Systems Thinking for Problem Solving

Problem-solving for organisations and groups – a systemic approach to collaborative experiment

Are you part of a group or organisation which is stuck in some way?

Are you looking for fresh approaches to find your way out of the maze?

Systemic Approach to Collaborative Inquiry is designed specifically for shared interest groups (small businesses, community groups, teams within larger organisations etc) that feel stuck in some way, unsure how to move on from a problem or issue they are facing.

Martin Sandbrook, Programme Leader for Systems Thinking for Effective Action, has designed a two-stage process that introduces participants to a systemic approach and then helps them find a clear route forward.

  • First phase: An introduction to systems, systems thinking and a core systemic approach called Action Experiment.
  • Second phase: The group works to develop a collaborative experiment, to find a way out of the maze through action. The group begins by framing a shared definition of the problem, clarifying, in the form of a shared aspiration, what they would like to be different. Then, with help from Martin and the others in the group, each participant identifies an individual action with which to experiment, an action that takes them toward their shared aspiration.

Martin is ready respond to the specific needs of your group to flexibly design a collaborative engagement with systems thinking and action experiment. This will help you find a route out of the maze in which you are stuck.

Case Study

Martin recently worked with a group of Homeopaths from Belgium. They had been in a dark place since they were banned from practicing by Belgian law. Pending appeal, they are able to practice at the moment, but their future remains uncertain and they feel very stuck, tormented by their sense of disempowerment.

The group set up a two-day session, (funded by the EU Erasmus programme) with Martin as their guide, to learn about systems thinking and a systemic approach to finding a way out of their stuck-ness.

Their shared aspiration involved connecting again with what it means to be a homeopath. Each person’s action represented an important, but very much do-able, first step, something they could act on, as an experiment on the path back to the sense of self which is inherent in being able to say “I am a practising homeopath”.

Participant comments:

I thought this workshop would be an explanation of a way of thinking or a way of looking at systems, but for me it turned out to be so much more. I experienced the healing effect of someone who is living this way of thinking and the impact this had and still has on me, our group and our system. I am deeply grateful for the experience itself and the new dynamics it has induced.”

Goedele de Nolf

Framing is not an easy thing in complex matters; it proved to be one of the potentials of Systems Thinking. The step by step process also turned out to be a good tool to tackle multifaceted problems and come to workable conclusions and action. But it needs to be said that Systems Thinking mainly thrives on the skills of its facilitator: it calls for an open and aware person. We had the benefit of being taken through the process by Martin Sandbrook, displaying these characteristics in abundance.”

Anne Vervarcke