If you are new to systems thinking, then we suggest starting with either Donella Meadows book Thinking in systems or Systems Thinking the Basics: From Concepts to Causal Loops.

SiG Knowledge Hub has developed a section on Systems Thinking within the context of Social Innovation.  

Tim Draimin is the Executive Director of Social Innovation Generation (SiG) has also written two very informative blogs on Systems Thinking and Social Innovation. See links below. 

The Social Innovator’s Guide to Systems Thinking: Realizing the Ultimate Impact of Community-based Innovations

The Social Innovator’s Guide to Systems Thinking Part II: Rules for Innovators Leveraging Bigger Change

You may want to also visit the Waters Foundation website, they have done a lot of work on bringing Systems Thinking into schools.

Applied Systems thinking website

Academy for Systemic Change

Kumu is also an interesting website if you are interested in drawing systems. Click here. 

Resources for Modeling Systems 

The Systems Dynamics Society is a good place to see how other people use system dynamics and modeling.

A good introductory book on modeling systems is Andrew Ford’s – Modeling the Environment.

Some of the theory

Checkland, P. (1999). Soft Systems Methodology: a thirty year retrospective.

Daellenbach, H. (2001). Hard or, soft or problem structuring methods, critical systems thinking: A primer. Presented at the Proceedings of the ORSNZ Conference Twenty ….

Gunderson, L., & Holling, C. S. (Eds.). (2002). Panarchy : understanding transformations in systems of humans and nature. Island Press, 507.

Jackson, M. C. (2000). Systems Approaches to Management. Springer.

McDaniel, R. R., & Driebe, D. J. (2005). Uncertainty and Surprise in Complex Systems. Springer.

Meadows, D. H. (2009). Thinking in systems.

Midgley, G., Munlo, I., & Brown, M. (1998). The Theory and Practice of Boundary Critique.

Patton, M. Q. (2006). Evaluation for the way we work. Nonprofit Quarterly, 13, 28–33.

Ramage, M., & Shipp, K. (2009). Systems Thinkers. Springer.

Shaw, D. P. (2009). Changing Conversations in Organizations: A Complexity Approach to Change (Complexity and Emergence in Organizations) (1st ed.). HarperBusiness. Retrieved from

Stacey, R. D. (2010). Complexity and organizational reality. Taylor & Francis.

Sterman, J. D. (2010). Does formal system dynamics training improve people’s understanding of accumulation? System Dynamics Review, 26(4), 316–334.

Sweeney, L. B., & Meadows, D. (2010). The Systems Thinking Playbook. Chelsea Green Publishing Company.

Tsoukas, H., & Hatch, M. J. (2001). Complex thinking, complex practice: The case for a narrative approach to organizational complexity. Human Relations.

Weinberg, G. M., & Wiley, J. (1975). An introduction to general systems thinking.

Westley, F., Patton, M. Q., & Zimmerman, B. (2007). Getting to maybe: How the world is changed. Random House of Canada Ltd.