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Systems Practice Workbook

This resource walks you through a systems practice, and describes process phases (Launch, Gain Clarity, Find Leverage, Act Strategically, and Learn and Adapt) and methods for guiding the practice.
This resource has been developed in collaboration with teams across The Omidyar Group. This workbook aims to fill the gap between the promise of a systems approach for making social change and putting it into practice. It was created alongside curriculum as part of a paid course.
For each method, results, actions, difficulty, time estimation, and tips are included.

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Follow the Rabbit: A Field Guide to Systemic Design

This Field Guide is a systems take on typical design thinking methodology. It demonstrates how to design something with a greater emphasis on creativity and humour. The Guide goes through a systemic design project from concept to implementation. It takes you through the workshop planning process, and discusses workshop roles and client relations. In the FAQs, you’ll find explanations to some commonly asked questions about systemic design concepts to help you introduce others to SD and bring them along with you. It contains descriptions of 17 different methods, including pros, cons,and considerations of each.

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A Field Guide to Ethnographic Experiential Futures

Ethnographic Experiential Futures, is a protocol for surfacing and documenting existing images of the future. It combines Ethnographic futures research, EFR, a protocol for surfacing and documenting existing images of the future. Experiential futures, XF, is a family of approaches for vivid multisensory, transmedia, and diegetic representations of images of the future. The hybrid approach puts together two modes of futures research and practice in a step-by-step guide. Its intent is to help groups develop a future-oriented mindset.
Familiarity with futures and foresight methods is strongly recommended.

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Innovation Tool Kit: A practical guide: Introduction to horizon scanning in the public sector

A part of the Australian Public Sector Innovation Toolkit, this provides guidance on what horizon scanning is and how to do it. It includes assessments, checklists, and specialised information about techniques.

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Scenario Exploration System (SES)

The Scenario Exploration System (SES) is a serious game for future simulation (2035 and 2050). It involves participants exploring their long-term objectives in contrasting scenario-related contexts while interacting with other stakeholders. By creating a realistic journey towards the future, the SES generates a safe space to simulate possible responses connected to any issue of interest to the participants.
There are two editions: "Sustainable Transitions" and "Food Safety and Nutrition Challenges."

Thinking Big: How to Use Theory of Change for Systems Change

This report identifies five common pitfalls that organisations fall into when using theory of change, and walks through five rules of thumb that will help organisations to use the approach to tackle complex problems. The report includes case studies demonstrating these pitfalls and rules of thumb in practice.

Discipline or Practice

Systems Change

Polak Game

Over a dozen years of use to date, the game represents an accessible approach to introducing "images of the future" as a basic property of both cultures and individuals, and can be used as an introduction for more advanced futures and foresight tools and frameworks. It provides a structure for facilitating conversation among groups of participants and intended for groups. Duration is flexible, but typically runs 30-60 minutes. The resource provides step-by-step guidance for how to run the game as well as the reasoning for how the game has evolved.

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Public Sector Innovation Toolkit

Toolkit developed by the Australian central government, this resource offers 28 pieces of guidance, methods, or techniques for different stages of an organisational innovation lifecycle.
The resource includes an Innovation Diagnostic to get a snapshot on which phase of the innovation cycle an agency might need to focus on.

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There may be zombies: A Field Guide to Strategic Foresight

This Field Guide is designed to support new-to-foresight practitioners in incorporating future thinking and foresight into everyday projects. In addition to describing methods (including purpose, pros, cons and considerations for each), it also provides guidance on how to advocate for a foresight related project or approach in your organistion, cultivate a futures/foresight mindset, and build a team.
The ""zombies" referenced represent an unexpected and unlikely event for humanity. Stories about the potential of a zombie apocalypse prepare us for a new world full of uncertainty and risk.

Publisher

Alberta CoLab

Discipline or Practice

Strategic Design

Futures and Foresight

Basic BASIC:
Allows reuse

Service Innovation Handbook

14 methods and 3 recipes suggesting how to combine them, associated with a guide book available for sale by the toolkit publisher.
Accompanying each method: Purpose, Outcomes, How to do it, and Tips as well as a worked example, to help readers understand how the method and associated template can be used at the early stage of designing an innovative service.

