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The Method Book - Chapter 2: Systems Thinking and Behaviour

In Chapter 1, we discussed the benefits of conducting rapid evidence reviews in unpacking the problem and discovering what others around the world have done to address it. In Chapter 2, we take take a big picture view of the problem and how it occurs within a system.

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As a society, we are dealing with increasingly complex problems and working in environments where there are many competing agendas. To build a shared understanding of the problem and uncover insights on the changes that organisations can make - and those which may be out of their control - we use systems, process, actor and influence mapping to identify the individuals, groups and organisations involved in the problem - and who may be part of the solution. Click on the image right to go the chapter, published on the Monash Bridges platform.

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Work with us

Need more help using tools within The Method? We offer a wide range of research services.

Meet the chapter authors, Stefan Kaufman and Denise Goodwin and hear their perspective on why systems thinking is critical.

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Case study
Waste and Circular Economy Collaboration

Given the complexity of Australia's waste and recycling system, mapping them was an essential part of our Waste and Circular Economy Collaboration, established in 2018 with the aim of encouraging Australians to avoid, reduce, reuse and recycle waste and/or adopt Circular Economy approaches.

How to guide
Introducing the ATO’s systems-led design guide

Well when it comes to scale and complexity, it doesn’t get much bigger than the Australian Taxation Office. It represents a vast and complicated network of businesses, data, money and people and its reach extends to everyone. That's why the ATO has adopted a systems-led approach, producing a tailored guide to help others design and embed change.

Blog post
How systems thinking compliments behavioural approaches in solving complex problems

In this blog post, BehaviourWorks' Research Fellow, Peter Slattery, discusses how and why we combine systems thinking with behavioural approaches.

Games, Hacking, and the 21st Century Skill of Systems Thinking

Many of the best ideas about systems thinking come from gaming. In this piece, systems thinking is described as a series of interconnections- moreover a “habit of mind” that empowers teams and workforces.

Concepts and methods for conducting research on complex problems

The ANU's Centre for Integration and Implementation Sciences provides a dynamically-updated list of resources related to systems thinking including journals, videos and opinion pieces on various aspects and ideas.

To understand the era, you need to think in systems

A podcast conversation between NY Times columnist Ezra Klein and techno-sociologist Zeynep Tufekci who predicted Covid-19 and thinks the solutions is a systems one.

What 'systems thinking' actually means - and why it matters for innovation today

From the WTO a great perspective on how systems thinking can be used to address global problems.

The Systems Thinker

The Systems Thinker works to catalyse effective change by expanding the use of systems approaches. The Thinker curates and makes a wide range of resources and articles on the application of systems thinking to complex problems.