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Systems Thinking: Bridging theory & practice


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Systems Thinking:
Bridging theory & practice

Published in: Government & Nonprofit
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Systems Thinking: Bridging theory & practice

  1. 1. Systems Thinking: Bridging theory & practice Health Systems Research Symposium 2018
  2. 2. Why systems thinking is important for our work? ‘We need new ways of thinking and of working in order to accommodate the complexity of the challenges in and urgent need for health system innovation and change.’ Herbert & Best, 2011 Provides an approach to problem identification and solution finding in a way that recognises the nature of complex systems and dynamics Static thinking Dynamic thinking Tree-by-tree thinking Forest thinking Linear thinking Loop thinking
  3. 3. What does this mean in practice? Common applications of systems thinking in our programmes:  Political Economy Analysis  Participatory approaches  Embedded technical assistance  Stakeholder mapping  Process mapping  Adaptive programming
  4. 4. Challenges Linear reporting mechanisms Complex and messy reality
  5. 5. Challenges Short time-frame of programme  Limited scope of programme timeline for systems changeProject timeline
  6. 6. How we address these challenges? We use Theories of Change to:  illustrate the pathways of change  identify the ‘missing middle’  explore how and why change comes about  Reflect on the bigger picture beyond the scope of the programme
  7. 7. Opportunities Increased donor recognition of the need for: Participatory approaches (eg HCD) Multi-sectoral approaches Adaptive Programming