Barbara Holtmann


Phd.Management of Technology and Innovation

Dr Barbara Holtmann developed the What it Looks Like When it’s Fixed systems model and methodology as an outcome of her doctoral thesis. Published in 2010, the methodology enables clarity of purpose and effective collaboration where there are many diverse stakeholder needs, views and inputs in a development or transformation setting. Drawing on international and local theory and practice, the methodology is a home-grown South African innovation, implemented solely by Social Transformation System (now Fixed), and used in a variety of complex settings.

Barbara has worked in community development and community safety for more than 20 years, with a focus on collective, collaborative action to solve complex social problems. She served as Project Director at Business Against Crime, where she designed, facilitated and implemented a model for Community Based Victim Support at 120 police stations in Gauteng. She spent the next two years as Chief Director Communications for the National Department of Safety and Security followed by 10 years leading a Research Group at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR). In 2010 Barbara founded Social Transformation System as a consulting firm to apply her insight into the complex social systems to a wide range of problem solving contexts.

Barbara achieved a Masters Degree in Public and Development Management (Wits 2003) and her PhD in Management of Technology and Innovation (Da Vinci Institute 2010), by thesis “A Strategy for a Safe South Africa”. Barbara is the President of the Board of Women in Cities International.


We talk a lot about stakeholders and everyone knows that partnerships are essential to success – our work is powerful because we’ve explored why its so difficult to turn that knowledge into practice. We help people see the mutual benefit in collaboration and guide them into partnerships that have respectful boundaries and integrity.


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