build Organizational Self Awareness


HELIX is a workforce proficiency framework for individual and organizational effectiveness, based on a study of complex problem solving in systems engineering.
HELIX contains a proficiency model and career tracking toolset focused on individual total person development. HELIX also contains an organizational assessment tool focused on generative culture, organizational self-awareness, and FORCES that create individual effectiveness.
HELIX evolved from a long-term study of the proficiencies of systems engineers facilitated by the Systems Engineering Research Center (SERC) at Stevens Institute of Technology. It represents the most comprehensive study of engineering effectiveness ever undertaken.


Do you have a self-aware organization? Do you know if your organization is prepared to meet the challenges of an increasingly complex, changing world?
The landscape of engineered systems is changing. The pace of technology innovation continues to speed up. Data is increasingly open and available for analysis. Everything is becoming interconnected, and complex global systems of systems abound. Automation and user customization make systems more efficient, configurable, and adaptive. Challenges abound – sustainability and resource use, balancing openness versus security and privacy, high assurance and safety, ethics, and scale. The number and complexity of relationships in modern systems force engineering teams to deal with issues well beyond their discipline*. Systems Engineering and Systems Management put a man on the moon and have traditionally been the “home” for management of complex inter-disciplinary challenges.
Employers increasingly favor employees with problem solving, systems and critical thinking, and team leadership proficiencies that emphasize relationships between systems and people, interactions between product and user and agility in delivery of products and services. The human capability underlying these is Systems Engineering. The HELIX project interviewed almost 500 systems engineers and studied over 30 complex organizations over a period of eight years to derive a model of the complex problem solver. In the process we also discovered the forces an organization needs to apply to create these people.
HELIX provides a set of easy to use tools for individuals and their peers/managers to assess and discuss their complex problem solving proficiencies over time and across their career development. HELIX provides a set of additional tools for organizations to assess whether or not they have a culture and the forces to produce these individuals and to apply the proficiencies broadly. We call this organizational self-awareness.



Dr. Nicole Hutchison

Dr. Nicole Hutchison is a research engineer with the SERC. She has supported the Helix project since its inception and currently serves as its Principle Investigator. Previously, she supported the Body of Knowledge and Curriculum to Advance Systems Engineering (BKCASE) project (2009-2014). Before coming to Stevens, Dr. Hutchison worked for Analytic Services Inc. as a contractor working primarily on public health, biodefense, and full-scale exercise projects for the US Departments of Defense, Homeland Security, and Health and Human Services. Dr. Hutchison holds an MS in Biohazardous Threat Agents and Emerging Infectious Disease from Georgetown and a PhD in systems engineering from Stevens.

Tom McDermott

Tom McDermott is a leader, educator, and innovator in multiple technology fields. He currently serves as Deputy Director of the Systems Engineering Research Center (SERC) at Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, NJ, as well as a consultant specializing in strategic planning for uncertain environments. He studies systems engineering, systems thinking, organizational dynamics, and the nature of complex human socio-technical systems. He teaches system architecture concepts, systems thinking and decision making, and the composite skills required at the intersection of leadership and engineering. He has over 30 years of background and experience in technical and management disciplines, including over 15 years at the Georgia Institute of Technology and 18 years with Lockheed Martin.