This is my idea for a new global competition to encourage systemic understanding and sustained intervention in societal systems.
This is "similar to" Oxford University's Map the System competition but with greater scope and bigger benefits for society.
It encompasses all the initiatives and learning on my mission to bring systems awareness to the world.
For the last 10 years I have been pursuing a one woman mission to bring systems thinking into UK education! In that time I have tried many interventions both within the education system and outside it. I have worked with children of all ages in school settings and in home schooling and other non school groups such as the brownies.
There is a big barrier to children pursuing systems intelligence and that is the absence of a qualification. Children are told by their parents and teachers that they must focus on exams if they are to do well in the world. I have tried to get the exam boards to introduce new exams and/or to include ST in their existing syllabi (eg in Geography.) None of my efforts have worked.
There are two more insidious issues. One is the way the existing education system rewards regurgitation rather than creativity (see From Regurgitation to Discovery). The second is ethics. Systems Thinking is a powerful too. In the wrong hands it can do great damage unless it is wrapped in ethics (dare I say, Love.)
I have been enrolled as a PhD student since 2018. The idea was to create a longitudinal evaluation study of the impact of teaching ST on children's learning. I see I am deluded again. I don't think that writing 130,000 words read by only 3 examiners will change the world. And that is what I am audaciously trying to do. My intervention in the existing system would only make it do the wrong thing righter, and that is still wronger!
It is clear to me that ST needs to be understood by adults if we are to tackle the big problems we face in the world. However, adults will not trash the dysfunctional, extractive businesses they depend on for a living. How can children recognize the systems our futures depend upon earlier? How can I give them the agency to collaborate and create the much needed new systems?
Recently I have been involved with Oxford University's "Map the System" competition. It has given me the idea to create a new global competition for Systems understanding in Action. Please read on to find out more...
# Competition Categories/Sections
First of all I want to extend the scope of the competition beyond university students, to engage young people and adults. I envisage 3 categories: 1) Over 18's (Students): As per "Map the System" ie only open to members of registered institutions; 2) Under 18's (School or Home School pupils): Maybe split in two - Kids and Teenagers; 3) Open: Open to any age.
NB In the first year I am considering the competition being only open to females. This has been a suggestion by several males that didn't sit well with me at first. This is to raise the profile of women in systems and to overcome anti-science stereotyping of girls.
# Prizes and Criteria
Many children quit my programs at ages 14+ as their teachers and parents encourage them to focus on qualifications. I can provide no such reward. Believe me I've tried through exam boards in the UK. But this competition could provide an international award!
I envisage significant prizes on a scale: 1) Basic prize for quality of mapping and analysis (as per the existing "Map the System" competition; 2) Higher prizes awarded for benefits delivered...so having completed the whole performance improvement cycle at least once (see The 4Is; 3) Largest prizes awarded for long term intervention in a system and sustained learning/ benefits delivered for real societal and ecological systems.
NB Prizes may be monetary or in kind from supporting organisations eg an apprenticeship, a course, a TESLA power wall!
# Community of Practice
Oxford's "Map the System" offers limited support for participants. In contrast "See the System" will be secured by a strong community of practice.
All participants will join a community of practice for mutual support, learning and encouragement. Knowledge sharing events and trainings will be available. A mentoring scheme will be supported by members of systems organisations such as the ORS, ISSS, SDS, INCOSE, ASC, Metaphorum, SCiO, CoR, and Complexity Weekend and will be enabled via a new community platform. This will enable members of these organizations to make a real impact on the world by coaching young people to improve the systems of which they are a part.
I plan to seek big global sponsors such as Nestle, Shell, Airbus, IBM, KPMG and my old consulting clients. I will also seek support from institutions such as MIT, the OU and Hull. I will also reach out to foundations such as the COINS Foundation, the Gates Foundation and the Charter for Compassion.
Many of my old consulting colleagues are now in positions of power in big corporations around the world. I will engage them on this project.
I am also considering funding by bequests. I would certainly leave my money to something like this. Maybe other systems scientists would too?
Participants need to have "skin in the game". I am considering levying a small entry fee provided by stakeholders in the system to be studied and enhanced and all funds raised this way will swell the prize fund...so the prize fund increases the more participants there are...which would incentivize participants to get others involved too.
# Business Model
I intend to develop a business model so that this would be sustainable beyond my tenure and could employ some successful participants.
# Societal Benefits
The main aim of this competiton is to empower young people to understand and intervene in their community systems to generate societal benefit.
I envisage schools mapping and benefiting their local community. Popular projects might focus on climate change or community health. Similarly, groups of Brownie/ Guides/ Scouts could do the same. Churches and other community associations could sponsor participant's local projects.
We can tap into existing programs like the Duke of Edinburgh award.
# Integration of My ST2050 Projects
I called my initiative to bring Systems Thinking to children "ST2050". I am aiming to bring all my ST2050 projects into "See the Systems". Many of them are networks providing opportunities for leverage.
Here are some examples:-
Shell NXplorers : I envisgage that groups of teenagers who have participated in the NXplorers workshop will participate in "See the System"...enabling them to be supported and encouraged in a global community.
Senge's Compassionate Systems Initiative : International Schools participating in Compassionate Systems join "See the System".
Similar leverage opportunities vie networks include:-
COINS Foundation See Pathways for SEND
# Next Steps
Socialise the idea - Reach out to ISSS/SDS/ORS/INCOSE - Reach out to Map the System - Reach out to other systems communities eg CoR - Reach out to funders/ potential prize givers - Reach out to Shell NXplorers - Stakeholder assessment/management - Reserve website address - Aim to launch at ISSS virtual conference in July 2021.
# Questions - What are your questions? - How can I improve and develop this idea? - What are your thoughts on the name? - Who else should I speak to? - What part do you want to play?
YOUTUBE y4s7_LuUzeU Interview with Jon Twigge of Potentialisation