SCIO Common Interest Groups (CIGs)

Common Interest Groups (CIGs) form a strand of SCiO activity integral to developing and disseminating systems practice. CIGs are a recognition that learning how to BE a systems thinker, as well as how to DO systems thinking, requires more than just training; it benefits from reflective conversations in a safe environment with people who are grappling with similar challenges, are willing to share their own experiences and test others’ ideas. CIGs can also create Outreach groups that go beyond SCiO’s membership, to expand the scope of systems practice and grow SCiO membership and participation.

Any SCiO member can start a CIG and only full members can join, unless it’s an Outreach CIG. The stimulus for creating a CIG can be emerging awareness of a shared interest, a desire to develop learning as a group, or to reach out to other disciplines such as project management or functional domains such as healthcare. Each CIG must have a named lead who takes responsibility for the CIG and liaises with the Outreach Director on progress. CIGs are free to organise as needed, supported by a set of guidelines for operation.

Upon formation, an open invitation to join may be issued through SCiO communication channels, and founders may also target individuals or organisations. Open membership encourages cross-fertilisation and diversity of thought, promotes fairness, and equality of opportunity to participate, but should be balanced with considerations around creating an atmosphere of trust and security. Action Learning has been found to be a good approach for running groups, and development sessions can be run on this topic for people wishing to learn more about it.

CIGs that work best meet face-to-face, are geographically co-located, and close to new members after initial meetings to enable progress without time taken for re-iteration of earlier discussions. Successful CIGs may also wish to share knowledge and experience with the SCiO community through newsletters and Open Days. 

Managing a CIG

  1. At least two SCiO members are required to formally set up a CIG. The stimulus for creating a CIG may be emerging awareness of a shared interest, a desire to continue developing learning as a group after SCiO PDP activity, or a desire to explore systems practice opportunities in a new domain.

  2. The members will agree how the group will operate and the degree of formality, including the level of commitment and participation required of CIG members..

  3. Each CIG should maintain a statement/charter, describing its terms of reference and objectives.

  4. Agree how members of CIG will communicate with each other (e.g. LinkedIn Group, meetings) and what confidentiality principles should be applied.

  5. Agree how the CIG will make decisions (e.g. how/when to bring in new people, optimum size of group, what activities the group will do)

  6. Appoint one member to act as main point of contact with SCiO members and the board

  7. Make requests to the SCiO board about type of support needed for CIG to function healthily (e.g. online facilities, knowledge about running CIGS, SCiO procedures)

  8. CIGs are not commercial ventures; if these develop as a result of a CIG they become separate entities outside the SCiO family and are not eligible for SCiO support.

  9. At least one member of a CIG should take a role of checking group dynamics and intervening by making observations such as “I am observing that… 

Each member will be expected to:

  1. Take responsibility for co-­‐creating a friendly, enjoyable and productive environment, that is supportive and constructively challenging, and in which people can think and express themselves.
  2. Be open to others perspectives and ideas, and to listen to others fully.
  3. Be open to exploring and questioning their own assumptions, prejudices and ways of thinking
  4. Share ideas, thoughts and ask questions in a way that develops and opens up discussion and ideas.
  5. Refrain from pursuing personal agendas which are not in the interest of the wider group.
  6. Treat all members fairly and with respect; following SCiO grievance procedures if unavoidable.