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SYSTEMIC INTERVENTION: Multi-Agency, Stakeholder-Engaged System Change

In this seminar, Gerald Midgley will discuss the systemic intervention methodology that he has been developing for over thirty years. This is useful for tackling really difficult organizational, social and environmental problems – especially when we need to get multiple organizations pulling together on system change. It is also helpful when we want to put the voices of communities, stakeholders or service users at the centre of planning, policy-making, evaluation or organizational design.

Gerald will focus on key aspects of his systemic intervention methodology, such as the need for critical reflection on ethical and boundary judgements, and the value of mixing methods from a wide variety of sources to ensure that intervention is flexible and responsive to stakeholders’ concerns.

The methodology will then be illustrated with a detailed case study of an intervention conducted in Central Manchester (UK), in which children and a variety of agencies developed new ideas to support young people missing from home or care. Gerald will describe how systemic intervention seeks out and amplifies the voices of marginalised stakeholders (in this case, homeless children). He will also explain the value of mixing a variety of methods to promote co-operation and mutual learning in a situation where getting a commitment to change from all the agencies was highly problematic.

While the case study in this talk is about the design of new services for homeless children, this is purely illustrative: the methodology has been used to tackle a wide range of social and ecological issues involving people in the public, private, voluntary and community sectors. Some of projects tackling these issues have involved the resolution of decades-long stakeholder conflicts. In the question and answer session at the end of the talk, Gerald will draw upon some of these other project examples, as and when they are relevant.

If, after the presentation, you are interested in talking about how systemic intervention might be useful for tackling a difficult issue that you or your organization is involved with, Gerald and his colleagues at Linnaeus University would be pleased to arrange a follow-up discussion of the possibilities. There will be time to register your interest in a follow-up meeting at the end of the seminar.

For those wanting to read more about systemic intervention prior to the seminar, you might like to have a look at Gerald Midgley’s book—Systemic Intervention: Philosophy, Methodology, and Practice(Kluwer/Plenum, New York). This not only contains details of the methodology, but also presents four case studies of practice, including the one to be discussed in this seminar.

The Zoom-link is: https://lnu-se.zoom.us/j/62265557447


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About Gerald Midgley

Gerald Midgley is Professor of Systems Thinking in the Centre for Systems Studies, Faculty of Business, Law and Politics, University of Hull, UK. He also holds Adjunct Professorships at Linnaeus University, Sweden, among several other universities around the world. Gerald has written over 300 papers for academics and practitioners on systems thinking and community operational research, and has been involved in a wide variety of public sector, community development, health service, technology foresight and resource management projects. He was the 2013/14 President of the International Society for the Systems Sciences, and has written or edited twelve books.