Action experiments: system change in action

07 August 2017

"System thinking begins when you first see the world through the eyes of another."  -  C. West Churchman, Systems Scientist


How do we become a part of the change we want to see?

If you saw our latest snapshot you may remember it featured a process called "action experiment". This method is being used across Golden Key (by the Service Coordinator Team, System Change Group, Programme Team and others) to explore the above question.


What is an action experiment?

Here’s a brief outline of the process:

  • Find a topic (an issue, problem or barrier within a system). What is it you really want to learn or change?
  • Aspiration. Identify how you want it to be different.
  • Question and inquire. Reflect on the topic. It’s important to have an approach which is inquisitive, open minded, and is describing (not defining) – “what are my assumptions?”
  • What can you do? Identify what you want to find out and look into where you as an individual can influence the systems in relation to the block. This might be very small.
  • Change the way you act, and test the system - what happens?
  • Notice what happens and reflect on this. Based on these observations you may want to continue by beginning a related action experiment or break down the topic to help identify smaller action experiments.


"… be inquisitive… start small… keep your aim simple… work through conversation and relationship…"  -  Martin Sandbrook, Schumacher Institute



View our latest snapshot here: Snapshot July 2017

Action experiments

action experiments

action experiments