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Can we apply systemic thinking to the totality of what we are trying to do? Most of us would like to put our skills, talent and hard-won experience to work on issues or opportunities we care about but faced with the complexities involved, many feel powerless individually. FRSAs Adrian Hosford and George Oakham believes a new Fellows’ network could be one step in the right direction.

How do we influence the system around us so that the sum of all our improvements makes a measurable impact on society as a whole? This is the big question facing all of us who want to make a positive impact but often feel that the task is too big. Systemic thinking – what the RSA calls "think like a system, act like an entrepreneur" is at the heart of the Society’s strategy and its project. This initiative seeks to apply systemic thinking to the big picture by asking how all our efforts to improve society can work together to bring about aligned and sustained positive change.

Many of us are already making a positive difference on specific projects tackling discreet areas like education, conflict management and so on. However, some of the societal changes needed sit within a much wider and complicated context where success depends on how well a solution interacts with everything else and how well the whole eco-system works. The risk is without this broader approach at best our attempts are thwarted and, at worst, our efforts result in unintended consequences that simply produce more problems not fewer. 

Influencing the complicated meta eco-system that shapes our society requires effort above and beyond the individual however talented and well connected they may be and requires a mix of disciplines, skills and experiences. This diversity exists within the RSA Fellowship, which includes cross sector practitioners in a wide range of fields, academics from a range of disciplines and has the advantage of a wide geographical spread. 

But – and this is a big but – do we, as well as having the culture, skill and networks needed, have the process skill to explore problem sets better, define options clearly and start to mobilise effort to enable real transformational change? We require new ways of working and expert world-class facilitation. We have the space and the facilitation if you are interested in beginning the conversation? 

Please express your interest and what you bring to the table so we can set up an experimental session to see what we can do. If we do not take the risk then nothing will happen and the global problem set will increase rather than diminish. Please join us.

Send an email with your interest and a brief outline of the skills, talents and experience you bring to the table to george@facilitation.net  and we will get back to you.


Adrian Hosford has a background in marketing, brands and communication working as a Director for BT and as a non-executive director in the NHS. He is Chair of Moodscope and the Communication Trust and a trustee of a children’s communication charity. George Oakham has worked with a number of private and public companies, charities and confidential clients across Europe, the Americas and the Far East. He has been facilitating for over 30 years.

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