Publisher

Lucy Kimbell

Discipline or Practice

Service Design

Regime Change Canvas

This canvas is a strategic design tool for developing descriptive models of transformative futures. It asks users to name the logics stabilizing the dominant regime — and then imagine how such logics might stabilize an alternative in terms of narratives, goals, core values, governance & practices, and physical inputs.
Requires email address in exchange for download.

Publisher

Howard Silverman

Discipline or Practice

Futures and Foresight

Strategic Design

Features

Exploring Policy Innovation: Tools, Techniques & Approaches

This resource is an introductory description of a paradigmatic shift in public policy-making from traditional methods to new, innovative approaches. This includes a whole-of-government approach, a refocus on the user, an embrace of complexity, pro-activeness, and collaboration. It describes 7 opportunity areas for innovation in the traditional policy-making process.

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Can be remixed

Cultural Change Impact Framework

This resource includes a framework, basic guidance and canvas for use in mapping and assessing organisational readiness and capacity development, designing and developing assessment criteria for capacity-building, facilitating strategic dialogue, supporting and assessing the impact of innovation teams and labs, and enabling structured focus on what elements should be prioritised in capacity-building efforts as well as for case production and knowledge sharing.

Publisher

Nesta

Discipline or Practice

Organisational Design

Champion CHAMPION:
Can be remixed

Ethical OS Toolkit

The resource contains tools for visualizing and anticipating future risk of technology products, acknowledging that once technology is released and reaches scale it may be used for purposes beyond the original intention. The toolkit contains foresight methods, including 14 scenarios, for kicking off important conversations with product teams--including examples of current signals of future trends. It also contains a Risk Mitigation Manual with 8 risk
zones where hard-to anticipate
and unwelcome consequences are most likely to emerge. Finally, it contains 7 suggested strategies for future-proofing.

Impact: A Foresight Game

IMPACT: A Foresight Game is a serious board game that teaches you to think critically and imaginatively about emerging technology and the future of society.
It's goals for players:
/ Learn the basics of futures thinking including some of the key terminology
/ Learn about the latest advances in science and technology (neurotech, nanotech, artificial intelligence, IoT, biotech, robotics)
/ Practice thinking about how these emerging technologies could evolve and the various ways they could influence society

The game is best played with 3-6 players and lasts 60-90 minutes.
Cost: $65

Knowledge creation and collective sense-making workshop

The author provides step-by-step guidance on how to conduct a short term strategic planning workshop based on knowledge management and contextualisation frameworks used by the private company Cognitive Edge. The publisher's suggests that it can be used to conduct pre-hypothesis research project to understand a complex problem. The outputs are comprehensive sets of cultural indicators, knowledge objects (comprising both codified and experiential knowledge artefacts), and large volumes of tangible suggestions to address complex issues. Another key objective of these processes is to increase the levels of interaction and dialogue between key stakeholders whether internal to an organisation or external, thereby establishing new social networks, or increasing the cohesiveness of existing social networks. Previous experience with the Cognitive Edge frameworks and methods is helpful when approaching this resource.

UNDP Foresight Manual

This manual introduces strategic foresight as a practice in the context of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. It was created with consideration for the resource constraints in developing country contexts, so proposes light-touch and low-cost methods. However, it could easily be applied elsewhere.
The manual features a selection of methods and techniques suited for framing development or policy discussions, but there are many methods and techniques available that are considered part of foresight and futures analysis. These span the gamut from long-term processes and quantitative data collection/analysis to participatory workshops and qualitative assessment of narratives.
It includes a review of different methods, including usage, strengths, challenges and examples of each in practice.

