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         Systems Thinking

Everything is connected to everything else. Whether we realize it or not, we have all experienced first-hand how our world is interconnected through systems that are around us and inside us.

Think of an ecosystem - how every little plant and animal has a role to play in the ecosystem. Remove just one and we see how it affects the balance of the whole. We can see this in even the most common activities of our daily life.  How can a drought that happened hundreds of miles away affect the price of vegetables in your neighborhood palengke?

 

These are all the results of systems that surround us and connect us.  Things, people, and communities whose behavior and beliefs are so interconnected that, when one part of it moves, the rest can feel it.  

Systems-thinking helps us to recognize and understand this world of systems that we live in. 

Is there a problem in your community that does not seem to go away? Is there a problem you’ve grown up with where you’ve been told that “There’s nothing you can do about it?”

These are systemic problems and require solutions grounded on systems thinking to be addressed effectively. Ready to help create lasting change? 

Welcome to the Youth Years Collective's hub of systems thinking resources! 

A (Beginner) Facilitator's Guide to Systems Thinking

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We created this beginner’s guide for communities, networks, and organizations who want to introduce systems-thinking to their members or teammates for the first time.  We put together resources that we think will be helpful for young leaders who are starting their changemaker journeys and local groups who are already running social change initiatives. 

 

We designed this as a facilitator’s guide because we want to equip you with an overview of this expansive topic so that you can explore and use the resources that you feel will be most relevant for your local context. We want to collaborate with you so that you can adapt and localize this material because you know what works best for your teams and communities. Changing systems and solving deep-seated problems takes time and needs to be nurtured within a community of support.  No one can change a system alone.

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Watch this video to learn more about the guide: 

  • How we created this guide: We compiled the content for this facilitator’s guide by reviewing the extensive range of materials already out there on systems thinking and sharing with you some of the resources that may be helpful for the Philippine context.  We also collaborated with and interviewed local systemic leaders in the Philippines. 

    We would like to acknowledge the limits of our methodology.  This guide is not meant to be an academic research piece as we are not academics or systems experts, just community-builders who have seen first-hand the benefits of systems thinking. We hope that this guide can help jumpstart the creation of more resources that can be easily understood and used by Filipino communities.

     

  • This guide is meant to be a basic introduction for those who are exploring systems thinking for the first time and want to apply it towards solving social problems.  Because this is a beginner’s guide, there is so much more about systems thinking that is beyond what this guide will cover.  Please check out the resources listed at the end of the guide. 

 

  • Let’s collaborate! We hope to continue evolving and growing this guide.  If you use this or any of its pieces with your communities, we would love to hear your feedback and any suggestions on how to make it better.  If you have come across materials that you think would be good to include in the guide, please do share.  You can reach out to us at tjm@firetree.org