By Geoff Marlow
The book “Thinking In Systems: A Primer” by Donella (Dana) Meadows (2008) offers a useful entry point into systems thinking via seven lessons.
Lesson 1: Systems are always more than the sum of their parts
Feedback loops are pivotal, as is looking beyond the players to the underlying rules of the game.
Meadows (p. 13) offers guidance as to “whether you are looking at a system or just a bunch of stuff:
- Can you identify parts? . . . and
- Do the parts affect each other? . . . and
- Do the parts together produce an effect that is different from the effect of each part on its own? . . . and perhaps
- Does the effect, the behavior over time, persist in a variety of circumstances?”