Basic BASIC:
Allows reuse

A Handbook for the Experiment Co-Creation Platform

The Experiment Co-Creation Platform (ECP) is a model for collaboration and experimenting dedicated in delivering sustainable solutions to wicked urban problems.
The ECP model was developed and prototyped by Demos Helsinki. In the model, cities, higher education institutions and non-academic collaborators such as companies and foundations together define a desirable shared vision to work towards to as well as identify the challenges preventing the vision from happening. Research-based teams develop their research and solutions to the identified challenges through experimenting in a real-life urban setting and support from experts of various fields. The goal is to increase teams’ technology readiness level (TRL) from TRL4 “technology validated in a lab” to TRL5 “technology validated in a relevant environment” and create a premise for feasible, scalable solutions that work in practice.
The resource provides

Publisher

Demos Helsinki

Discipline or Practice

Design

Basic BASIC:
Allows reuse

Game of Life 2050

The Game of Life 2050 draws on scenarios for a sustainable European society in 2050. It is an interactive board game in which players consider four scenarios that describe the radical changes needed to be living within key environmental boundaries by 2050.
The game takes a minimum of 2 hours to run (ideally 4 hours) and involves 5-7 actors (each played by one person or in pairs) and one Games Master.
Play consists of three ‘rounds’ in which actors are given a set of circumstances that have unfolded at 10, 20 and 30 years into the timeline, and must decide from a range of options how they will respond.
Game materials and guidebook are both available for download.

Champion CHAMPION:
Can be remixed

Playbook for Strategic and Foresight Innovation

This resource contains a method library and playbook for commonly used strategic foresight tools, organised by a guiding framework of five planning phases (perspective, opportunity, solution, team, and vision). While it does contain the tools themselves, the resource also contains extensive guidance on each method, including overall guidance, examples, instructions, insights, tips, and tool templates. It also contains overall guiding principles, underlying theories, and considerations for using and sequencing the methods as an integrated methodology. This resource is extensive but organised and navigable. It is oriented toward a growth-focused private sector context but can be adapted for use in the public sector. The resource can be downloaded for free or purchased as a physical copy.

Sustainable Livelihoods Approach: A Toolkit for Wales

The Sustainable Livelihoods Approach (SLA) is a method of analysing and changing the lives of people experiencing poverty and disadvantage. It is a participatory approach based on the recognition that all people have abilities and assets that can be developed to help them improve their lives.
The SLA Toolkit For Wales provides practical tools to help people with participatory community development. The toolkit describes what the SLA approach is and how it can be used. The appendices then contain all the specific tools for undertaking SLA work, as well as a range of monitoring templates that can be used to track an individual or family progress using the approach.

Hero HERO:
Editable source files available

IoT Service Kit

The IoT Service Kit is a board game that brings domain experts out of their silos to co-create user-centric IoT experiences. The Kit consists of three major components: maps, tokens and cards, which can be downloaded and printed/3D printed. It includes source content on GitHub as well. Its stated goals: achieve mutual understanding, stay tangible, and make complex simple. It is best for those who have some understanding of service design processes and principles as well as IoT technologies.

Publisher

Futurice

Discipline or Practice

Service Design

Digital transformation

Champion CHAMPION:
Can be remixed

Systems Mythology Toolkit

This toolkit was developed to help us cope with the rapidly changing world, such as global networks and autonomous drone fleets—that have never existed before. The publishers suggest that we need new stories and new mythologies to tell us how these things fit into our lives and make sense of these transformations.
The toolkit contains a card deck exploring different colored "archetypes" or ways of making meaning and each includes different ways of understanding Interactions, Environments, Symbols,Design, Perspectives, and Voice.

Basic BASIC:
Allows reuse

The Thing From The Future

This resource is an imagination game that challenges players to collaboratively and competitively describe objects from a range of alternative futures. The object of the game is to come up with the most entertaining and thought-provoking descriptions of hypothetical objects from different near-, medium-, and long-term futures. The card deck can be downloaded and printed and contains cards, instructions, playsheets, and blank cards that you can customize with your own content. The website also contains suggested ways to play the game as well as examples.

