Workshop: Systems Thinking

February 23-24, 2023, Virtual Mode

Systems thinking is an interdisciplinary approach towards understanding the interplays between various social, technological, economic, political and ecological systems. The underlying premise is that the whole is more than the sum of the parts. By applying the tools of systems thinking one can get an understanding about how different parts of the system interact with each other and what kind of outcomes can be expected at a system level. This is essential while designing policies and interventions for improving performance of systems or achieving long term goals. Systems thinking has been applied to environmental systems, questions related to public policy, governance and industrial management. It is both, a life skill to have as well as a professional skill which can be applied at workplaces.

This two-day workshop aims to introduce the concepts and tools of systems thinking. The participants will gain a hands-on experience of applying the tools of systems thinking and also would be working in groups. Some case studies would also be given for practice. Use of STELLA Online software would be done for making causal loop diagrams.

Modules and Topics

  • Systems thinking and its importance: Systems Thinking Definition, System Thinking Framework, Tools of Systems Thinking
  • Tools of Systems Thinking – I: Causal Loop Diagram, Best Practices, Participant group work for applying the tool, Presentation and Debrief, Discussions
  • Tools of Systems Thinking – II: Systems Archetypes, Group work for applying the tool, Presentation and Debrief, Discussions
  • Applications of Systems Thinking: When to apply and how to apply Systems Thinking, Real world applications of Systems Thinking, Q&A, Closing

The participants would be applying the tools of systems thinking, like causal loop diagram, on a computer software called STELLA Architect. The software will be made available to the participants. Each participant needs to have a laptop to be able to install and work with the software. Pre-reads will be shared 1 week before the workshop.

Who Should Attend

The workshop can be attended by people who are interested to get familiar with systems thinking and learn the tools and concepts. It does not require any prior training and can be attended by people from all disciplines and domains of work like Academicians; Corporate Managers, Development Practitioners, NGOs, Donors/Philanthropies and Government organizations.

Resource Person

Mr. Mihir Mathur, Founder, DESTA Research LLP

Mihir uses systems thinking and modeling to create conversations on sustainability agendas and facilitates collaborative decision making processes. He founded DESTA Research LLP in 2018 and currently is a visiting faculty for System Dynamics Modeling at TISS, Hyderabad and at ISDM, Noida. He works with philanthropies, think tanks and non profit entities to mainstream systems thinking into their strategy, planning and implementation. He also runs a theatre group in Delhi and a music band to spread the message of sustainability by combining the science and art.

Industry expertise:

  • Climate Change Adaptation Program of Watershed Organisation Trust, Pune, 2009 to 2014
  • Earth Sciences & Climate Change at TERI, New Delhi, 2014 to 2017
  • Founder Director at DESTA Research LLP, 2018 till Present
  • Mentor – International System Dynamics Soceity, 2019 till Present