Developing professional recognition of systems thinking in practice: an interim report

Shah, Rupesh and Reynolds, Martin (2017). Developing professional recognition of systems thinking in practice: an interim report. The Open University.


The interim report on developing a competency framework for systems thinking in practice (STiP) provides a step towards possibly developing professional recognition of STiP. The report provides feedback to initial co-respondents involved with phase 1 of this wider inquiry, and provides a platform to a wider audience for initiating a second phase of the inquiry.

The phase 1 study had the following objectives:

1. To scope relevant examples of work aimed at giving professional recognition to systems thinking
2. To capture some perspectives on the challenges and opportunities facing the task of giving profession recognition to systems thinking.
Phase 2 of the wider inquiry aims to firstly consolidate the findings from phase 1 but also to focus more on moves towards collaborative modelling of a STiP competency framework.

The research is carried out by members of the Applied Systems Thinking in Practice (ASTiP) Group at The Open University (UK) with funding from OU eSTEeM (OU Centre for STEM Pedagogy). The research team for phase 1 comprised of Rupesh Shah (Associate Lecturer), who carried out the core research activities, in collaboration with Martin Reynolds (Senior Lecturer) who is overseeing both phases of the wider inquiry, including support for reporting on research outcomes. The findings reported in sections 4, 5 and 6 remain largely unrefined and in sketch (bullet) form at this interim stage of reporting.

The interim report comprises a brief background to the wider inquiry before outlining the approach taken to the phase 1 study. The findings are reported in relation to each of the two study objectives. Three themes arising from the study as identified by Rupesh are then discussed. Finally, some concluding ideas are presented for taking forward the outcomes from this study towards a second phase of the inquiry.

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