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#Napkin Introduction to #SystemsThinking (thanks to @dan_roam!)

February 25th, 2013 Posted in Systems Thinking Tags: , , , , ,

I think you will spend 158 seconds reading this post

system nature qualitativeWith the huge threads on the LinkedIn group “Systems Thinking World” about “what is systems thinking?” or “how to teach systems thinking?”, I thought something ought to be done. Yet, I found most introductions to ST to be quite daunting, so, equipped with my new knowledge of Dan Roam‘s Napkin Academy, I decided to give it a shot.

What follow are three slide decks introducing Systems Thinking using small drawings. Having been impressed by the “DSRP framework” by Dr Calbrera and Dr Colosi, I decided to use that as building blocks to introduce systems thinking.

If you’re interested enough to know more on the field, then there are a vast amount of literature in the field, although finding your own path is as much a learning journey as walking that path.

Should I be pressed to give names, I would recommend the following to go further:

  • If you’re a bit short on money but have quite some time to spend because of the size of the beast, then Systems Wiki is Gene Bellinger‘s constant striving to make ST clearer and more accessible from a wide variety of perspectives. The web site comes with a lot of text, videos, diagrams & simulation : it’s free and very wide in its addressing of Systems Thinking, no counting its daily updates of course. If you’re looking to other courses on the net, it’s the place where to start as well.
  • Peter Senge’s “The Fifth Discipline” is the book that is most often cited as to what set people in motion on the path to being a systems thinker. Just beware that it mostly reflects one “school” of systems thinking (systems dynamics), out of a huge number of them. It’s really one of the most actionable though, especially if you go with the companion book “The Fifth Fiscipline Fieldbook” (a masterwork!).
  • Second to this is Donella Meadows’ “Thinking in Systems“. Mostly about Systems Dynamics (a bit like Senge’s book), it’s also a simpler introductory book to the field than Senge’s. More focused than the preceding book, it might be a simpler read without being simplistic at all.
  • Systems Thinkers” by Ramage & Shipp provides a really tasty appetizer on what the field’s landscape might be. That book could help you choose your path, but then you’ll have to resort to buying some more books (or scout the net). Beware!
  • If you like experiential learning, then I cannot not tell you about Booth Sweeney & Meadows “The Systems Thinking Playbook” which is just that: a ton of small exercises and games to nudge people’s assumptions about what they think of the world.

Enough references, here are my most three contributions (all decks are really short):

Napkin introduction to Systems Thinking : 1- What is ST?

Napkin introduction to Systems Thinking : 2- Why use ST?

Napkin introduction to Systems Thinking : 3- How to do ST?

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2 Responses to “#Napkin Introduction to #SystemsThinking (thanks to @dan_roam!)”

  1. I d like a fast track to learn and use dsrp method, idéally visually. What would you recommend , Nicholas ? ( to use in conceptual and strategy workshop )

  2. Hi Luc,
    I don’t know how to learn DSRP. Have you checked on http://www.cabreraresearch.org/thinker ?

    I’ve learned from what I saw on Internet and from the quick elements in Dr. Derek Cabrera PhD thesis.

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