Systems practice: Managing sustainability
Systems thinking: managing sustainability is about systems practice and managing complexity in the domain of sustainable development. It introduces many examples from practitioners and you will be using systems ideas, and methods, for engaging with and developing your understanding of managing complexity.
The unit begins by looking at the way some systems approaches in the domain of sustainable development have evolved, providing a chance for you to appreciate some of their strengths and weaknesses. Some different modes of systems practice are introduced, using the question of ‘who learns what?’ as an integrating theme.
The unit continues by focusing on how you may use some of the material from the block in designing purposeful systems practice that could apply to your project. An example of process design for systems practice involving multiple stakeholders is introduced. You will also be given the opportunity to consider ‘learning systems’ and to extend your understanding of SS-method and methodology.
The perspectives of the authors of this unit
As recognition of multiple perspectives is an important skill to develop in relation to systems thinking you should note that this unit has been written by three authors who are referred to in the text – Chris Blackmore, whose background in education and environmental and rural development projects led to her use of systems ideas for exploring interconnections between environment, development and learning; Jake Chapman whose background in energy research, including campaigning for energy conservation and renewables, helped him develop an appreciation of systemic nature of these issues and Ray Ison whose experience of scientific approaches to natural resource management that historically excluded people from considerations led to his interest in more systems-based approaches to managing which enable participation by stakeholders in defining their systems of interest.
This OpenLearn course provides a sample of level 2 study in