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Framing Professional Competencies for Systems Thinking in Practice

  • Project leader(s): Martin Reynolds
  • Theme: Other
  • Faculty: STEM
  • Status: Archived
  • Dates: May 2017 to June 2018

The eSTEeM project was a 12-month inquiry beginning March 2017 building on an initial eSTEeM project (2014-2016) entitled ‘Enhancing Systems Thinking in Practice in the Workplace’ reported on in Reynolds et al (2016).  The initial report highlighted the challenges of enacting systems thinking in practice (STiP) in the workplace after qualifying with STiP core modules at The OU. Expressions of interest were manifest amongst systems thinking practitioners and employers for having some kind of formalised externally validated  ‘competency framework’ for professional recognition of systems thinking in practice.

The project was carried out by a core team of three academics – Reynolds, Shah, and van Ameijde, associated with the Applied Systems Thinking in Practice (ASTiP) Group in the School of Engineering and Innovation, along with advice and support from other ASTiP colleagues – most notably Ison and Blackmore. The inquiry comprised some desktop research on competency framings, a series of online interviews, the drafting of an interim report, a video recording of employee/ employer interaction regarding application of STiP competencies in the workplace, a workshop held in London Regional Office in June 2017, and follow-up reporting and conversations arising from the workshop.  One significant outcome from this activity led to ideas and consultations with Employer representatives, professional bodies and the Institute for Apprenticeships to initiate a Trailblazing Committee for a new Systems Thinking Practitioner apprenticeship Standard. 

Compared with the initial eSTEeM research project (2014-2016), the scope of this research was much more limited, and thereby more resource restrictive.  eSTEeM kindly provided 10 DL days divided between two ALs   (Shah and van Ameijde).  The amount of time for the Project Lead was subject to 10 days due to other commitments during the project. There were 7 co-respondents for the  initial phase of interviewing.  The one-day workshop involved 14 participants including members of the core eSTEeM team, several interviewees from phase 1,  along with other special guests invited on the basis of their involvement, support and interest for the framing of competencies associated with STiP.

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