Publisher

Situation Lab

Discipline or Practice

Futures and Foresight

Features

Basic BASIC:
Allows reuse

Sonar

A tool to help cities and public administrations better orient and diagnose themselves regarding their innovation profile and maturity.
The tool includes a self-analysis quiz, a map to help navigate concepts and trends and compose your a custom menu. It also includes guidance for setting an innovation strategy.
Sonar comes in the form of a newspaper printed in A2 format that can be used in a group setting . This resource is available in French.

Signal Spotter Starter Kit

This is a starter kit covering signal spotting, or detecting early signs of change in several fields: Technology, Policy, Business model, Citizen action, Research finding, Design, Application, Idea / innovation. The online resource includes video guidance, examples of signals in the different fields, and exercises for practice with signal spotting. It also includes exercises for signal spotting in one's own context.

Champion CHAMPION:
Can be remixed

Ethics & Algorithms Toolkit

The goal of this resource is to elicit conversation, encourage risk evaluation as a team, and catalyze proactive mitigation strategy planning around algorithm use in the public sector. It includes assessments and worksheets for assessing algorithm risk and managing algorithm risk. The publishers assume users have an understanding of their data and a basic understanding of algorithms.

Discipline or Practice

Open Government

Digital transformation

Features

Champion CHAMPION:
Can be remixed

Liberating Structures

Liberating Structures is a web resource that includes a collection of 33 results-oriented collaboration patterns have been developed and refined through field testing over a 10+ year period in a variety of sectors including healthcare and business.
They are intended to complement conventional practices for organisational design and strategy design. They are designed to be used in an inclusive collaborative setting.
Associated books (for sale) and video guidance is available to assist those getting started with this approach.

Culture Map

A tool that organizations can use to assess, map and transform their cultures. It is intended at a group activity to guide conversations around outcomes, behaviours, and enablers/blockers. The website also contains guidance for its use. It is intended for a private sector context but non-financial "outcomes" can also be considered when using it in the public sector.

Publisher

xplane

Discipline or Practice

Organisational Design

Catalyzing public sector innovation

This resource covers five key roles in a public innovation ecosystem: Problem Solver, Enabler, Motivator, Convener, and Integrator. For public administrations wanting to make an impact on a societal challenge, it helps identify where to start, and how the administration fits in with other actors already focused on the same or similar challenges. By understanding which of these five roles to assume when launching an initiative, organisations may be able to more effectively deploy their resources, partner with other organizations, and reduce redundancies. The resource is based on an examination of innovation initiatives in the United States, but may be applied elsewhere.

Assessing Innovation Potential for Social Impact

The resource is intended for those working in the international development or social impact space to assesses the future impact that innovation can deliver in a system. It focuses on three "systems": The Problem Space, The Innovation Space, The Context.
It's goals are to precipitate better understanding of the problem of focus and the context in which it exists, assess enablers and barriers
to innovation, track system change over time, and assess the impact of a program ex post facto. It includes tools and methods organised into different possible "journeys" that define overall related activities, resources, user values and timelines.

Champion CHAMPION:
Can be remixed

The Intelligence Augmentation Design Toolkit

There is a free and paid version of this toolkit and an associated workshop offered by the publishers. The free version of the kit provides tools to structure your thinking when designing a service that includes machine learning elements. The core idea is that you first describe a user journey in a physical or digital space, and then use the materials from the kit to brainstorm service concepts in that space.
The core materials include:
- A booklet summarising key concepts for designing IA services, and a glossary of common machine learning terms
- Two canvases for summarising the service concept
- Three card decks that describe important elements of IA service design
- A map, showing the setting for the service concept

Publisher

Futurice

Discipline or Practice

Digital transformation

Basic BASIC:
Allows reuse

A Wayfinder’s Guide to Systems Transformation: 18 insights for catalysts and convenors

This is a report from the Workshop ‘How might we approach transformational change for complex challenges in the future?’, held in London 30-31 August 2017. It provides 18 insights and considerations for playing the enabler, catalyst, and convenor roles in creating a mindset of long-termism.

