Panel 17. How does system thinking enable cross-sector partnerships to strategize?

This panel is linked to a special issue in the journal NJAS: Impact in Agricultural and Life Sciences

Taking empirically rich case studies as starting point, the panel examines in what ways system thinking offers space for partnerships to move forward and inform their deliberations about how to deal with shocks and disturbances. We invite both researchers and practitioners to submit case studies to enrich our understanding of how cross-sector partnerships navigate. The panel will be a joint exploration of how system thinking can translate into relevant diagnostic or deliberative practices. System thinking entails drawing functional and spatial boundaries, mapping multiple causal pathways, recognizing contingencies and emergent outcomes, detecting properties that make systems resilient and/or transformative, and discovering where to intervene in the system and identifying leverage points. The contributors are encouraged to explore possible synergies with, for example, paradoxical or design thinking. In addition, we consider it relevant to find ways to incorporate materiality, things, space, and time into the understanding of system dynamics and how these are navigated by collaborative practices. We hope to create a spirit of community and strive to work towards forward-looking propositions that connect different modes of thinking to hands-on decision-making in cross-sector collaborations.

The panel aims to organise an interactive discussion, most likely inspired by short pitches based on real-life empirical examples. Contributions can:

  • Focus on methodological issues of system thinking informing the deliberation processes.
  • Identify the effects or implications of system thinking for collaborative action.
  • Connect system thinking to different modes of thinking, for example, paradoxical or design thinking, and how this contributes to hands-on decision-making in cross-sector collaborations.
  • Present in-depth description of deliberation and strategizing processes in cross-sector collaboration using system thinking in finding responses to shocks or disturbances.

When submitting a case study, please indicate context (in terms of specific shocks or disturbances), the actors adn the form of the cross-sector collaboration, your relation to the collaboration, and opportunities to feedback the discussion to practices that conserve, disrupt or reinvent the ways systems work.