Systems Thinking for a Turbulent World will help practitioners in any field of change engage more effectively in transformative innovation. Such innovation addresses the paradigm shift needed to meet the diverse unfolding global challenges facing us today, often summed up as the Anthropocene.
Fragmentation of local and global societies is escalating, and this is aggravating vicious cycles. To heal the rifts, we need to reintroduce the human element into our understandings – whether the context is civic or scientific – and strengthen truth-seeking in decision-making. Aided by appropriate concepts and methods, this healing will enable a switch from reaction to anticipation, even in the face of discontinuous change and high uncertainty. The outcome is to privilege the positive human skills for collaborative navigation through uncertainty over the disjointed rationality of mechanism and artificial intelligence, which increasingly alienates us.
The reader in search of new ways of thinking will be introduced to concepts new to systems thinking that integrate systems thinking and futures thinking. The concept of anticipatory present moment (APM) serves as a basis for learning the cognitive skills that better enable navigation through turbulent times. A key personal and team practice is participative repatterning, which is the basis for transformative innovation. This practice is aided by new methods of visual facilitation.
The reader is guided through the unfolding of the ideas and practices with a narrative based on the metaphor of search portrayed in the tradition of ox herding, found in traditional Far Eastern consciousness practice.
Table of Contents
List of Figures and Tables, Acknowledgements, Preface, Introduction, CHAPTER 1 – HEALING OUR FRAGMENTED WORLD, Step 1 Seeking the Ox., Thinking Differently, A Systems Worldview, CHAPTER 2 – REHABILITATING THE OBSERVER, Step 2 Finding the Tracks., Paradigm Shift, Thread 1 – Presence of the Observer, Thread 2 – Observation, Intervention and Ethics, Thread 3 – Reflexivity and Reciprocity, Thread 4 – Circularity and Re-entry, Thread 5 - Reflection and Perception, Thread 6 – Transdisciplinarity, Thread 7 – Multi-perspective Dialogic, Weaving the Threads, CHAPTER 3 – REPERCEIVING THE FUTURE, Step 3 - First Glimpse of the Ox. , Changing Boundary Perception, Anticipating the Unpredictable, The Three Horizons, Deepening the Paradigm Shift, CHAPTER 4 - ANTICIPATORY SYSTEMS ARE DIFFERENT, Step 4 Catching the Ox., Foresight as Anticipation, From First-order to Second-order Anticipatory Systems, Taking a Transdisciplinary Viewpoint, The Structure of the Anticipatory Present Moment, CHAPTER 5 CULTIVATING DECISION INTEGRITY, Step 5 Taming the Ox., The Trap of Rationality, Decision as Learning, The Notion of undecidable questions, The Navigational Implications of Second-Order Decision, Implications for Management and Governance, , CHAPTER 6 – THE CO-CREATIVE WAY, Step 6 Riding the Ox Home., Pattern Thinking, The Gestalt of Pattern Recognition, The Practice of Repatterning, Participative Repatterning, Cognitive Kinetics, Idonics – the Key Tool, Facilitating Participative Repatterning, CHAPTER 7 – TRANSFORMING IN THE NOW, Step 7 - The Ox Out of Sight, the Self Alone., Perception within the Present Moment, The Four Modes of Anticipation, An Exercise of Anticipatory Consciousness , APM Exercise 1 – The Stretch, APM Exercise 2 – Reflexive Questions, Tapping Our Potential , Getting to Grips with The Now, CHAPTER 8 – NATURAL SYSTEMS THINKING, Systems Thinking as Qualitative Practice, References, Index
Anthony Hodgson is currently a trustee and research director of H3Uni – A University for the Third Horizon, a research fellow at the University of Dundee, director of Decision Integrity Limited and a founding member of the International Futures Forum. He has a B.Sc. in chemistry from Imperial College London and PhD in systems science from the University of Hull, Centre for Systems Studies. He has over 30 years of experience as a consultant facilitator in strategy and foresight.