Systems Practice, Abridged – In Too Deep


Source: Systems Practice, Abridged – In Too Deep

Systems Practice, Abridged

When you’re making a system map in Kumu, it’s important to have skill and familiarity with the tool itself, but it’s equally important to have an understanding of the concepts of systems thinking.

You can learn these concepts and learn Kumu at the same time if you follow the Systems Practice methodology developed by The Omidyar Group. When we’re mapping systems ourselves, teaching systems skills, or simply brushing up on our own skills, this methodology is one of our all-time favorites.

Opening pages of the Systems Practice workbook

Notably, though, the Systems Practice methodology is time-consumingThe workbook itself is nearly 100 pages long, and it mandates weeks, if not months, of study and stakeholder engagement.

For serious system mapping work, spending this much time studying, thinking about, and mapping your system helps ensure you are addressing root causes rather than instituting quick fixes. In the long term, the time and resources you invest in Systems Practice will pay dividends.

But what if you’re not quite sold on the Systems Practice methodology yet? What if you haven’t encountered systems thinking before and just want to dip your toes in? Or what if you’re an expert or an educator with only a few hours to introduce Systems Practice to a fresh new group of systems thinkers?

At Kumu, we face this problem all the time! Whether we’re doing a product demo, giving one-on-one support to Kumu users, or leading day-long trainings, we rarely have more than a few hours to introduce Systems Practice, introduce Kumu itself, and get as close as possible to the first draft of a system map.

Give those constraints, and after plenty of trial and error, I’ve settled on an abridged version of Systems Practice that fits comfortably into a 2–4 hour session. In this article, I’ll share the main concepts and activities that comprise “Systems Practice, Abridged,” organized into the following sections:

  1. What is a Systems Practice?
  2. The power of mapping with Kumu
  3. Applying systems thinking
  4. Incorporating others’ perspectives
  5. Leverage and learning

Continues in source: Systems Practice, Abridged – In Too Deep