Resources for Learning About Systems Thinking

This is a page I have created for people who want to learn more about Systems Thinking after participating in one of my training sessions through I-LEAD, Ashoka or the Kellogg Foundation.

First, here is a link to the Chapter of my book Genership on the subject of Systems Thinking and its relationship to leadership and creativity.

Second, here is a link to the Systems Thinking E-Learning Environment on Kumu.io, a fantastic resource for beginning to understand systems.

Third, I highly recommend that you sign up for a free account on Insightmaker.com, a terrific online modeling tool that allows you to create not only a variety of systems models but also to actually build online simulations. It’s amazing.

Fourth, below is a directory of websites, books and articles on the subject of Systems Thinking. Join the movement!

Insightmaker_Model

This is a diagram created in Insightmaker by a
group of Kellogg Fellows exploring the concept of structural racism.
When the diagram opens, click “Step Forward” in the lower right corner
to step through the diagram.

Web Based Forums

The System Dynamics discussion forum (http://www.systemdynamics.org/forum) is a bulletin board forum to ask questions, post news and join discussions related to System Dynamics.

SystemsWiki (http://www.systemswiki.org/index.php?title=Main_Page) is a systems thinking and system dynamics wiki, led by Gene Bellinger.

Books & Articles

Russell L. Ackoff (1999) Ackoff’s Best: His Classic Writings on Management. (WileyISBN 0-471-31634-2

Russell L. Ackoff (2010) Systems Thinking for Curious Managers. (Triarchy Press). ISBN 978-0-9562631-5-5

Béla H. Bánáthy (1996) Designing Social Systems in a Changing World (Contemporary Systems Thinking). (Springer) ISBN 0-306-45251-0

Béla H. Bánáthy (2000) Guided Evolution of Society: A Systems View (Contemporary Systems Thinking). (Springer) ISBN 0-306-46382-2

Ludwig von Bertalanffy (1976 – revised) General System theory: Foundations, Development, Applications. (George Braziller) ISBN 0-8076-0453-4

Fritjof Capra (1997) The Web of Life (HarperCollins) ISBN 0-00-654751-6

Peter Checkland (1981) Systems Thinking, Systems Practice. (Wiley) ISBN 0-471-27911-0

Peter Checkland, Jim Scholes (1990) Soft Systems Methodology in Action. (Wiley) ISBN 0-471-92768-6

Peter Checkland, Jim Sue Holwell (1998) Information, Systems and Information Systems. (Wiley) ISBN 0-471-95820-4

Peter Checkland, John Poulter (2006) Learning for Action. (Wiley) ISBN 0-470-02554-9

West Churchman(1984 – revised) The Systems Approach. (Delacorte Press) ISBN 0-440-38407-9.

John Gall (2003) The Systems Bible: The Beginner’s Guide to Systems Large and Small. (General Systemantics Pr/Liberty) ISBN 0-9618251-7-0

Jamshid Gharajedaghi (2005) Systems Thinking: Managing Chaos and Complexity – A Platform for Designing Business Architecture. (Butterworth-Heinemann) ISBN 0-7506-7973-5

Charles François (ed) (1997), International Encyclopedia of Systems and Cybernetics, München: K. G. Saur.

Charles L. Hutchins (1996) Systemic Thinking: Solving Complex Problems CO:PDS ISBN 1-888017-51-1

Bradford Keeney (2002 – revised) Aesthetics of Change. (Guilford Press) ISBN 1-57230-830-3

Donella Meadows (2008) Thinking in Systems – A primer (Earthscan) ISBN 978-1-84407-726-7

Barry Richmond (2001) Introduction to Systems Thinking: STELLA. (High Performance Systems) ISBN 978-0-9704921-1-1

John Seddon (2008) Systems Thinking in the Public Sector. (Triarchy Press). ISBN 978-0-9550081-8-4

Peter M. Senge (1990) The Fifth Discipline – The Art & Practice of The Learning Organization. (Currency Doubleday) ISBN 0-385-26095-4

Lars Skyttner (2006) General Systems Theory: Problems, Perspective, Practice (World Scientific Publishing Company) ISBN 981-256-467-5

Graeme Snooks (2008) ‘A general theory of complex living systems: Exploring the demand side of dynamics’. Complexity, 13(6), July/August: 12-20.

Frederic Vester (2007) The Art of interconnected Thinking. Ideas and Tools for tackling with Complexity (MCB) ISBN 3-939314-05-6

Gerald M. Weinberg (2001 – revised) An Introduction to General Systems Thinking. (Dorset House) ISBN 0-932633-49-8

Margaret J. Wheatley (2006 – revised) Leadership and the New Science. (Berret-Koehler) ISBN 1576753441

Brian Wilson (1990) Systems: Concepts, Methodologies and Applications, 2nd ed. (Wiley) ISBN 0-471-92716-3

Brian Wilson (2001) Soft Systems Methodology: Conceptual Model Building and its Contribution. (Wiley) ISBN 0-471-89489-3

Ludwig von Bertalanffy (1969) General System Theory. (George Braziller) ISBN 0-8076-0453-4

Models Online

In addition to the models provided with the books and tutorials above, the following resources are available:

Tom Fiddaman’s model library (http://models.metasd.com/)

SystemsWiki model library and distributed repository (http://www.systemswiki.org/index.php?title=Systems_Thinking_World_Model_Library)

Other System Dynamics Learning Resources

The System Dynamics Society (http://www.systemdynamics.org/)  is an international nonprofit organization devoted to encouraging the development and use of systems thinking and system dynamics around the world. The Society hosts an annual conference and maintains lists of academic programs and courses, tools and other resources.

The MIT System Dynamics in Education project – http://sysdyn.clexchange.org/ home page features papers and other resources related to system dynamics including the “Road Maps” self learning series.

The Creative Learning Exchange (http://www.clexchange.org/) has a large library of information for K-12 systems dynamics learning and teaching.

For system dynamics web links, a comprehensive resource is G. Ossimitz’s System Dynamics Mega Link List (http://wwwu.uni-klu.ac.at/gossimit/linklist.php)

Tom Fiddaman’s system dynamics and systems thinking links. (http://www.delicious.com/tomfid/tag_bundle/Systems)