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The Hidden Power of Systems Thinking: Governance in a Climate Emergency

Ray Ison (Author)
2020, 1st edition
Routledge, Oxon and New York
312 pages

Book description

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 the age of the Anthropocene, the need for new ways of thinking and acting has become urgent. But patterns of obstacles are apparent in any action, be they corporate interests, lobbyists, or outdated political and government systems. Ison and Straw show how and why failure in governance is at the heart of the collective incapacity to tackle the climate and biodiversity emergencies. They go beyond analysis of the problem and demonstrate how incorporating systems thinking into governance at every level would enable us to break free of historical shackles. They propose 26 principles for systemic governance.

This book will be inspiring reading for students applying their systemic methods, specialists in change management or public administration, activists for ‘whole system change’ and decision makers wanting to effect challenging transformations. It is for anyone with the ambition to create a sustainable and fair world.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements
List of Figures
Tables and Boxes
List of Abbreviations
Preface
1 Introduction: Crafting a Viable Future
Part 1 The Failure of Governance and Governments
2 Why Governance Systems Are Failing
3 Preferential Lobbying and Emergent Failure
4 What is Missing from Current Governance Models
Part 2 What is Systems Thinking in Practice?
5 Examples: Health Services, Flood Defence, Meetings
6 Investing in Systems Thinking in Practice Capability
Part 3 Using Systems Thinking in Practice for Governing
7 Reinventing Governance Systems
8 New Practices and Institutions for Systemic Governing
9 Why and How Constitutions Matter
10 Making Beneficial Change
11 Principles for Systemic Governing
12 What Next?
Appendices
1 Two Lives Invested in Systemic Sensibility
2 Glossary
Index

Author(s)

Ray Ison is Professor of Systems at the UK Open University (OU). As part of ASTiP (Applied Systems Thinking in Practice Group) he is responsible with colleagues for managing a post-graduate program in Systems Thinking in Practice. He has held a number of leadership posts within the international Systems and Cybernetics community including Presidencies of the IFSR (International Federation for Systems Research) and ISSS (International Society for the Systems Sciences). His research field is systems praxeology, institutional innovation and systemic governance.

Ed Straw is a visiting fellow at the OU’s ASTiP group. He has seen government from every angle: as a citizen and consumer, adviser to several government ministers, Chair of Demos and Relate and as a specialist on government task forces. He was a consultant on both the Conservative and Labour government’s public sector reforms, and a ‘moderniser’ for the UK Labour party. As a partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers(PwC) and Coopers & Lybrand, he was a global and UK board director.