Compendium of all the systems thinking links, January 2018

links below – a bit about me first by way of introduction – this is a one-off

Way, way back on 27/7/2014, I got an invitation to join a site with the unprepossessing name of The brainchild of Scott Fortmann-Roe ( and Gene Bellinger ( and all over the place), the site was a simple discussion and link sharing forum which owed something to Stack Exchange, based on the Lobsters platform.

‘Great!’ I thought – a place to build a repository of the whole of systems thinking. I’ll start with what I know (my first post was an open day for, and I did Beer’s Viable Systems Model and Barry Oshry’s power+systems approach in short order), and go on from there. I set myself a nice aspirational target of getting 100 ‘upvotes’ in the first six months. began with much active discussion and settled down over the years to about twelve active contributors, pretty much following the 1% rule (

A few things happened over the years:

  • somehow, I stayed /hyper/active – partly because there’s just quite a lot of systems thinking out there, and partly because, every time I thought I had got a rough sketch of the known universe in hand, I turned a corner… and there was a whole unexplored galaxy! And my jobs relates at least more than a bit, so I can kid myself I’m doing something really valuable 🙂
  • it turned out there was an active – and much larger – community of readers. And some of them were really appreciative and nice, and doing great things in the world
  • Gene, as is his wont, decided it wasn’t working for him and left (in the process deleting all his posts and comments – sad)

And, eventually, Scott (now doing great things with Google), realised he couldn’t commit to maintaining the site.

So, we moved over here – thanks to David Ing’s kind offices – to an open-licence, wordpress-based site, which is now a kind of partnership effort between me and him, thanks to going splitsies on a miniscule annual server fee (he’s the technical expert, I’m certainly not). But, while the originally will, slowly or abruptly, fork itself, degrade, and fall out of graveyard orbit, a full archive of (all content available, functions mostly not) is preserved ‘forever’ at

I resolved to continue collecting systems thinking links, events, an’ ting – how could I not? – but also to experiment with not posting *every single* link as a new item.

So, and so. Here is a MEGA, rather overstuffed, link digest for January 2018 (and some time before). It leans quite a bit on the wonderful Rachel Sinha’s wonderful Systems Studio newsletter ( and, which you can broadly see because their link tagging is in many of the links clipped from there.

Rest of content, model’s own – I source from google alerts,, twitter, the LinkedIn systems thinking network (30,000+ members –, the systems thinking facebook groups at (4,500+ members) and (2,000+ members), and also quite often from podcasts and other newsletters. Basically, I’m Johnny Five 🙂

Ooh, and Rachel allowed me to do this very self-flattering blog about ‘me and systems thinking’:

I can see several advantages of this ‘compendium’ format: one email not a spam email with every post (as was before), more to chew on, easier to scan and see what you like. And several disadvantages: no automatic fetching of canonical links, no automatic identification of duplicates (which will be many), no automatic grabbing of page headlines (so more work to edit), and much harder to start a discussion on an individual link (I suggest that, if something piques, your interest, you start a discussion in a separate posting here). And, definitely, this one is too long. I can’t promise what I’ll do in future but I do welcome feedback, and will definitely aim for shorter compendia and, where time allows, a little more structure/commentary.


about me:

  • SCiO – non-exec director –
  • RedQuadrant – network consultancy UK, Aus and NZ public sector –
  • Quadrant Resourcing – excellent interim change people –
  • The Public Service Transformation Academy – Chief Executive –

Other online stuff I am involved in:–q_rn_fr6a7G4MjnuDYK0

I tweet at
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Please connect to me at
+44 (0)7931317230
+61 (03) 9013 7230
+64 4 889 3230
+1 (626) 470-6600

THE LINKS – see bottom for events and

My Journey of Systems Thinking – Part 1

How do we get there? The Problem of Action

Roundtable on ‘The Problem of Action’

QUTE: Enterprise Space and Time | strategic structures

Tools for Systems Thinkers: 7 Steps to Move from Insights to Interventions – Medium
View at

Chaire Edgar Morin de la Complexité – key links:

Audio file of Churchman at 1975 conference:

“Cognition as computing a reality” – a few notes from this Heinz von Forster talk:

The curse of the strategy loop diagram

All of John Boyd’s slides (and more)

The reason why work can seem meaningless

Developing understanding: Models 1-2 [Systems thinking & modelling series] – RealKM (And check other links in this series)

Applied Understanding: The Rain Barrel [Systems thinking & modelling series] – RealKM

Why Is ‘Systems Thinking’ So Rare? – Complexity Digest
Why Is ‘Systems Thinking’ So Rare?

