Systems Sensing and Systemic Constellation for Organizational Transformation

Building Collective Capacity for Navigating Complexity


  • Luea Ritter Collective Transitions
  • Nancy Zamierowski Collective Transitions



systems thinking, systems sensing, systemic constellations, social change, organizational development, complexity


This paper examines how a systems sensing—or felt-sense—approach and orientation to inquiry and systemic constellation practice might help social change organizations cultivate capacities to better navigate complexity, both in their outer-facing work and internal dynamics as teams and as individuals. We present a pilot study of systemic constellation practice, sharing the experience of participants during and after the practice, as well as our own reflexive process. Currently an undertheorized and underutilized approach within systems thinking work, systems sensing and systemic constellation, can reveal less visible but nevertheless foundational dynamics at play in an organizational body, and can help create more awareness through widening ways of knowing in the organizational playground. We explore how the facilitated collective sense-making process of systemic constellation engages subtle ways of knowing specifically energetic, relational, and embodied knowing, building on what Heron and Reason (2008) have called an “extended epistemology.” As we suggest, these more subtle ways of knowing warrant further study, particularly as they may contribute to action research methods and foster a more participatory culture of transformation at both an organizational and societal level.

Author Biographies

Luea Ritter, Collective Transitions

Luea Ritter thrives within ambiguity and complexity, and through a diverse medley of work fields has developed a high sensitivity for context-based cultural and social dynamics. Her work weaves transformative change processes, trauma and healing work, leadership and organizational development, community building, and earth-based wisdom traditions to cultivate and maintain capacities in individuals and collectives. Luea is co-founder and creative steward of Collective Transitions, an action-learning and research organization dedicated to building shared capacity for transformational shifts; co-founder and steering team member of the Nile Journeys, a platform for transboundary dialogue and regenerative collaboration in the Nile Basin, and is part of collaboratio helvetica, an initiative that catalyzes systemic change towards the societal transformation of Switzerland by cultivating a cross-sector innovation ecosystem. Pursuing a cutting-edge research-to-innovation PHD Process for Holistic Development, with the Geneva-based TRANS4M Center for Integral Development, she researches social fields and the building and maintaining of coherence.

Nancy Zamierowski, Collective Transitions

Nancy Zamierowski is passionate about making the invisible valuable and improving upon the “how” of working together. She serves as co-founder and creative architect of Collective Transitions, an action-learning and research organization dedicated to building shared capacity for transformational shifts. Nancy is also an advisor and steward to several social innovation projects, and a social entrepreneur, co-founding two social purpose organizations, including a participatory online marketplace for global farmers and a conservation organization which cultivates local capacity to protect and restore forest frontiers. She holds an MBA in Sustainable Systems from Pinchot University in Seattle. 


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How to Cite

Ritter, L., & Zamierowski, N. (2021). Systems Sensing and Systemic Constellation for Organizational Transformation: Building Collective Capacity for Navigating Complexity. Journal of Awareness-Based Systems Change, 1(2), 101–115.