Systems Thinking

We are seeing more interest in systems thinking across the public, private, voluntary and community sectors than ever before. The UN, WHO and OECD have all called for systems approaches to join up the Sustainable Development Goals. The UK Government Systems Thinking Community of Practice has 700 members. There are now eight Systems Thinking Practitioner Apprenticeship programmes in England, and some of these are linked to Masters degrees, so there is a significant resurgence in systems education. There are several specialist systems thinking doctoral programs. Jobs are advertised on an almost-daily basis asking for systems thinking skills. There have never been more opportunities for systems thinkers to make a difference at all scales, from local communities through to global governance.  

At the same time, there are exciting, newly-emerging developments in systems thinking, including web-based applications; use of cognitive science to create a deeper understanding of what we do; improved ways to tackle conflict and marginalisation; new ways to present systems thinking to those who have not heard of it before; understanding the ‘building blocks’ of systems methods to turbo-charge their creative design; the development of emotional awareness practices to enhance the facilitation skills of the practitioner; integrations across systems thinking, systems science, cybernetics and complexity; and the mainstreaming of arts-based methods to model human relations. This is all in addition to a rich diversity of systems methodologies developed by previous generations of practitioners that still remain highly relevant and useful for tackling and preventing complex problems. 

Please join us and contribute to the growing community of systems thinkers in OR who are building the necessary capabilities to make our organisations, communities and ecosystems better places to live for current and future generations. 

We welcome the widest possible diversity of practitioners and academics, whatever systems thinking specialism you bring or research community you have engaged with previously. Please join us. 


Matt Lloyd ([email protected])

Affiliation: Centre for Systems Studies, Faculty of Business, Law and Politics, University of Hull, Hull, UK 

Gerald Midgley ([email protected]). 



Gerald Midgley, University of Hull