Published November 8, 2023 | Version v1
Project deliverable Open

Guidance document for Pilots on collaborative systems analysis approaches


Collaborative systems analysis approaches are needed for forward-looking adaptive multi-risk decision making for a variety of reasons, including (i) to avoid negative consequences when approaching problems through a sector-specific lens, (ii) to aid in the formulation of system-wide objectives that both recognize and balance the inherent trade-offs within our systems, (iii) to ensure a more equitable distribution of system-wide resources, costs and benefits, and (iv) to help reduce the potential for stakeholder conflict. In this light, the principal purpose of collaborative systems analysis approaches is to help describe decision-making contexts in all their complexity.

This brief report presents the findings of a literature review on promising tools and approaches for collaborative systems analysis before reflecting on these and proposing a flexible, generic approach to collaborative systems analysis to be applied in the Pilots considered in the MYRIAD-EU project. Many of the reviewed approaches/tools share similarities, and this review has identified five broad categories of tools/approaches: (1) those that provide a conceptual framework from which to approach systems analysis, (2) those that focus on the development of system causal relationships, (3) those the focus more exclusively on system interdependencies, (4) those that serve primarily as visualization tools and can be combined with approaches from categories 1-3, (5) other approaches that do not fit into either of the above categories and do not generate conceptual system models.

We conclude that approaches that permit complete systems analyses offer the most promising reference points for the approach to be applied in MYRIAD-EU. Here we refer to the broad series of approaches and tools that support the mapping of different system components and their interlinkages. These offer the benefits of effectively visualizing the key system functions and relationships (thereby improving (shared) system understanding), while also being geared towards supporting decision making.

Given these findings, we propose a collaborative multi-sector, multi-risk system analysis approach that is intended to satisfy the following requirements:

  • It is capable of representing the holistic, integrated system and its key functions, risks, and opportunities.
  • It highlights the key interdependencies and interactions between system components, including all feedbacks, trade-offs, and synergies.
  • It generates a common, shared understanding of the integrated system and its objectives among Pilot stakeholders.
  • It serves to prioritize key system functions, objectives, constraints, risks, and opportunities.
  • It is flexible to the needs of the various Pilots and can encompass the incorporation of various supporting tools and approaches with which Pilot Leads are comfortable.

The proposed approach consists of the following three principal iterative steps:

  1. Define system boundaries and constraints
  2. Undertake sector-based analyses
  3. Synthesise sector-based analyses into a whole-of-system analysis

Methods and tools are also proposed for each of the steps, however, these are to be treated as suggestions only. Pilot Leads are welcome to apply alternative methods and tools which they believe could assist in yielding the necessary information to define integrated decision contexts for their systems. To increase the usability of the material presented in this report, it is expected that its contents will be discussed with Pilot Leads in a dedicated meeting after its submission and prior to the first round of Pilot Workshops planned in months 13-15 (Sep-Nov 2022) within WP3. Moreover, the collaborative multi-sector, multi-risk system analysis approach described in this report will be further updated to incorporate insights and lessons learned from the experiences gained during these workshops.


D6.2 Guidance document for Pilots on collaborative systems analysis approaches_final.pdf