NXthinking offers a way to explore real-world problems and generate potential solutions. It encourages young people to:

  • be analytical and creative
  • dig beneath the surface
  • appreciate complexity and interrelated possible and preferred futures
  • think about what could be done differently to bring about positive change.

NXthinking takes many of its ideas from the disciplines of systems thinking, scenario planning and theory of change.

Integrating these approaches creates a new way of looking at global complexities, and shows young people how to approach the complex challenges the world faces, now and in the future.

Thinking about THE BIG PICTURE helps us to see beyond the pieces and can guide us to the multiple connections and relationships in a system.

Thinking about CONNECTIONS helps make complex problems and situations easier to understand.

Thinking about our PERSPECTIVES and the perspectives of others helps us understand systems and their effect on the world.

Thinking about the FUTURE helps us to see how we can act to create change in any situation.

Thinking about CHANGE helps us to consider the enablers and how we can overcome the barriers and inspire others in our ideas.

Explore Icon


A framework for seeing the bigger picture rather than seeing fragments, and understanding how the parts of the system interact.

Create Icon


Asks 'what if' questions to explore alternative views of the future and create plausible stories around them.

Change Icon


A methodology of thinking that imagines how and why a certain change is expected to happen.

NXplorers Toolkit

NXplorers is divided into three stages: Explore, Create and Change.

Explore Small

Create Small

Change Small


The first stage of the NXplorers programme is to Explore. Exploring enables you to discover what the issues are, what’s causing them and how you can find out more about them.

The Explore tools use systems thinking to examine issues in context, to dig beneath the surface of complex problems and to gain a good understanding of their root causes.

The tools will enable you to uncover hidden patterns, connections and interdependencies that might be part of the issue. Revealing these is crucial if you are to create sustainable solutions.


The second stage of the NXplorers programme is to Create. This is the stage where you consider what the future would be if nothing changed. You will also start to think about the actions that could bring about positive change and what the preferred future is.

The Create tools show you how to use scenario planning to plot a variety of possible futures. Scenario planning helps you to look at current trends so that you can make sound predictions about the future and better decisions right now. This stage is important because the scenarios that emerge will inform your decisions about which actions or projects to implement. Having a clear vision of a preferred future allows you to take the steps needed to create it.


The third stage of the NXplorers programme is to Change. It is the stage where you consider what action needs to be taken to achieve the preferred future.

The Change tools are based on theory of change methodologies. They encourage you to collaborate with others and think critically about your ideas. They also help you plan for and action positive change, while inspiring others to do the same. Use them to create an action plan that will help you to track progress and see the difference you’re making.