The Hidden Power of Systems Thinking: Governance in a Climate Emergency 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 has 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 But patterns of obstacles are apparent in any action, be they corporate interests, lobbyists, or outdated political and government systems.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 26 principles for systemic governance.
This book will be inspiring reading for students applying their systemic methods, specialists in change management or public administration, activists for ‘whole system change’ and decision makers wanting to effect challenging transformations. It is for anyone with the ambition to create a sustainable and fair world.
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
"Ison and Straw’s book presents a valuable set of ideas. They fit in and extend a decades-long lineage of cybernetic, interpretative and critical systems thinking about governance..."
Philippe Vandenbroeck, Systems/Futures Thinker
"It is an original work in which we find the invariants of the STiP, already widely developed elsewhere, in a style aimed at a wider audience than just academic colleagues, reinforced by the inimitable illustrations of Simon Kneebone, who knows so well to make complex ideas intelligible in a few delightful strokes..."
Bernard Hubert, Ecologist, INRAE, France, Editor-in-Chief of Natures Sciences Sociétés
"The Hidden Power of Systems Thinking: Governance in Climate Emergency is a persuasive, lively book that shows how systems thinking can be harnessed to effect profound, complex change… 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. This book is for anyone with the ambition to create a sustainable and fair world."
Kevin Lindsay, New Books Network (Podcast | Ray Ison and Ed Straw, "The Hidden Power of Systems… (newbooksnetwork.com))
Ison & Straw (2020) Book Launch Thursday 16th April 2020 –see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f3Q-YLKoIQ8 or Facebook https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=1047656372294551
ASC 2020 Global Conversation – Session ASC01 Panel Theme 1: Governing in the time of COVID and our climate emergency based on The Hidden Power of Systems Thinking – Governance in a Climate Emergency by Ray Ison and Ed Straw - https://asc-cybernetics.org/asc-2020-global-conversation-session-asc01/
Ison RL et al (2020) The Hidden Power of Systems Thinking. Australian Book Launch by Prof. The Hon. Bob Carr, former Premier of NSW. Tuesday 20th October See: https://uts4climate.uts.edu.au/systems-thinking/ Also: https://uts4climate.uts.edu.au/q-a/
"In this book, Ison and Straw make a strong case for the value of thinking and acting systemically as a means to ‘create ways of appreciating the complexity in a situation and of designing actions that facilitate change’. They illustrate their argument with examples of change–those that take systemic approaches and those that do not–and make proposals for improvement that range from adopting small cognitive and behavioural differences to applying radical principles to change national institutions and practices. The sub-title highlights climate change but, whilst a continuing theme of the book concerns addressing the dangers arising from humankind’s actions toward the environment, much of the text concerns systems thinking and government activity in a wider range of policy areas."
George Boak, York St John Unniversity