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Systems Thinking Incubator

Systems thinking is essential to better understand the behaviour of financial markets, the funding of defined benefit plans and the impact of efforts to curb global warming.

Systems thinking is a holistic discipline, seeking to understand linkages between actors in a system. The various systems thinking techniques approach problems in a different way, but have in common a sense that the answer will not be found in a single static equation. Instead it might be a series of insights as to the stability of systems under different interventions by the actors in them.

Systems thinking is particularly important to actuaries because there are a number of important behaviours which emerge from the collective actions of agents in the financial system that cannot be understood without a wider view of linkages between those agents.

The Resource and Environment Board wants actuaries to take the lead in adopting systems thinking approaches, becoming professional advisers with greater awareness of the systemic impacts of their work, and of the impact of system dynamics on their clients and employers.

On 30 September 2016 the IFoA Sustainability Research & CPD Committee hosted a Systems Thinking Workshop to explore the importance of systems thinking and how to incorporate it more widely in actuarial practice. Following on from the success of the workshop, the Systems Thinking Incubator was established. 

The Systems Thinking Incubator has a role influence the wider IFoA to develop and incorporate thinking around systems as well has helping to develop and promote the approach itself. 

Systems Thinking Presentations:

Chair Ashok Gupta
Membership 7
Established 2017



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Events calendar

  • The Growth Mindset for Actuaries

    13 October 2021 - 8 December 2021

    Fully booked.

    This practical course is aimed at actuaries at any stage of their career who want to develop their own growth mindset and apply it to their work setting and personal or professional lifelong learning. The content of the course builds on the lecture given by Dr Helen Wright on Growth Mindset as part of the President’s 2021 Lecture series, and will be delivered over a period of 2 months, from mid-October to early December.

  • Spaces available

    In this webinar, we will discuss how cause-of-death data from the Office for National Statistics can help us to understand how inequalities arise at the all-cause level. The key to understanding mortality inequality is to think about the chain that connects risk factors, relative risks, and cause-of-death mortality through to all-cause mortality.

  • Spaces available

    The importance of biodiversity for finance, business and policy is being increasingly recognised. While many studies highlight the overall economic impact that biodiversity loss could have, it is much more difficult to quantify and understand the particular impact that is may have on individual businesses or communities. The management and measurement of these risks is a field where actuaries are well placed to contribute.

  • Spaces available

    The climate crisis and the degradation of our planet will affect societies everywhere. How we address these threats will require solutions that transcend borders. As a global profession, the actuarial community is well-placed to consider and propose effective risk management solutions to help manage the climate crisis.

  • GIRO 2021 Webinar Series

    8 November 2021 - 19 November 2021
    Spaces available

    Join leading experts to discuss key issues, emerging ideas and new research across the general insurance sector.

  • Life 2021 Webinar Series

    22 November 2021 - 26 November 2021
    Spaces available

    Join leading experts to discuss key issues, emerging ideas, and new research across the Life insurance sector.

  • Spaces available

    Content will be aimed at all actuaries looking to understand the issues surrounding mental health in insurance and in particular those looking to ensure products and processes widen access for, and are most useful to, those experiencing periods of poor mental health.