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Mastering systems thinking in practice
Mastering systems thinking in practice

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Week 6: Key systems thinkers


So far in this course, you have been introduced to various people and approaches that have respectively influenced and have been used by systems practitioners in previous weeks. Equally, if you have been searching for materials on systems thinking yourself you may have come across some names of systems thinkers or descriptions of systems thinking which may not fully align with what I have been saying. In part that simply reflects on the multiple perspectives from different people from different disciplines that were covered in Week 5. But in part it also reflects the nature of systems thinking in practice in that it is not one ‘thing’ but is a set of habits and practices within a broader philosophical framework; in other words the belief that the component parts of a system of interest can best be understood in the context of relationships between the other parts of that system of interest as well as the wider ‘system’ (also known as the ‘system environment’) rather than looking at that part in isolation. Thus, as I have stressed from the beginning of the course, your own experiences and backgrounds will inevitably influence the way in which you practise system thinking.

Watch the following video which introduces how traditions and experiences influence the practices of systems thinkers.

Download this video clip.Video player: mstp_1_video_week6_intro.mp4
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By the end of this week, you should be able to:

  • describe the central ideas and practices that arose from the experiences and traditions of five key systems thinkers.