Systems thinking

Systems thinking is a process by which we spark change by examining and reimagining existing
rules for how the world works. The process begins by looking beyond an immediate fix to a
longer-term transformation from the way systems work today to the way we hope they could work
in the future. In line with our approach to diversity, equity and inclusion, it’s a process of co-learning
that engages diverse actors coming from different perspectives within the system, who need to be
included in the outcome. This transformative process inevitably involves uncertainties and
unexpected twists and turns. One of the fundamental practices of systems thinking is self-reflection
– recognising that we are a part of the change and that we must be humble enough to realise that
we ourselves must constantly change, as well.

Systems thinking creates space for new perspectives to emerge and helps us grapple with inevitable
tradeoffs. At Unearthodox, systems thinking forms an underpinning pillar of our approach to
innovation, alongside co-creation and futures thinking. We integrate systems thinking into our
innovation life cycle of ideation, incubation and acceleration and constantly widen our networks and
viewpoints through co-creative convenings.


The Art of Systems Change (2019) lays out a vision for creating systems change in an increasingly
turbulent world. Written by a group of conservation practitioners including Melanie Ryan,
Unearthodox’s Director, the book kickstarted a critical discussion about how to create
transformational change.

The Craft of Systems Change (2022) is the second book in the series and builds on the original
concepts, introducing a guiding framework called the ‘Systems Journey’. Also co-authored by Melanie
Ryan and edited by Senior Editorial and Content Manager, Megan Eaves, the book presents practical
tools, tips and a process for changing the systems in which we live and work.

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