Discipline or Practice

Systems Change

Champion CHAMPION:
Can be remixed

Tool Compendium for Victoria Australia

This is a tool compendium created specifically for participants of a programme in Victoria, Australia. It is a PDF containing an organised selection of the key tools used during the sessions.
It is divided into two sections:
1. ‘tools for experimental problem solving’ and aligns with both the publisher's Experimental Continuum and Six Principles for exploring the unobvious.
2. ‘tools for setting the conditions’, which looks beyond the project challenge to other factors that can impede innovation if not addressed simultaneously, e.g. team dynamics, communication and environment.

Champion CHAMPION:
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Actionable Futures Toolkit

This resource is a modular set of tools (10 methods in 3 phases) that can be run in various ways, from a general tool to discover and ideate futures into a premeditated, repeated and ever-focusing exercise to build a vision on one or more lines of work. The resource can also be used to bring transparency and alignment to any organization through repeated exercises. It consists of three types of tools: Worldbuilding, Predictive Analysis and the Optimal Futures. The authors also suggest a process that includes a Setting Up and Follow-up steps. The resource is tailored for group work. The publishers suggest using it in diverse groups around 6-10 people and run as round robin — meaning at the end of canvas, each group presents their findings briefly, and continues to work on the next canvas / topic. The publishers suggest that all parts can be executed over a long intensive day, or over several days session, one task each day. The website also includes facilitation tips for each phase. The resource is oriented toward private sector but could be adapted for use in a public sector context. The toolkit itself is free to download in exchange for your email.

Champion CHAMPION:
Can be remixed

Living Futures: Scenario Kit

Living Futures: Scenario Kit is a design tool for understanding, discussing, and shaping the future. It consists of four alternative versions of year 2050 explored through narrated stories from future citizens, themed analyses, and other media files, as well as a set of design tools that puts the scenarios to work. The kit can be used to future proof business models, develop new strategy, and understand and discuss important trends and developments in the present.

The kit is flexible and can be useful in these situations:
1) Identify new opportunities - Discovering and mapping new ways forward, developing new concepts and ideas for strategies, products, or services
2) Wind tunnel ideas - Testing hypotheses about the future like strategies or business models
3) Discuss the future - Kickstarting fruitful discussions in a team or with diverse groups of stakeholders

Discipline or Practice

Futures and Foresight

Hero HERO:
Editable source files available

Our Futures

Our Futures is a game for discovering new ways of engaging the public in thinking about alternative futures. The basic premise of Our Futures is that participants are randomly offered a series of constraints by drawing cards and rolling a dice, which serve as a primer for imagining a participatory futures activity. The game is played either with a group of individuals competing against each other or in teams in 30-75 minutes. The game has three different gameplay models of varying scope and complexity. The resource includes a printable card deck, game board, instructions booklet, and video explanation. The editable materials are also available on Github.

Challenge-led system mapping, A knowledge management approach

The handbook follows a co-design logic in terms of process, principles and practical tools to support practitioners in the design and implementation of system mapping processes by highlighting the knowledge management component. This resource provides rationale and guidance on the challenge-led system mapping approach, including facilitation guidance for running mapping workshops.
This resource helps mapping practitioners:
• visualise the diversity of innovation projects as a manageable set of clusters;
• mediate and facilitate a dialogue on priority setting and opportunities for innovation amongst multiple stakeholders;
• identify priorities for financial and political support;
• replicate projects in new contexts or connect them with other innovation initiatives;
• embed projects in a wider system to then scale up and foster transformation;
• create a space protected from external pressures and biases
The resource includes tips and tricks as well as examples of how this method has been used in practice.

Champion CHAMPION:
Can be remixed

New Metaphors: A Creative Toolkit for Generating Ideas and Reframing Problems

This resource is a generative tool for creating new metaphors to help understand the world in new ways, reframe problems, generate new ideas, and imagine different futures.

