Systems Thinking and Complexity in Substance Use Systems
Who should read this brief?
• Leaders and decision makers in the substance abuse and mental health services
field, such as regional directors and program managers
• Anyone interested in learning more about working in a complex system
Why are systems thinking and complexity important to a Systems Approach?
• This brief is part of the Systems Approach Workbook, which is intended to
assist those using the Systems Approach report as a guiding framework for
improving the accessibility, quality and range of services and supports for
substance use in Canada.
• The workbook supports a change management approach to system
development, which should be informed by the level of complexity of the
system in which change is taking place.
• Services and supports for substance use in Canada are located within broader,
interconnected health and social systems.
• This brief will help you assess the level of complexity in your system, and
better understand its impact on change, project implementation and leadership.