Idea Almanac

“In order to tell a systems story, people need to make three shifts:
• From seeing just their part of the system to seeing more of the whole system—including why and how it currently operates as well as what is being done to change it.
• From hoping that others will change to seeing how they can first change themselves.
• From focusing on individual events (crises, fires) to understanding and redesigning the deeper system structures that give rise to these events.”

Excerpt From: David Peter Stroh. “Systems Thinking For Social Change: A Practical Guide to Solving Complex Problems, Avoiding Unintended Consequences, and Achieving Lasting Results.”

Idea Almanac

“Mental models” are deeply ingrained assumptions, generalizations, or even pictures or images that influence how we understand the world and how we take action. Very often, we are not consciously aware of our mental models or the effects they have on our behavior. For example, we may notice that a co-worker dresses elegantly, and say to ourselves, “She’s a country club person.” About someone who dresses shabbily, we may feel, “He doesn’t care about what others think.” Mental models of what can or cannot be done in different management settings are no less deeply entrenched. Many insights into new markets or outmoded organizational practices fail to get put into practice because they conflict with powerful, tacit mental models.”

Excerpt From: Peter M Senge. “The Fifth Discipline: The Art and Practice of the Learning Organization: First Edition.”

Idea Almanac

“Growth in a constrained environment is very common, so common that systems thinkers call it the “limits-to-growth” archetype. (We’ll explore more archetypes—frequently found system structures that produce familiar behavior patterns—in Chapter Five.) Whenever we see a growing entity, whether it be a population, a corporation, a bank account, a rumor, an epidemic, or sales of a new product, we look for the reinforcing loops that are driving it and for the balancing loops that ultimately will constrain it. We know those balancing loops are there, even if they are not yet dominating the system’s behavior, because no real physical system can grow forever. Even a hot new product will saturate the market eventually. A chain reaction in a nuclear power plant or bomb will run out of fuel. A virus will run out of susceptible people to infect. An economy may be constrained by physical capital or monetary capital or labor or markets or management or resources or pollution.”

Excerpt From: Donella H. Meadows. “Thinking in Systems.”

Book Review

“The Fifth Discipline” by Peter M. Senge offers an insightful exploration into creating learning organizations through systems thinking, revealing how interconnected and holistic approaches can transform organizational learning and address inherent learning disabilities.