New Metaphors has been developed by the Imaginaries Lab, a design research studio based at Carnegie Mellon University, and working internationally. New Metaphors is a set of 150 cards and a number of simple, fun workshop formats which enable idea generation and new ways of thinking about issues creatively, from specific problems within an interaction design or UX team or organisational context. The entire resource, including cards, worksheets, and introduction booklet, can be downloaded and the website includes additional guidance as well as a metaphor auto-generator.

The publishers intend for this resource to be applied and used in real situations, whether by designers or by anyone looking to reframe ideas or generate new approaches.

Publisher

Dan Lockton

Discipline or Practice

Design

Strategic Design

Features

Video guidance

Champion CHAMPION:
Can be remixed

Futuremaker’s toolbox

This toolbox is a guide for shaping the future and developing organisational operations. It guides users through how to build an organisation’s future capability to ready it to deal with new phenomena. It guides users through all the steps of building a vision and for viewing, interpreting or shaping futures. It contains three phases: Trends and Signals, Interpretation and choices, and Shaping futures. Each tool includes step-by-step guidance and downloadable resources.

Publisher

Finland"

Discipline or Practice

Futures and Foresight

Champion CHAMPION:
Can be remixed

Strategic Futurist Tools and Frameworks

This resource contains 11 frameworks and methods used by the Future Today Institute, including:
The FTI Forecasting Model
How To Think About Time
Identifying Key Stakeholders
Assumptions vs Knowledge
CIPHER
Axes of Uncertainty
Scenario Planning Guide and Templates
Four Laws of Tech Trends
11 Macro Sources of Disruption
Velocity of Change: Calculation Guide
Futures States

Each resource includes guidance and instructions on its use.

Discipline or Practice

Futures and Foresight

Features

DEFTECH The Transition Game

The transition game is an adapted version of “Le jeu de la transition” developed by the French Think Tank FING (Fondation Internet Nouvelle Génération) and adapted to a national defence environment, covering topical areas such as cyber and information warfare, man-machine teaming, and situational awareness and reconnaissance.

It guides groups through several steps:
1) Think about how different context factors and "internal tensions" shape today's state (ordering principles, norms, tensions, etc.),
2) How future trends, innovations and initiatives transform today's state, including chances and opportunities, and which actors play a role, and,
3) Describe how the story of transition can be told from today's situation to the implementation of a new solution in a possible future state

The output stories may take different forms, including text or comics, but is up to the facilitator to define. The resource is available as an Excel file that automatically populates a Transition Graph based on inputs. According to the publisher, the ideal parameters for the workshop are groups of 7-10 individuals and about 4 hours. The website also includes rules for moderators and example outputs.

Uncertain Times

Uncertain Times is a set of tools for navigating uncertainty, harnessing curiosity, and maintaining mental wellbeing on a day-to-day basis. The kit is targeted towards individuals to guide personal reflection and consists of three parts: a set of cards, a workbook, and a weekly planner. The resource is inspired by Dancing at the Edge, by Graham Leicester and Maureen o’Hara and explores the behaviours and competencies required to deal with challenges that the 21st Century is throwing at people.

Champion CHAMPION:
Can be remixed

Futures Frequency

Futures Frequency is a workshop method for groups of 8–20 people. This website provides tools for facilitating the workshop either online or in person. There are videos that introduce each theme and the facilitator’s handbook includes detailed steps for facilitating the group assignments.

Futures Frequency was developed by Sitra based on input from a development team in various fields. It's purpose is to increase participants’ ability to envisage different futures and take action towards the realisation of a preferred future. The workshop method is intended for use by anyone.

Futures Frequency can be adapted to the needs of various kinds of groups. The publisher suggests possible incorporation of megatrends to bring more depth, weak signals to add context, or other methods from their accompanying Futuremaker’s toolbox.

The resource includes a facilitators handbook with detailed instructions for each stage of the workshop and scripts for the facilitator’s spoken parts. The resource also includes materials to run the workshop, including a slide deck and online whiteboard tool template. The toolkit is available in English and Finnish.

Publisher

Discipline or Practice

Futures and Foresight