Systems Thinking refers to a set of tools, a language, methods or heuristics that look at problems as whole instead of as separate parts. Systems thinkers see problems as being messy, historically relevant and context dependent. These thinkers emphasize relationships and interdependence rather than parts of a whole. Systems Thinking is a powerful tool that can be used to address the most wicked social and environmental problems.
Integrative Thinkers build hybrids of opposing models instead of choosing from unattractive options. They do not compromise one option at the expense of another. They instead build new models. This process leads to creative resolutions that embrace the best parts of previously undesirable options, generating a new model that contains the best elements of the previously undesirable models, but are superior previously undesirable options.
Design Thinking is a human centred approach to problem solving that combines empathy, context specificity, usefulness, creativity and idea generation to provide insights and solutions that best fit particular problems. Design Thinking is typically used for product generation, but within recent times, has also been used to generate innovations within many sectors.
The most common source of management mistakes is not the failure to find the right answers. It is the failure to ask the right questions… Nothing is more dangerous in business than the right answer to the wrong question – Peter Drucker
One of the most powerful problem solving tools, is being able to look at a problem in a completely new way. We provide participants with tools for shifting their perspectives on problems. This skill helps find novel solutions to problems they may face in a variety of contexts.
Most of us are familiar with convergent thinking, thinking that asks us to narrow our options. Very few of us are familiar with generative thinking, the kind of thinking that is required to answer open questions. We help participants develop their capacity for generating ideas and solutions.
Systems thinking reminds us that we are all part of the system. We use various games and activities to help participants understand that leadership can happen at all levels of a system, especially if you are able to identify key leverage points.
Many of the exercises we use require participants to collaborate. Most times participants cannot successfully complete a task if they do not work together. Using a pedagogy of play approach, participants learn the value of taking a collaborative approach to problem solving.
All activities throughout the program involve making critical decisions in order to complete an assigned task. Throughout the program, participants learn how their thinking can lead to better or worse decision making. This process helps participants learn how their approach to thinking can contribute to better decision making.
By working on a real world problem, participants begin to develop, plan and organize emerging projects. This practice in thinking about how you take a new combination of resources from paper to project, is the bedrock of entrepreneurial thinking.