I’ve been doing a lot of reading on systems’ thinking recently, following a phenomenal talk by Jabe Bloom that I randomly stumbled upon. Jabe’s talk led me to reading Ackoff’s “Re-creating the Corporation” which turned out to be a great read. I’m still digesting both Jabe’s talk and Ackoff’s book and hope to blog about both in the near future.
Meanwhile, I also finished reading Donella Meadows’ “Thinking in Systems – A Primer”. Overall, I was a little underwhelmed with the book. It helped me further my understanding of the field but not by as much as I thought it would. But the one part of the book that I found to be particularly useful and insightful is succinctly summarized in this Wikipedia entry:
As the name suggests, Meadows identified 12 leverage points to intervene in a system in order to change its behavior. The short-hand version of them, in order of increasing effectiveness is listed below:
- Stock-and-Flow Structures
- Balancing Feedback Loops
- Reinforcing Feedback Loops
- Information Flows
- Self Organization
- Transcending Paradigms
It’s an incredibly powerful cheat-sheet for driving behavior change and I look forward to using it in my future endeavors in that space.