Ti Kouka Consulting services




System thinking

Strategic thinking

Stakeholder or community engagement


Executive and management mentoring

Professional supervision

Qualitative research: design and implementation

Design for positive practice change

Examples of services offered:

Systems thinking

Ti Kouka Consulting works with clients to identify critical interactions that will influence the design and success of their interventions.

Systems thinking encompasses a suite of tools to help clients take account of factors that could otherwise lead to unintended consequences. Systems thinking can be applied to organisations, groups, activities, products or services.

Typically, systems thinking highlights:

  • how various components of a system interact and influence each other

  • how an intervention or an organisation is usefully seen as a whole, rather than simply as the sum of all the parts

  • how to consider and influence the function and outcomes of the whole

  • how to take account of diverse perspectives and stakeholders in designing or improving an organisation, activity, product or service.

Graeme Nicholas is a very experienced systems thinking consultant and researcher.

His approach is to:

  • clarify the nature and dimensions of the system being worked on,

  • identify whose view and experience of the system to include,

  • take account of how power and influence are distributed and used, and

  • work out together what underlying values and beliefs give meaning to the system and its desired outcomes.

Clients have included government agencies, community organisations and individual leaders and managers. Projects have included public health systems, NGO strategy, systems for preventing family violence, social service delivery, community policing, wildfire prevention, and international development programmes.

Strategic thinking

Ti Kouka Consulting works with clients to map and discuss the bigger picture surrounding their decisions and planning. This ensures that decisions and plans are more robust because they are rooted in context.

We find that strategic thinking is more important and more powerful than strategic planning.

Strategic thinking is a commitment to see the present situation and decisions in the light of a bigger picture. That bigger picture is likely to include a realistic assessment of desired outcome, underlying assumptions, affected parties, required and available people, tools and resources, required and available expertise, and the prevailing and likely social and political context.

Design and facilitation of stakeholder and community engagement

Graeme designs and facilitates stakeholder and community engagement using systems thinking and methods that take account of diversity of views, experience, and power.

Engagement is more than consultation. Engagement ‘takes people with you’, but also ensures the right insights, experience and expertise are available to design and implement change. Some managers and organisations are nervous or reluctant to undertake engagement, but Ti Kouka Consulting offers experience and methods that deliver constructive outcomes.

Design and facilitation of collaboration

With Ti Kouka Consulting, Graeme designs and facilitates collaborative processes that enable people or organisations from differing perspectives to work together toward a shared goal. He understands collaboration as not what we do, but what happens when we do things in a certain way.

Graeme's expertise is grounding in extensive practical experience, and in research in collaborative processes around New Zealand that sought to improve waterways and water quality.

Executive and management mentoring

At Ti Kouka Consulting, Graeme Nicholas has several years of experience working with leaders and managers to support their reflections of their work and to help surface their insights. He brings his expertise in systems thinking, governance and psychotherapy to the service of clients.

Executive and management mentoring provides a safe opportunity to reflect on both the detail of one’s own performance and one’s perception of the big picture. Graeme’s approach provides a safe, non-judging, collegial context within which clients can recognise the subtle ways in which the framing of issues impacts on our perceptions and responses, and hence turn the mess of experience into personal and corporate learning.

Professional Supervision

At Ti Kouka Consulting, Graeme Nicholas brings twenty years’ experience to his work of Professional Supervision (PS), along with training in psychodynamic theory. He is a listener skilled in recognising unconscious processes influencing professional relationships, such as transference, countertransference and projection.

Professional Supervision is a contracted relationship with a skilled peer who provides a safe context to review aspects or episodes in a professional's practice. Because PS is outside the accountabilities of employment or professional oversight, PS can enable new perspective on material that might otherwise be thought to be embarrassing or threatening.

Qualitative research design and implementation

With more than 15 years of experience in designing and carrying out qualitative research, Graeme Nicholas has developed expertise in framing research questions, designing methodologies, selecting methods and interpreting findings. See Graeme's publications.

Designing for positive practice change

Graeme’s speciality as a researcher and consultant has been on understanding and influencing human practices. Practice is seen as a composite of how humans respond to situations, so understanding or influencing practice depends on identifying key factors in the situation. We often use an adaptation of social practice theory (Shove et al, 2012; Nicholas & Foote, 2020; Nicholas et al, 2020) to map out the constellation of competencies, material circumstances, how significance is attributed, and the social, economic and political influences.


Nicholas, G., & Foote, J. (2020). Interpreting practice: Producing practical wisdom from qualitative study of practitioner experience. International Journal of Social Research Methodology, DOI: 10.1080/13645579.2020.1799635. https://doi.org/10.1080/13645579.2020.1799635

Nicholas, G., Srinivasan, M., Beechener, S., Foote, J., Robson-Williams, M., & FitzHerbert, S. (2020). Transferring the impacts of pilot-scale studies to other scales: Understanding the role of non-biophysical factors using field-based irrigation studies. Agricultural Water Management, 233(30 April 2020), 106075. DOI:10.1016/j.agwat.2020.106075

Shove, E., Pantzar, M., & Watson, M. (2012). The dynamics of social practice: Everyday life and how it changes. Sage publications.

Back to Top  |  Back Home