Applying the Tools of Systems Thinking to Implement and Manage Change


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Prepared and presented by Mieko A. Ozeki at 2014 Smart & Sustainable Conference in Baltimore, MD as part of a 80-minute workshop

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Applying the Tools of Systems Thinking to Implement and Manage Change

  1. 1. Applying the Tools of Systems Thinking to Implement and Manage Change on Campus Facilitated by: Mieko A. Ozeki Sustainability Projects Coordinator University of Vermont
  2. 2. Overview of Workshop (a)Presentation a. The Challenge of Change Management b. Introduction to Strategic Mind Mapping and Applicable Frameworks c. Example: Mapping a Strategy for UVM’s Beverage System and Banning Bottled Water (a)Mind-mapping activity (b)Discussion/Share Time Allotment Presentation (15 min) Mind-Mapping Activity in pairs (60 min) Closing (5 min)
  3. 3. Workshop Outcomes (a) Practice the application of system thinking, design thinking, and project management frameworks via mind mapping. (b) Develop a strategic mind map with a 30,000 foot perspective on an issue you are working on at your campus. (c) Walk out with a starter “playbook” for addressing specific issues, campaigns, etc. and stakeholder relationships. (d) Add a skill to your facilitation tool kit.
  4. 4. Your participation in this workshop will help you walk out with new tools for your sustainability tool box. It also requires…. “A positive mental attitude unblocks the mind, increases the probability of making spontaneous connections, relaxes the body, improves perception, and creates a general expectation of positive results.” - Tony Buzan
  5. 5. A growing number of students, faculty, and staff are increasingly concerned about their environmental impacts and demand immediate action to be taken. Despite good intentions, these same people can act in haste rather than strategically implementing a long term solution.
  6. 6. Where DO I Begin?
  7. 7. Strategic Mapping of Issues and Relationships • The intent is to look at issues, problems, campaigns, relationships, etc. from 30,000 foot view by identifying opportunities, barriers, key stakeholders, etc. through the process of mindmapping. Also called network mapping, idea mapping, concept mapping. • Mindmapping is the process of visually presenting information via a diagram. • Mindmapping is a tool for applying the frameworks of systems thinking, design thinking, and project management.
  8. 8. Applicable Frameworks of Mindmapping Systems Thinking A holistic approach to analysis that focuses on the way that a system's constituent parts interrelate and how systems work over time and within the context of larger systems.* What? Who? Design Thinking A formal method for practical, creative resolution of problems or issues with the intent of an improved future result. How? Project Management The application of knowledge, skills and techniques to execute projects effectively and efficiently.* What is the scope? When? Mind Mapping
  9. 9. Example: Bottled Water Ban @UVM
  10. 10. Example: Hydration Hydra Map Translated into a To-Do List
  11. 11. Mind Mapping Activity
  12. 12. (a)Pair up and introduce yourselves (a)Each persion should identify 1 or 2 pressing issue, problem, etc. you are about to or currently engaged in. (a)Be specific about the issue you want to address (ex. banning bottled water) (a)Summarize the issue into a single word or succinct term. Getting Started (5-minutes)
  13. 13. Step 1: Identifying the Parts of the System 10-minutes each; 20-minutes total (a) With Post-it notes, put your single word in the center of your map work space. (Note: Your workspace can be at a table or wall) (a) Discuss with your partner the issue: identifying what and who is or could be involved. (a) Your partner will listen and write on Post-it notes a phrase, opportunity, relationship they hear as you work through the problem. One term per Post-it note. Systems Thinking What? Who?
  14. 14. Step 2a: Construct your mindmap- Connect what & who (15-minutes) Start to put together a rough draft of a map with your post- it notes. Systems Thinking What? Who?
  15. 15. = Node, a concept associated with central issue. = Branch, connects one node related to another node.
  16. 16. Step 2b: Construct your mindmap- Identify the how (15-minutes) • Take a step back and look at your maps. • Talk with your partner. • Can you identify possible solutions (policies, programs, projects, etc.) to implement? Design Thinking 1. Define the problem 1. Create and consider many options 1. Refine selected direction. 3.5 Repeat 1. Pick the winner & execute. How?
  17. 17. “A system is more than the sum of its parts. It may exhibit adaptive, dynamic, goal-seeking, self- preserving, and sometimes evolutionary behavior.” -Donella Meadows
  18. 18. Step 3: Draft scope and action plan (5-minutes) • Look at your system and write a scope statement. • A scope statement includes: Project justification, Project product, Project deliverables, Project objectives. • Jot down a starting task list. Project Management What is the scope? When?
  19. 19. Take a picture of your map
  20. 20. Record your maps • Draw out the map you developed. • You can take your map and draft it on a program such as Mindjet Mind Manager, Mindnode, or other online software. Mindjet® MindmanagerMindnode
  21. 21. Please take your maps back with you to campus
  22. 22. References Systems Thinking Design Thinking Project Management
  23. 23. References Mind mapping Idea mapping Problem Solving with pictures
  24. 24. Got feedback or questions? Email me at Thank you!