By SDXer Angela Coutinho

Recently, I was listening to an interview with Ester Perel, a psychotherapist and relationship expert who said, “the quality of our relationships determines the quality of our lives”…and I wondered: could the quality of relationships in a system also be a way to understand that system?

Origins of a Systems Thinker

I’ve known and been curious about systems thinking for a long time, but found it difficult to understand or wrap my head around it. My first exposure to systems thinking was at a public lecture I attended at the University of Waterloo. At the time, I was working as a technical writer in a software development company located right by the campus. This was way back when, in 2008, and since then I have been fascinated by the ideas and theories of system thinking, complex systems, and social innovation. Working in software development, there was lots of focus on technical research, development, and innovation…but the whole idea of the “social” was foreign to me. …


By SDXer Corey Sullivan

Consensus rarely yields breakthrough change. Embracing, rather than resolving, tension is at the core of our systems-change practice.
— InWithForward

In early September, SDXers came together to learn from InWithForward, a social design organization that helps communities evolve their human services. The InWithForward team facilitated participants’ exploration of tension (check out some resources here).

Defining Tension

When designers and communities attempt to unpack complex issues, they bring — often unconsciously — their values to the table. …


By SDXer Susan Holdsworth

On September 4, 2019, Systemic Design eXchange (SDX) hosted a full-day workshop about Living with Tension led by Dr. Sarah Schulman and Natalie Napier from InWithForward (IWF), a social design organization.

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Peeling back the layers of tension.

We all live with tension. Tension at home, at work, and out in our communities. We are often in an uncomfortable space between where we are now and where we want to be. We might feel torn or conflicted about how to deal with our tensions; we might want to resolve the tension, adapt to the tension, or we might just accept the tension, and keep on keeping on. …

About

Systemic Design eXchange

Systemic Design eXchange: We are a community of practice co-convened by Alberta CoLab & the Skills Society Action Lab. skillssociety.ca/projects/sdx/

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