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Systems are ubiquitous. From our devices and networks to our social constructs, we are surrounded by complexity and its accompanying difficulties. For students of policy, these intricacies are familiar, and often accompany what Cornell professors Derek and Laura Cabrera have termed “wicked problems.”

The articles in this edition are written by thirteen Fellows of the Cornell Institute for Public Affairs (CIPA). For seven weeks, they probed the wicked problems most important to them. From tiger management in India to social services in Texas, the following deconstructions of complexity are as diverse as they are profound.  With guidance from Dr. and Dr. Cabrera, CIPA Fellows have been exposed to an intellectual process all policy students and practitioners should envy.

This edition is prefaced with an introduction to systems thinking by Dr. and Dr. Cabrera, and is followed by their students’ articles and TED-style talks.

The Cornell Policy Review is proud to present this special edition on systems thinking. We hope you will consider applying the process to your own wicked problems in public policy and beyond.

-E.R. Schultz, Editor in Chief


Learning Systems Thinking at the Graduate Level

Land Tenure Security for Urban Poor in India: A Systems Thinking Approach

Understanding the Struggles of Small Coffee Producers in Chiapas: A Systems Thinking Approach

Approaching the Enrollment Problem in South Punjab through Systems Thinking

Turning Over Turnover: Thinking Systemically about Worker Retention in Texas’ Child Protective Services

Examining Enumeration of Tigers in India through a Systems Thinking Approach

What Are We Trying To Say? A Systems Thinking Approach to the Debate about “Free Speech” on Police Vehicles in the U.S.

Using Systems Thinking to Understand City Economic Competitiveness and its Connection with Workforce Development Involvement

Addressing the Problem of Voter Turnout: An Application of Systems Thinking

Cornell Policy Review

Written by Cornell Policy Review

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