Systems thinking in management – Andrey Salomatin – Medium
View at

#SH302: Breakdown the Complexities of any Organization Using LIST – A Leader’s Guide to Systems Thinking
#SH302: Breakdown the Complexities of any Organization Using LIST — A Leader’s Guide to Systems Thinking

NCP Fantasy Systems Thinking ‘A’ Team – Ackoff and Argyris

Russ Ackoff on innovation, systems thinking and Improvements – Random Rants

Using systems thinking to return city streets to the community – Arab News

Systems Thinking for Safety [HUM-SYS]

#onethingseries: Understanding & Applying Systems Thinking with @tedfujimoto – TheSchoolHouse302
#onethingseries: Understanding & Applying Systems Thinking w/ @tedfujimoto

Systems thinking is the Defining Feature of Sustainable Design

Continuous Improvement as seen through the lens of Systems Thinking –

Systems thinking: Why it is important

Toronto Museum Educators For Climate Justice Workshop – How We Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Systems Thinking

From systems building to systems thinking – McGee’s Musings

[6 Key Questions in] Whole Systems Thinking – Daniel Christian Wahl – Medium
View at

Tools for Thinking and Tools for Systems – CSS-Tricks

Quantitative historical analysis uncovers a single dimension of complexity that structures global variation in human social organization
Quantitative historical analysis uncovers a single dimension of complexity that structures global variation in human social organization

Seeing and Sensing Wholeness in Nature and Organisations

Systems Thinking, Critical Realism and Philosophy

From an isolated laboratory to a world where “context is everything”

Advances in Cybernetics Provide a Foundation for the Future

Click to access 2017-IJSS-Future-of-Systems-final-13c0pqa.pdf

Multiparadigm Inquiry Generating Service Systems Thinking – much free material

A better way of learning Systems Dynamics:

A system-cybernetic approach to the study of political power. Introductory remarks | Kybernetes | Ahead of Print

[7 Key Questions about how to] participate appropriately in complex systems?
View at

How Organisations really work

Twelve Simple Rules of Systems Thinking for Complex Global Issues

Click to access TwelveSimpleRules.pdf

Making Systems Thinking More Than a Slogan

The challenge of systems leadership

Why embrace complexity to create systemic change?

The NCP Fantasy Systems Thinking Team – Forrester and Meadows

Tools for Systems Thinkers: Systems Mapping
View at

Improving public transportation systems with self-organization: A headway-based model and regulation of passenger alighting and boarding
Improving public transportation systems with self-organization: A headway-based model and regulation of passenger alighting and boarding

Learning how to understand complexity and deal with sustainability challenges – A framework for a comprehensive approach and its application in university education
Learning how to understand complexity and deal with sustainability challenges – A framework for a comprehensive approach and its application in university education

Autopsy of a Failed Holacracy: Lessons in Justice, Equity, and Self-Management

She Ji: The Journal of Design, Economics and Innovation

Capitalizing on Paradox: The Role of Language in Transforming Organizational Identities

Langton’s ant

Instructional scaffolding

Bouricius, Terry and Schecter, David. (2013). An Idealized Design for the Legislative Branch of government. Systems Thinking World Journal: Reflection in Action. [Online Journal]. 2(1). [Referred 2013-01-22]. Available: . ISSN-L 2242-8577 ISSN 2242-8577

Bouricius, Terry and Schecter, David. (2014). An Idealized Design for Government. Part 2: Executive Branch Accountability. Systems Thinking World Journal: Reflection in Action. [Online Journal]. 2. [Referred 2014-11-5]. Available: . ISSN-L 2242-8577 ISSN 2242-8577

Read the story of SiG ( Social Innovation Generation) in Canada in this new book:
useful resources on systems practice, shared by Lorna Prescott, curator of CoLab Dudley:
View at

a useful video describing system change using love as an example:

a blog from Jen Morgan on aging and system change:

Marcus Jenal dives into narrative for system change focussing on Five reasons why using narrative is important for understanding social change:

an article on the challenges of integrating startups into parent organizations.

MaFi, the community for systems changers working in international development, announce a shift to focus on the art of facilitation:

an insightful overview of systems change in 2017 from Otto Scharmer, including Big Tech Turned Evil:

some useful Maps of Frameworks on the field of system change:

Click to access Putting%20the%20systembackintosytemschange.pdf

systems failure and the four reasons Philanthropy keeps losing the battle against equality:

Six steps to circular systems design from Leyla Acaroglu:

useful resources on teachers trying to build systems thinking into their syllabus systems literacy:

a report from Newcastle University and Collaborate a whole new world funding and commissioning in complexity:

Toolkit from Ashoka on forming innovative alliances:

Interesting article delving into what role you were born to play in social media change:


Read all about the launch of Rachel Sinha’s new program for system entrepreneurs

Capra Course Masterclass: How to Engage Organisations with Systems Thinking

The brilliant school of system change kicks off on February 20 in New York City and later on the West Coast – Applications are open now.

Online courses – self-taught and instructor-led

Training on the Art of Participatory leadership in Athens – apply by February 15:

Marketing Systems Symposium 2018 is taking place from April 24 – 26 in Cape Town, South Africa:

CDRA is organizing a training on how to design and facilitate Writeshops in Johannesburg:

If you have read Adam Kahane’s newest book collaborating with the enemy join this free online webinar on March 28th and ask Adam everything you want to know on the link below:

Skoll Centre at Oxford launch a competition to encourage University/College students to think systematically about social problems through map the system:

Calls for papers

Call for Papers – Reconceiving Cognition – Antwerp June 27-29

CFP, Special Session – Hybrid Life: Approaches to Integrate Biological, Artificial and Cognitive Systems, Alfie 2018

System Dynamics Society – Call for Papers