Open Studio

What is the Open Studio?

The Open Studio consists of hour-long Zoom meeting sessions led by Waters Center staff. Each session will examine a different topic through a systems thinking lens. Just like our in-person workshops, sessions will be interactive and include opportunities for dialogue among participants. So be prepared to have your web camera on and to connect with other systems thinkers from around the world!

Do I need to know about systems thinking to attend?

Each Open Studio session will cater to everyone from a seasoned systems thinker to a beginner. However, we do recommend signing up to the Thinking Tools Studio and exploring the various courses and resources available in addition to the Habits of a Systems Thinker prior to sessions when possible.

Are Open Studio Sessions free?

Yes! We are happy to offer these sessions free of charge. Donations are always appreciated to help us continue our efforts to openly share our resources — no amount is too little.

How do I sign up?

To register for Open Studio sessions, visit the Thinking Tools Studio. Please note, you will need to register for the Thinking Tools Studio to sign up for a session. Registration will open for sessions on a rolling basis (typically one-week prior to the session occurring).

Register Now

Upcoming Sessions:



June 4, 9 am PDT and 3 pm PDT – Habits of a Systems Thinker: Still the One

Have you purchased your new set of Habits of a Systems Thinker cards? Whether or not you have a physical set of the new Habits cards, you are no doubt enjoying the refreshed images! Each card tells a unique story that adds meaning to the Habit and allows us to personally connect with that Habit as an individual. Our Habits cards may have undergone a refresh this spring, but they are “still the one.” Meaning the one thing that allows us to define systems thinking as a tangible set of actions anyone can take to develop quality thinking. As systems thinkers, we know that our experiences impact what we choose to pay attention to. With eight weeks of Open Studio Sessions as a part of our collective experience, let’s look back at what we have learned during this time and how our current reality has grown our understanding of the Habits. Attendance at prior Open Studios is not required. Session will be suitable for individuals at all stages of their Habits journey.



June 11, 9 am PDT and 3 pm PDT – Parents Edition: Systems Thinking for Students at Home

Parenting is a huge job. You are responsible for providing for your child’s physical needs, financial stability, emotional support, the right amount of family fun and then add to all that ensuring that they are creative problem solvers with excellent communication skills who apply self regulation and develop executive function… and you might just be ready to throw in the towel! Have no fear. Systems thinking strategies and Habits can have a direct impact on cognitive development. The very tools and Habits that you put into practice can be adapted to support thinkers of all ages, from birth on up. This Open Studio will take a look at systems thinking from a parents lens and will include specific ideas for using systems thinking in your very important role as a parent.



June 18, 9 am PDT and 3 pm PDT – Building Bridges and Breaking Down Silos: How Iowa is building systems thinking capacity in Early Childhood Leaders

Listen in and interact with state early childhood leaders sharing their experiences about the impact of systems thinking on their leadership work. Topics will include how they got started, cross sector partnership development, the value of group mapping and other visual tools, leverage actions for sustainable results and leadership development at all levels. This session will feature some inspiring leaders and their stories of impact, and invite Studio participants to interact and connect with their own examples, experiences and questions about systems thinking approaches to impactful change.



Check back later for additional events!