Systems thinking and practice

A guide to concepts, principles and tools for FCDO and partners

Jim Woodhill Juliet Millican
Published by
K4D, Institute of Development Studies

This guide offers an insight into the theoretical foundations, conceptual frameworks and facilitation tools for adopting a systems mindset and putting it into practice

It is a basic reference on systems thinking and practice tailored to the context and needs of the UK Government’s Foreign, Commonwealth & Development
Office (FCDO). It is an output of the FCDO Knowledge for Development Programme (K4D), which facilitated a learning journey on systems thinking and practice with FCDO staff during 2021 and 2022.

It offers a common language and shared framing of systems thinking for FCDO and its partners. It explores what this implies for working practices, business processes and leadership.

It includes chapters on: the implications of systems thinking for social change, governance and leadership; overcoming institutional barriers to systems thinking and practice; and tools for getting started with systems analysis.