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Managing systemic risk using systems thinking in practice

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  • Biology
  • Ecology
  • Political Science


Managing uncertainties associated with, say, water security, toxic wastes, or biotechnology, invites growing relevance from the field of complexity sciences that everything is connected. Systems ideas such as complex adaptive systems or the ecosystems approach have consequently gained attention in recent years for promoting more joined-up thinking. But such ideas of systems have limited currency. Issues about interconnections – and calls for joined-up thinking – ought not to be seen in isolation from related systems issues of multiple values and different stakeholder perspectives. Moreover, such issues are related to political issues of partiality and selectivity – that is, system boundary judgements that circumscribe perspectives. A practical dimension of systems thinking using the metaphor of conversation and creative space prompts a more systemic appreciation of real world interconnections in relation to multiple perspectives and boundary judgements. Systems thinking in practice provides a more appropriate systemic space for managing systemic risk.

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