Author Archives: Sjon van ’t Hof

About Sjon van ’t Hof

Development professional who worked in rural development, tropical agriculture, and irrigation development in Chad, Zambia, Mali, Ghana, Mauritania, Israel, Burkina Faso, Niger, and the Netherlands in capacities ranging from project design and management to information management. Conducted missions to India, China, Kenya, and Bangladesh. Experience in the development and delivery of trainings in irrigation equipment selection, information literacy, Internet searching and database searching. Explores systems thinking in relation to international development, education, and management, with an ever stronger focus on the systems approach of C. West Churchman. Knowledgeable in tropical agriculture, project design and development economics, agricultural mechanization, irrigation, plant pathology, environmental degradation and protection, rural development. Co-authored "Wicked Solutions: a systems approach to complex problems", a book written by Bob Williams and Sjon van 't Hof. It was published in June 2014 and provides a practical way of dealing with wicked problems. Wicked problems are complex, ill-structured, human problem situations. This book will help you design an inquiry and intervention in such messy, wicked situations. It does so by guiding you through the steps and stages of a systemic process that addresses your own wicked problem. For more information, see or

Notes to video interview with Churchman

In one of my last blog posts I added a link to my transcript of a two-hour video interview with C. West Churchman, a well-known American systems philosopher. I said that the interview could serve as an introduction to Churchman’s … Continue reading

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Climate change and the systems approach

Yesterday morning (July 11, 2018) I read an interview (sorry, in Dutch) with René ten Bos in Trouw, a Dutch newspaper, about the Dutch Climate Agreement of July 10, 2018. It contained a couple of references to the private sector … Continue reading

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C. West Churchman: a biographical concept map

Biographical summary      Churchman was born in Philadelphia (1) from Catholic parents in 1913. He was educated at Germantown Friends School in the Quaker tradition (2). As a freshman at the University of Pennsylvania he was taught ethics (3) … Continue reading

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Full transcription of 2-hour video interview with C. West Churchman

Two days ago I posted a partial transcription of a 2-hour video interview with C. West Churchman. Today I completed the full transcription, so here it is, in PDF format (updated July 6, 2018). The interview can serve as an introduction … Continue reading

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Transcript of interview with Churchman, part I

I like the interview so much (see previous post with links to the 1987 video) that I decided to produce a transcription and perhaps add a few notes. Here are the first 30 minutes. Over the next days or weeks I … Continue reading

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Interview with C. West Churchman (video)

As far as soft or social systems thinking is concerned, the Big Three are – alphabetically – Ackoff, Checkland and Churchman. Searches for ‘Ackoff’ or ‘Peter Checkland’ in YouTube get you a number of hits with presentations. C. West Churchman … Continue reading

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Linear and non-linear causality

Systems thinking and the nature of reality Complexity Labs         In my last post I made use of a concept map of linear management, which I had made in January 2013. It was fairly neat and simple and all that with … Continue reading

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