The Hidden Power of Systems Thinking: Governance in a Climate Emergency is a persuasive, lively book that shows how systems thinking can be harnessed to effect profound, complex change.
In our profoundly complex and interconnected world, there is a pressing need for systems thinking, to consider environmental, societal and organisational issues as interconnected wholes rather than separating them into parts and looking at each in isolation. This book presents a biographical history of systems thinking, by examining the life and work of thirty of its major thinkers.
The five approaches outlined in this book offers the systems thinking practitioner a range of interchangeable tools for pro-actively making systemic improvements amidst complex situations of change and uncertainty. Practitioners from all professional domains are increasingly confronted with incidences of systemic failure, yet poorly equipped with appropriate tools and know-how for understanding such failure, and the making of systemic improvement. In our fragile Anthropocene world where ‘systems change’ is often invoked as the rallying call for purposeful alternative action, this book provides a toolkit to help constructively make systems that can change situations for the better.
This book shows how to do systems thinking and translate that thinking into praxis (theory informed practical action). It will be welcomed by those managing or governing in situations of complexity and uncertainty across all domains of professional and personal life. The development of capabilities to think and act systemically is an urgent priority. Humans are now a force of nature, affecting whole-earth dynamics including the earth’s climate – we live in an Anthropocene or Capitalocene and are confronted by the emergence of a ‘post-truth’, ‘big data’ world. What we have developed, organisationally and institutionally, seems very fragile. An imperative exists to recover whatever systemic sensibilities we still retain, to foster systems literacy and to invest in systems thinking in practice capability. This will be needed in future at personal, group, community, regional, national and international levels, all at the same time.
Social Learning Systems and Communities of Practice is a collection of classical and contemporary writing associated with learning and systemic change in contexts ranging from cities, to rural development to education to nursing to water management to public policy. It is likely to be of interest to anyone trying to understand how to think systemically and to act and interact effectively in situations experienced as complex, messy and changing. While mainly concerned with professional praxis, where theory and practice inform each other, there is much here that can apply at a personal level.