We learn systems by changing them

It is only possible to come to an understanding of a system of interest by trying to change it. Michael C. Jackson explains Kurt Lewin’s work, in Critical Systems Thinking Here, Jackson contrasts action research with old-style hard science, which tries to study a system from the outside. Laboratories draw a line between experiment and…

Read More

Reinforcing Loops can change the world

Do you have a favorite animal, one that you keep unwrapping? For Chelsea it’s owls. Years ago, a coworker gave Chelsea a little owl to say thanks. It sat on her desk until everyone learned that she likes owls, and years later people are still giving her owls. She keeps them, because they’re gifts, not…

Read More

Pattern: Circular Causality

It goes all the way back to Aristotle: nothing may cause itself. Cause must happen before effect. Since 300 BC our brains have trained on linear causality. And Newton: an object will stay at rest unless acted on by an external force. We think this is what causality is: a force leading to a change.…

Read More