The book Systems Concepts In Action : A Practitioner's Toolkit by Richard Hummelbrunner and Bob Williams is focused on the practical use of systems ideas. It describes 19 commonly used systems approaches, complete with case studies, variations and discussion of each approach's pros and cons. Each chapter begins with a set of questions that the particular method addresses.

You can find it on Amazon, or get it direction in various formats from Stanford University.

The methods are :

  • Causal Loop Diagrams
  • System Dynamics
  • Social Network Analysis
  • Outcome Mapping
  • Process Monitoring of Impacts
  • Strategic Assumption Surfacing and Testing
  • Strategic Area Assessment
  • The CDE Model
  • Assumption-Based Planning
  • Cynefin
  • Solution Focus
  • Viable System Model
  • Cultural Historical Activity Theory
  • Soft Systems Methodology
  • Dialectical Methods of Inquiry
  • Scenario Technique
  • Systemic Questioning
  • Circular Dialogues
  • Critical Systems Heuristics

Here are some of the nice things people have said about the book:

"The book promises and delivers: tested and practical methods for understanding and taking action in messy situations; inquiry approaches for describing, analysing, learning about, managing, and changing complex situations; a coherent systems framework for thinking and acting systemically. The authors compare 19 systems approaches, and do so comprehensively, insightfully, exquisitely." —Michael Quinn Patton, author of Developmental Evaluation: Applying Complexity Concepts to Enhance Innovation and Use

"This book presents well-written and accessible accounts of a variety of systems methods, methodologies, and models; a veritable treasure-trove from which the critical systems thinker can choose in constructing appropriate systemic responses to complex situations." —Michael C. Jackson, Hull University Business School

"This book is written for those who want to intervene in the world, but are aware that brute force methods often prove inappropriate—if not counterproductive. Systems Concepts in Action provides a toolbox of methods for harnessing systemic thinking to instigate custom tailored, creative solutions. If you ever felt that systems theory is abstract and non-instructive, then have a read!" —Wolfgang Hofkirchner, President, Bertalanffy Center for the Study of Systems Science, Vienna

"The book demonstrates convincingly that systems approaches to evaluation are more than 'spaghetti diagram' logic models. With clear introductions to many different approaches, and how they can be used for evaluation, it will be indispensable for evaluators and evaluation commissioners. It's bound to become dog-eared and shabby on my book shelf." —Patricia Rogers, Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology

"This book stands out as an invaluable, fresh, and practical guide to the use of systems concepts from two internationally recognised practitioners." —Martin Reynolds, The Open University