The Hidden Power of Systems Thinking: Governance in a Climate Emergency, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

The Hidden Power of Systems Thinking

Governance in a Climate Emergency, 1st Edition

By Ray Ison, Ed Straw


328 pages | 35 B/W Illus.

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Paperback: 9781138493995
pub: 2020-03-25
Available for pre-order. Item will ship after 25th March 2020
Hardback: 9781138493988
pub: 2020-03-25
Available for pre-order. Item will ship after 25th March 2020

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The Hidden Power of Systems Thinking is a persuasive, lively book that shows how systems thinking can be harnessed to effect profound, complex change.

In the age of the Anthropocene the need for new ways of thinking and acting have become urgent. But patterns of obstacles are apparent in any action, be they corporate interests, lobbyists, or outdated political and government systems. Ison and Straw show how and why failure in governance is at the heart of the collective incapacity to tackle the climate and biodiversity emergencies. They go beyond analysis of the problem and demonstrate how incorporating systems thinking into governance at every level would enable us to break free of historical shackles. They propose 21 principles for systemic governance.

This book will be inspiring reading for students of systems thinking that want to understand the application of their methods, specialists in change management or public administration, activists for ‘whole system change’ as well as decision makers wanting to effect challenging transformations. It is for anyone with the ambition to create a sustainable and fair world.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements, List of Figures, Tables and Boxes, List of Abbreviations, Preface, 1 Introduction: Crafting a Viable Future, Part 1 The Failure of Governance and Governments, 2 Why Governance Systems Are Failing, 3 Preferential Lobbying and Emergent Failure, 4 What is Missing from Current Governance Models, Part 2 What is Systems Thinking in Practice? 5 Examples: Health Services, Flood Defence, Meetings, 6 Investing in Systems Thinking in Practice Capability, Part 3 Using Systems Thinking in Practice for Governing, 7 Reinventing Governance Systems, 8 New Practices and Institutions for Systemic Governing, 9 Why and How Constitutions Matter, 10 Making Beneficial Change, 11 Principles for Systemic Governing, 12 What Next? Appendices, 1 Two Lives Invested in Systemic Sensibility, 2 Glossary, Index

About the Authors

Ray Ison is Professor of Systems at the UK Open University (OU). As part of ASTiP (Applied Systems Thinking in Practice Group) he is responsible with colleagues for managing a post-graduate program in Systems Thinking in Practice. He has held a number of leadership posts within the international Systems and Cybernetics community including Presidencies of the IFSR (International Federation for Systems Research) and ISSS (International Society for the Systems Sciences). His research field is systems praxeology, institutional innovation and systemic governance.

Ed Straw is a visiting fellow at the OU’s ASTiP group. He has seen government from every angle: as a citizen and consumer, adviser to several government ministers, Chair of Demos and Relate, and as a specialist on government task forces. He was a consultant on both the Conservative and Labour government’s public sector reforms, and a ‘moderniser’ for the UK Labour party. As a partner at PwC and Coopers & Lybrand, he was a global and UK board director.

About the Series

Systems Thinking

Systems Thinking theory and practice is gaining ground in the worlds of social policy and management.

The Routledge Systems Thinking series is designed to make this complex subject as easy for busy practitioners and researchers to understand as possible. It provides range of reference books, textbooks and research books on a range of themes in systems thinking, from theoretical introductions to the systems thinking approach and its history, through practical guides to the implementation of systems thinking in the world, through to in depth case studies that are significant for their profound impact.

This series is an essential reference point for anyone looking for innovative ways to effect systemic change, or engaging with complex problems.  

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Strategic Planning
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Information Management