The NXplorers programme is divided into three stages and combines systems thinking, scenario planning and theory of change methodologies.

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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.

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Perspectives Circle

People have different views or perspectives on issues, whether local or global. This tool helps you to think about your own and others’ viewpoints, giving you a better understanding of the bigger picture.

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Confidence Triangle

This tool helps you to think about issues at a deeper level. It helps you become aware of bias, interpretation and the motivation of others. By investigating sources of information you can see how things are related and how multiple agents have a part to play.

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Causal Loops

This tool encourages you to think about the nature of relationships in a complex dynamic system. It helps to uncover how the different components in a system influence each other. Mapping out these connections enables you to see how changing one thing might impact on many others.

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Connections Circle

This tool helps you to think about direct and indirect relationships between factors connected to the issue you are investigating. It encourages you to think about the boundaries and scope of the issue and helps you identify the points that are likely to have the biggest leverage. You may uncover causes and effects that you had not previously considered.

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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.

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Change-over-time Graph

A change-over-time graph is a way of identifying trends. The information they show can be used to make projections of probable future scenarios. This tool helps you to consider the potential impact on people, the environment and events should current trends continue.

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Scenario Planning Quadrant

This tool can help you to think about a number of possible futures as you create and explore different scenarios. It helps you to consider the positive and negative features - social, economic, environmental and technical - of your projected scenarios. It can also help you to start identifying a preferred future.

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The SCAMPER tool helps you to generate and improve your ideas for a preferred future. It helps you to play with possibilities as you explore different ways to enhance or improve your initial idea.

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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.

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Feasibility Funnel

The feasibility funnel helps you to identify how ideas can become reality. It can help you make decisions based on the money, time and expertise available and to consider whether the change is scaleable.

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'If...Then...' Chain

Creating an ‘if… then…’ chain helps you to explain the rationale behind your action plan. It makes you look more deeply at the connections between the stages and steps in your action plan helping you to get the sequence right.

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Persuasion Pyramid

This tool can help you think about how to communicate with others to influence your intended change. It helps you identify the kind of support you will need from potential sponsors or advocates, and makes you more aware of your own assumptions as you seek to persuade others that your positive change plan is worth considering.

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Ripple Effect

This tool can help you to think about the consequences of your actions. It also helps you to think about the cause and effect of actions, to reflect on their root causes and to see how one small action can have multiple positive and negative effects.

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Compass Tool

The compass tool helps you to create an action plan. It helps you to set goals, identify activities and to think about the things that might help or hinder the change you want to make.

It encourages you to anticipate the things that might put your plan at risk or find the things that will enable it to happen. It can also be used to review progress, helping you to stay on track with your action plan.

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