Taking systems thinking practice to a new level

Benjamin P. Taylor
3 min readMar 23, 2022

Everyone from the United Nations to the OECD to old bastions of management thinking like Harvard Business review recognises that systems hinking and handling complexity are the key skills for the future.

Can these skills — which are so core to innovation — be formalised? Professionalised?

Can they support formal careers? Should they?

At SCiO — Systems and Complexity in Organisation, we began a journey many years ago with the creation of professional standards.

The latest culmination of this is… amazing!

We’re supplying world-class systems practitioner-tutors and supporting curriculum and approach for Cherith Simmons Learning and Development who provide the Level 7 Systems Thinking Practitioner Apprenticeship.

For those in England and Wales, this opens up the potential of this two-and-a-half year, day release, post-graduate qualification with government funding of up to £18,000 per person, fully supported by expert tutors, comprehensive learning materials, and a learning management system that actually supports learning.

There are many risks and issues with professionalising a field, of which we are well aware.

This is a practice-based, portfolio assessed programme which draws on core systems approaches and practice skills, where you’ll be supported in your job to actually put the learning into practice right away — and evaluated on how you do so, and how you build in continual learning.

I think it’s a real breakthrough — and just the start of a new phase of creating more and more serious systems practitioners, more and more recognition — and more impact on real human challenges.

What could you do with a recognised system thinking practitioner qualification, and support from world-class experts to take your work to the next level?

What would be your first project?

To explore, see https://mailchi.mp/cherithsimmons/scio-systems-thinking-apprenticeship

Other apprenticeship providers are available — this is only part of the start of much wider professional capability development.

And if you aren’t eligible for post-graduate adult apprenticeships in UK and Wales, don’t worry! Both Cherith Simmons and SCiO direct will be offering versions of the core training from the apprenticeship much more widely — you can also seek professional accreditation from SCiO for your portfolio of systems practice work: https://systemspractice.org/page/scio-competency-framework-professional-qualification