Systems Thinking – an Analysis Methodology

INTRODUCTION 

Systems Thinking was developed in the ‘50s & ‘60s by the then largest UK Company, ICI.  Academic rigour was assured by The Open University and Lancaster University amongst others.  There is a worldwide community of practitioners through LinkinED.

 

The methodology and associated tools and techniques are useful when systems with complex social and technical aspects are being analysed or are causing problems.  Proposed amendments to existing policies or strategies can also be examined to avoid unexpected and unintended consequences. 

BENEFITS 

It has marked advantages over any other analysis method where there is complexity and interconnectedness of the systems involved.

 

The programme will concentrate on the techniques and tools and a flexible methodology, required to deploy systems thinking effectively and maximise its benefit of as a problem solving tool. 

 TAKING PART WILL HELP YOU 

Techniques will be introduced and their uses explored to:- 

  • Identify the human and technical  issues in complex interconnected situations
  • ·         Focus on the key system in a potential solution
  • ·         Examine the possible solutions which benefit of the most important criteria f the major stakeholders      

 The programme provides the essential skills needed to explore a problem as a sole investigator, fitting you to work alone or be the coordinator of a study group.  

WHO SHOULD TAKE PART? 

This course will help anyone who wishes to think about issues their organisation faces, now and in the future, in an open and comprehensive way.  

  • Senior personnel
  • Any professional seeking to influence the outlook of those he/she reports to
  • Any professional seeking to change the method of working of those reporting to him/her
  • Those specifying complex solutions with many human interfaces
  • Personnel seeking to enhance their analysis skills
  • IT Project Management professionals 

Full benefit will be achieved if you begin to use some of the concepts and techniques which the course explores in your own environment.  Where your work requires you to be innovative and persuasive some will become second nature to you.

PROGRAMME OBJECTIVES 

In this programme you will learn to:- 

  • Understand the language of Systems Thinking
  • Look at problems from the perspectives of multiple stakeholders
  • Explore some analytical tools and techniques
  • Learn how to use one methodology of approach
  • Practice techniques that are used in this methodology
  • Be able to judge which tools may be of most use in specific circumstances
  • Participate in groups exploring familiar and new problems
  • Evaluate potential actions against organisational requirements
  • Encourage organisational learning to develop the continuous improvement of business processes 

TRAINING METHODOLOGY 

Participants will learn systems thinking and other problem solving techniques by individual practice and by participation in groups during the sessions.  The exercises will allow a “hands on” approach to learning.  Exercises will be set on topics, where participants can be expected to already have an understanding of the issues involved. 

PROGRAMME OUTLINE 

MODULE 1 : INTRODUCTION 

  • ·         What is a system
  • ·         The Power of Diagrams
  • ·         Introduction to Systems Thinking 

MODULE 2 : THE PREREQUISITES 

  • ·         Worldview and Perspectives
  • ·         Stakeholder analysis
  • ·         Hard & Soft Complexity 

MODULE 3 : THE LANGUAGE OF SYSTEMS THINKING 

  • ·         Mess & Difficulty
  • ·         Systemic & Systematic
  • ·         System Purpose, Boundary & Environment
  • ·         Emergence & Unintended Consequences 

MODULE 4 : DIAGRAMMING PRACTICE – SENSING 

  • ·         Spray Diagram
  • ·         Rich Picture
  • ·         Systems Diagrams
  • ·         Introduction to a Methodology 

MODULE 5 : DIAGRAMMING PRACTICE – UNDERSTANDING 

  • ·         Systems Diagrams
  • ·         Deciding upon a System of Interest
  • ·         Challenging the Objectives set
  • ·         Causal Diagrams
  • ·         The concept of Feedback
  • ·         Drawing Sign Graphs
  • ·         Interpreting Sign Graphs
  • ·         Criteria and Indicators
  • ·         Key Performance Indicators 

MODULE 6 : TOOLS IN DECISION MAKING 

  • ·         Overview of Modelling
  • ·         5 Ws & 1 H
  • ·         Multiple Criteria Analysis
  • ·         SWOT
  • ·         STEP
  • ·         Reality Checks for Practicality 

MODULE 7 : GROUP PROJECT (OPTIONAL COMPONENT) 

  • ·         Group Worked Problem
  • ·         Presentations
  • ·         Evaluation and discussion  

COURSE HANDOUTS 

Course participants are provided with a 120+ page manual and a copy of the slides on a 3 per page notes format.