Systems Thinking Practice
Learn Systems Thinking from two of the world’s leading experts
Systems Thinking Practice builds on the Systems Thinking Concepts
course. The purpose is to enable you to apply Systems Thinking principles and tools in real time to a chronic, complex problem in your own
organization or community.
You will learn to build a foundation for organizational or community change, conduct a systems analysis with the support of a diverse group of stakeholders, enable stakeholders to make an explicit choice
between the case for change and the case for the status quo, and identify high-leverage interventions. You will also learn to cultivate the life orientation that is the key to becoming an outstanding Systems
Thinker over time.
Participants will use David Peter Stroh’s book Systems Thinking for Social Change: A Practical Guide for Solving Complex Problems,
Avoiding Unintended Consequences, and Achieving Lasting Results (Chelsea Green, 2015) as the core text and be able to participate in homework assignments that structure their change
project work in real time.
While this course is open to anyone interested in applying Systems Thinking, we recommend that participants have some significant prior exposure to Systems Thinking, such as through the previously
offered Systems Thinking Concepts course. Another alternative prerequisite is Michael Goodman’s
online course Applying Systems Thinking and Common Archetypes. (A special price of $99.00 vs. $199.00
is available to people who would like to subscribe to both the self-paced Applying Systems Thinking and Common Archetypes course and the Systems Thinking Practice course).
Class One: Overview of Four-Stage Change Process
We will review why Systems Thinking is such a powerful catalyst for change and introduce a four-stage change process for applying Systems Thinking to solve chronic, complex problems.
Class Two: Building Foundation for Change and Gathering Data
This class enables you to build a foundation for change with the diverse stakeholders that affect and are affected by the change problem you want to address. You will also learn the questions to ask that lead
to a productive systems analysis.
Class Three: Systems Analysis of Your Issue
We will review the basics of systems analysis and examine how to build support for your analysis with people who are not familiar with systems thinking tools, i.e., to translate from English into “Systems
Language” and from “Systems Language” back into English.
Class Four: Making an Explicit Choice
This class enables you to distinguish the case for change from the case for the status quo and to guide stakeholders to make an explicit choice in favor of what they care about most deeply.
Class Five: Leverage Points
You will learn to identify four high leverage interventions and apply them to your change project.
Class Six: Becoming a Systems Thinker
In this final class, you will learn how to further cultivate not only the cognitive aspect of systems thinking, but also its emotional, behavioral, and spiritual dimensions.