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System Thinking Tools

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A blog series introducing and sharing guidance for using different tools to support systems thinking and practice, including actor mapping, trend mapping, timeline mapping, ecocycle mapping, appreciative inquiry, and world cafe. Each offers a downloadable guide in exchange for an email address.



Discipline or practice

Systems Change

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About this resource




United States

Date Published


Copyrighted-All rights reserved


Web-based resource

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One review for "System Thinking Tools"

  1. The Systems Thinking Tools toolkit is a blog presenting several articles on various aspects of systems thinking, including journey mapping, trend mapping, timeline mapping, ecocycle mapping, appreciative inquiry, world café, and tools to support systems thinking and put it into practice.
    Its blog format is quite unique and has the advantage of presenting different points of view. The different articles of the blog each relate to a specific area of systems thinking and consist mainly of written explanations and recommendations. It lacks a bit a visuality and is rendered a bit abstract by the too few presence of designs.
    The toolkit presents an approach that follows the classic principles behind design thinking but in a less complete and less illustrative way than other toolkits provide. It is a little blurry because the articles are in antechronological order and the very vague terms used for the titles of the sections make the navigation uneasy and thus the toolkit lacks guidance.. For example, it does not bring anything new to the reference toolkit that is DesignKit and the concepts it promotes are given in a less comprehensible and less organised manner. It is a bit approximative as it focuses too much on the “research part” of the process; it is supposed to “create change” but the change part remains minimal because there is not enough content on concrete implementation and concrete use and effect of the process. It concentrates more on the observation/data collecting steps than on how to use such resources to foster change in systems. The 5 first sections, each addressing “research part” aspects, are similar and a little repetitive; it could be more beneficial for the user if they were regrouped into one clearer and well articulated section creating links between the different tools, for a more thorough yet efficient research.
    The toolkit remains quite easy to use but the length of the blunt texts could be an obstacle for novices or for motivation in general.
    This toolkit is made for system thinking project leaders who are ready to take time to follow a thorough research process, for projects that require a lot of empathetic work to set solid foundations. It is very much applicable as it is to public sector projects, even though it was initially made for corporate and foundation leaders. But it is useful only to public agents working on systems and who have a consequent amount of time to dedicate to research.

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