What is Systems Thinking and Why Do We Need It?

What is Systems Thinking and Why Do We Need It?

systems thinkingEcosystem cultivators understand that it’s not enough to come up with an innovative new program or practice; their goal is to catalyze change in the way communities approach STEM learning. Writing in the Harvard Business Review, Vanessa Kirsch, Jim Bildner and Jeff Walker explain how social entrepreneurs need “a set of tools and a framework designed to address the complexity inherent when innovations are integrated into existing systems like school districts, welfare agencies, health departments, and corporate structures.”  What does this mean? In their HBS article Why Social Ventures Need Systems Thinking, the authors identify 5 key characteristics of efforts that result in systems change. Using the development of EducationSuperHighway (ESH), as an example, the authors illustrate how founder Evan Marwell employed 1) systems thinking, 2) research and analysis, 3) communications, 4) policy, and 5) measurement and evaluation to drive the share of U.S. school districts with access to 100 kbps connectivity from 30% to 77% since 2013.