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  • Audio
  • 15 minutes

Wendy Gregory On Using Systems Thinking In Practice

Updated Tuesday, 4 January 2022
Wendy Gregory speaks with Prof. Simon Bell about what systems means to her and her work on green spaces.

Transcript (PDF document22.5 KB)

About Wendy

Wendy is a semi-retired independent consultant and volunteer coordinator at two community gardens in the East Riding of Yorkshire. 

Wendy was introduced to systems behaviour in 1984, through the OU: “After that, I couldn’t stop seeing systems everywhere. It became so much a part of me that I even married another systems thinker, of the critical sort just like me [Gerald Midgley]. We worked on a lot of systems projects together starting with a project for the local council on disasters planning where we worked with 19 different organisations who all had an interest in what should be done. When trying to explain what critical systems thinking is about, I told a group of conference goers to think about things like sweet and sour sauce, because it is made from ingredients that don’t usually mix well together. This is true of different systems methodologies, they are often seen as totally separate approaches that cannot be blended with other systems approaches. After completing her PhD in 193 at the City University in London, Wendy taught systems thinking at the University of Hull. She was also the Business School’s Research Director for 3 years.

Following this, Wendy emigrated to New Zealand in 2003 to introduce systems thinking and reflective practice to a lot of policy influencing and trans-disciplinary staff and projects in the Institute for Environmental Science and Research, based in Christchurch. In 2011, Wendy returned with her family to the UK.

“Nowadays I work as a volunteer gardener, coordinating other volunteers, have been called “a raving environmentalist” because I advocated for the wildlife in two cemetery projects where the groups were removing natural habitats in order to “clean up” those sites, and I try to help others to understand the ways that we can do small conservation work that will help our planet. People want to put me to work in organisations, and I am resisting that.”


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