This week, I received notification that I have been awarded a PhD – the first piece of official correspondence I have received to Dr Helen Wilding. On the one hand this is very exciting, but it also feels a little bit of an anti-climax. As I was updating various online profiles today with start date of 2013 and end date of 2021, I realised that for a good part of the last 15 months or so I have been ‘waiting’ for my PhD, rather than ‘working’ on it.
People have a variety of different experiences that lead them to take up the formal study of systems thinking in practice. They also have different imagined trajectories moving forward. This is one of the aspects of diversity that makes it so interesting to teach and learn systems thinking in practice. But it can also be a bit of a challenge, not just for those with formal teaching responsibilities and for all of us who are learning with, and from, others in a community of systems practitioners. How do we all act and interact in a way that accommodates and facilitates different ‘inward’ and potential ‘onward’ trajectories? Continue reading
In the last few days, I have been in an email exchange with some other PhD students about literature review. The conversation made me realise how much my understandings of what this is have changed over the course of my PhD journey as I have drawn on both my tradition of systems thinking and literature about literature review.
Like many people, I have been shocked at the problems created by panic buying of food supplies. But I’ll also confess I have perhaps followed it more than others because my brother (Prof Richard Wilding) is a supply chain specialist and is being interviewed and quoted on the problems.
Whilst there are the really extreme cases that we see of people buying up (sometimes with a view to sell on) huge volumes of in-demand products, I suspect that everyone is putting a little bit more in their shopping baskets. All these small changes do add up – they add up to empty shelves and less supplies for those who can only shop weekly due to finances and/or ability to carry or store large volumes of food.
So what should I do? Should I adapt my food shopping for an uncertain world, and if so what is reasonable and ethical?
I’ve realised that I can’t adapt unless I examine what I do now – how do I go about managing the larder (including fridge and freezer)? Or, what do I do when I do what I do? Continue reading
I have had an email from wordpress which means I have to re-vamp my theme in order to keep a mobile version. It’s made me think about my relationship with my blog and how I want to relate to it in the future. It’s probably a good point to think about this. It’s nearly 10 years since I set it up and whilst I used it loads between 2010 and 2012 to help me understand my learning on MSc Systems thinking in practice, I haven’t posted as much since then. In fact, I haven’t posted for over a year now.
My blog doesn’t get a massive number of visitors, but in the last couple of days I’ve noticed an increase in hits on some of my oldest blogs – the first ones I did as I studiously studied Tu812 Managing systemic change. Today’s busiest post – Taking a design turn in my systems practice – was written on 16 January 2011. That means that at this time in 2010 going into 2011 I was just grappling with the idea of the design turn for the first time. It was ‘that winter’, the one with really really heavy snow. I remember gazing out the window as slabs of snow slid down from the roof, enjoying the distraction from reading about the juggling balls and design turns.
In the last few weeks I’ve been appointed as an associate lecturer (aka tutor) for the Open University. I am going to be tutoring on TU811 “Thinking strategically: systems approaches for managing change” which I studied myself back in 2010. My studying of TU811 preceded the launch of Just Practicing so I may end up blogging about the approaches as I re-discover the module materials – backfilling a gap in this blog!
Since I’ve been appointed I’ve been on induction – induction at a distance given that it is the OU. It’s involved reading and watching short video clips about my duties and responsibilities, trying to master the ‘tech’ I will need to use, and, becoming familiar with procedures and resources.
I’ve realised that I am entering into a new (to me) ‘community of practice’ – Continue reading
I had a great day on Friday – once again I had a rare opportunity to come together with other OU Systems Thinking in Practice alumni/students and with the course team and tutors. I’ll put aside the topic of the get together for now, needs more digesting. But I wanted to reflect on something that happened in the social spaces – the number of times other people mentioned this blog and my blogging activity.
Every so often in this blog I have marked a ‘key event’ in the flux of events unfolding through time that collectively make up my learning/development journey. These transition points have often marked a change in the type of posts I write and why I am writing them. This is one of those posts…as I am about to embark on a new phase of ‘temporary purposeful activity’ in my learning.
Just after Christmas I made the decision to apply to do a Professional Doctorate in Public Health with University of Lancaster. And in the last couple of weeks I have been offered a place and accepted it. It starts with a residential week in June (with some pre and post work) then in September it gets going again. As a professional doctorate it is ‘distance learning’ and designed to be done alongside having a job. In essence the first two years are ‘taught’ with a curriculum covering public health theory/policy/practice and research skills/methods then from year three you start a work-based research project leading to a 35,000 word Thesis. Gulp.
So why? what motivated me to do this? what is my purpose?
I just noticed on my dashboard that I have written 99 posts, so had an urge to mark the 100th one.
In some ways it is also my first post with the status of “I am no longer an OU MSc Systems Thinking in Practice student”. So, that is another thing to mark to. Continue reading