A terrific synopsis of a recent paper authored by social innovation leaders Charlie Leadbeater and Geoff Mulgan from NESTA in the UK as told by David Ing. There are many systems thinking takes on social innovation that get both the innovation wrong and the systems thinking, but this isn’t one of them. Leadbeater and Mulgan have a more sophisticated view of systems than many out there and it is refreshing to see it. David’s summary is outstanding, too for those not able to get to the full paper right away (which is a good read).

In brief. David Ing.

For innovators looking for an applied view of systems thinking, @GeoffMulgan and @LeadbeaterCh have written chapters for Nesta (the UK innovation foundation) on Systems Innovation.  The chapters are bundled in a single volume.

Systems Innovation (Nesta, 2013)

Here’s an outline, with some highlights from the text.

Joined-Up Innovation:  What is Systemic Innovation and How Can It Be done Effectively (Geoff Mulgan)

  • Introduction
  • 1. Background and definitions
    • Definitions
      • … we can define systemic innovation as an interconnected set of innovations, where each influences the other, with innovation both in the parts of the system and in the ways in which they interconnect.
    • The impulse to be systemic
      • Figures like Norbert Wiener, Gregory Bateson, Ludwig von Bertalanffy, Stafford Beer and Geoffrey Vickers turned systems thinking into a coherent field. [….] Complexity thinking provided a parallel set of ideas from the 1980s onwards, led by figures such as Ilya Prigogine and Stuart Kauffman, while one strand…

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Posted by Cameron D. Norman

I am a designer, psychologist, educator, and strategist focused on innovation in human systems. I'm curious about the world around me and use my role as Principal and President of Cense Ltd. as a means of channeling that curiosity into ideas, questions, and projects that contribute to a better world.