Systems Thinking and Networks

Systems Thinking and Networks

Last fall, I heard about an online educational portal called Plus Acumen, which advertises itself as the “world’s school for social change” and offers several free classes. Many of their offerings are geared towards providing practical and accessible tools that people involved in nonprofits, community groups, and networks can use to improve their efforts.

After looking through the course catalogue, I found and enrolled in a class called Systems Practice, led by Rob Ricigliano of The Omidyar Group. The class was insightful, and lead students through an intuitive series of exercises exploring systems through creating a framing question, identifying forces, creating a systems map using Kumu, and crafting a strategy rooted in leverage points.

Throughout the class, I gained a general framework to use to better understand how systems work, and tools that can improve the work I do.

I highly recommend this class to others interested in systems thinking and social change, as it is being offered again for free this fall starting October 9th.

Classes like this are important for advancing the practice of networks by integrating a holistic way of thinking about systems change with tools and strategies that networks can use to be more effective. As more networks blend systems thinking into their core strategies, the possibilities of accelerating transformational change expand, and areas for new tools, practices, and collaborations become clear.

If you’re interested in these items, I’d suggest taking the course, convening a team of people to enroll in the class with you, and share your learnings along the way, as well as ways you are integrating this into your network’s strategy.