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Knowledge Synthesis

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Purpose: Describes different levels of public participation and can be easily adapted to describe how researchers engage with stakeholders  Arnstein’s purpose in developing the ladder was to describe how ‘have-not’ citizen groups were exploited in government decision-making processes, as well as how much power stakeholders had in determining the final product Description: Arnstein’s ladder has […]
Purpose: (a) To describe different ways stakeholder engagement can occur; (b) To assist in the selection of the appropriate level of stakeholder participation depending on the particular circumstances; and, (c) To specifically examine stakeholder engagement in a research context. Description: The International Association for Public Participation (IAP2) has developed a spectrum for public participation, specifically for government decision making. The spectrum can be easily adapted for other contexts and a modified version has been produced for a research context...
This online toolkit provides descriptions of a range of methods for stakeholder engagement, listed below. As well as providing a general overview, each method is described using the following categories: participants, cost, approximate time expense, strengths, weaknesses and origin. Videos are provided for some methods. There are also case studies for most methods.   Moderation […]
Overview of several high profile system dynamics model-based applications, selected to show what such models look like, how they emerged (often in multidisciplinary interventions), and how they were used successfully to influence strategy, policy, and decision making. Examples include project management, commodity cycles, urban dynamics, and infectious disease policy. Video (30 minutes): Models that Matter: […]
This video of an hour-long workshop introduces the core concepts and patterns of thought of the system dynamics approach to complex problems: thinking dynamically, thinking causally, thinking about accumulations, and the key to it all, thinking endogenously. The session builds skills in the mechanics of defining problems dynamically, mapping systems structure, and teasing out qualitative […]
The encyclopedia is a searchable online database of concepts that support the advancement of cybernetic and systems research and applications. There are more than 3,800 entries. Topics include abstraction, complexity, decision hierarchy, emergence, feedback, gap analysis, hierarchy, interdependence, non-linear dynamics, path dependence, root definition, stakeholder analysis, and worldview. Each concept is briefly explained and linked […]
Systems archetypes are recurring generic systems structures found in many kinds of organisations, under many circumstances, and at many levels and scales. They are distinctive combinations of reinforcing and balancing processes. These system archetypes teach how to diagnose recurring problems and to design effective interventions. Eight common archetypes are: fixes that fail shifting the burden […]
These two videos describe the difference between analysis (study of the parts) and synthesis (understanding of the whole). Analysis provides knowledge; synthesis provides understanding. Describes that all systems are parts of larger systems. Also describes that an essential property of a system is that it cannot be divided into independent parts; that its properties derive […]
This video introduces systems thinking for people with little prior knowledge of the field through four key systems thinking skills: Exploring boundaries – understanding the inclusion, exclusion and marginalisation of stakeholders and the issues that concern them. Appreciating multiple perspectives – how and why stakeholders frame issues in different ways. Understanding relationships – networks of […]
This introduction to systems thinking starts with the old adage “teach a man to fish and you feed him forever” and demonstrates why this may fail. It shows how the simple act of fishing is embedded in a complex web of stakeholders and issues, including climate change, pollution, overfishing, lack of access to income, irrigation […]

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