Weeknotes S11 Ep12 / Systems Thinking week 4

“A problem is an abstraction of reality extracted from reality by analysis”

An image of some notebook notes which include the quote in the subhead.

Well Friday has come around really quickly and I’m in a bit of a whirl as I type this. The project I’m working on has reached a really busy point and my week has been spent conducting something like 11 research interviews. It’s been really interesting and has required a lot of focus and concentration. I’m really glad that I have those coaching skills to fall back to feel confident in holding the space and letting people speak.

I’ve also been working again on co-creation workshop designs but only in and around other work, which has meant I haven’t been able to do as much thinking on it as I would have hoped to — still I’ve come to the end of the week with a plan and I’m feeling pretty happy about where we’ve got to.

Sorry for the lack of detail here but that’s really all I can say at the moment about that. This has been my week — a busy one with a very clear focus.

And what else?

The LDCU also published all the outputs from the Community Engagement Playbook project which is awesome.

I had a migraine on Wednesday at about 1pm and had a little time before an interview to get my eyes clear, but it made the afternoon a little harder.

On Thursday evening I was able to join One Tea Gov with Nour and DavidBuck for a little bit which was nice.

Alex and I submitted our pitch for Code for America, but I haven’t got round to reading anything more for that yet because busy.

I really enjoyed this article:

And I’ve pretty much listened to Dry Cleaning on loop all week:

Systems Thinking for Service Designers

This week was a bit of a break to digest what we’ve learned so far and before we get into the next half of the module which will be more in depth and using/reusing one model to really embed it. That will be looking at Causal Loop Diagrams (link takes you to a starter for this).

Honestly my brain is a bit fuzzled about it all; simple ones I can deal with but some of the larger ones are annoyingly complicated, and the link polarities are doing my head in a bit. Lots to think about and remember which I guess is why it needs practice?

A notebook entry about Causal Loop Diagrams — it all gets significantly more complicated from here.

I’m appreciating that in the course there is space for intuition and feeling our way through things, and that the mindset is as important as the model. The models we are learning are presented without any real right or wrong and without any bias (e.g. this is the best way to do this) but as a model among many models, which can be started in any number of ways and from different perspectives.

A really messy notebook pace about levels of thinking

We were also set our assignment this week which immediately made me super worried as it needs to be handed in one week after the end of the module which is smack bang in the middle of more busy time at work. However Ben (from Government of New Zealand) asked if I wanted to do a joint assignment with him, so I’ve totally jumped at that because it reminds me of the One Team Gov radical Visions work all over again — working with people on the other side of the world! Yes to that, always so much yes.

Anyway, I don’t have too much more to add for this week because like I said, it’s just been busy and a bit hectic. But I thought I’d share some of my notebook from the course in case you’re interested, and because it pretties the place up a little bit. Enjoy.

Pages of my notebooks for the module.


Local Gov collaboration at MHCLG. Prev: Head of Digital at National Leadership Centre, Cabinet Office. Standards at GDS. Proud to be @OneTeamGov.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store