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.L Booth Sweeney October
,21 2010 UWEX
Complex Systems & Focused Solutions
Roll Your Sleeves Up
and Try It!
Today
WORKING WITH SYSTEMS:
• EXPERIENCE SYSTEMS MAKE-OVERS
AND SYSTEMS CONVERSATIONS
Learning Goals
Learning Goals
Unders...
When we understand systems,
we…
Get off the problem-solving treadmill
Make more informed decisions
Move beyond laundry lis...
Let’s think about Joe Teen.
What does he think when
buys a Coke?
Fossil FuelsManufacturing Global warming
Burning fossil fuels contributes to global warming.
Weather
patterns
Environmental
catastrophes
Destroy
Infrastructure
More environmental disasters, more infrastructure destr...
$$ spent on
Infrastructure
improvements
QuickTime™ and a
TIFF (Uncompressed) decompressor
are needed to see this picture.
...
Buying a Coke then is a very serious matter…
QuickTime™ and a
TIFF (Uncompressed) decompressor
are needed to see this pict...
Systems Thinking Focuses on FEEDBACK to describe
the interconnections and dynamics in the system
An open-loop, linear view...
Systems Thinking Focuses on FEEDBACK to describe
the interconnections and dynamics in the system
An open-loop, linear view...
Balancing Feedback: Predator/Prey
Number of wolves
Number of rabbits
B
Population
Time
Reinforcing Feedback: Population Growth
Number of births
R
population
IllustrativePopulation
years1960 1980 2000
2. Name the key
elements
3. Sketch the
trends
1. Describe the
challenge
5. Find
Leverage
5. Find
Leverage
4. Make
System V...
Applied Systems Thinking
2. Name the Key Elements
What are the important
drivers? Write these as
variables. Describe any
k...
Sometimes We Find “Leverage Points” -- Where Small
Actions Yield Large Results
“Maybe we should write that spot down.”
Applied Systems Thinking
1. Describe the
challenge
Adapted from the
Sustainability Institute
“Air quality in our town is g...
Systems Thinking Flow
2. Name the
key elements
1. Describe the
challenge
Adapted from the
Sustainability Institute
•Number...
Systems Thinking Flow
2. Name the
key elements
1. Describe the
challenge
Adapted from the
Sustainability Institute
•Number...
Applied Systems Thinking
2. Name Key
Elements
3. Sketch the
Trends
1. Describe the
challenge
Expected
future trend
Goal
Ye...
Applied Systems Thinking
2. Name Key
Elements
3. Sketch the
Trends
1. Describe the
challenge
4. Make the
System Visible
Ad...
Applied Systems Thinking
2. Name key
elements
3. Sketch the
trends
1. Describe the
challenge
5. Find
leverage
5. Find
leve...
2. Name the key
elements
3. Sketch the
trends
1. Describe the
challenge
5. Find
Leverage
5. Find
Leverage
4. Make
System V...
Options (using 6 steps):
1. Example from your work
2. Apply to this question:
How to expand the network of
sustainable com...
Complex Systems & Focused Solutions
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  • And help others to learn about and navigate the dynamic complex world around them.
    Take out some of the detail here…
    Frame this as LEARNING GOALS.
    キUnderstanding systems (living system principles)
    キTalking about systems (using journal entries, mental models, prod.convo, common language)
    キMaking systems visible (causal loop diagrams, animations, sims)
    Working with systems (6 steps)
  • Continue on from Pollan:
    The challenge is not just what we do with agriculture, it's connecting the dots between agriculture and public health, between agriculture and energy and climate change, agriculture and education.”
    Nicholas Georgescu-Roegen (Romanian born economist in 1979’s)
    Fred Soddy: 1921 Nobel Laureate in Chemistry
    DM: Systems thinking leads to another conclusionミhowever, waiting, shining, obvious as soon as we stop being blinded by the illusion of control. It says that there is plenty to do, of a different sort of "doing." The future can't be predicted, but it can be envisioned and brought lovingly into being. Systems can't be controlled, but they can be designed and redesigned. We can't surge forward with certainty into a world of no surprises, but we can expect surprises and learn from them and even profit from them.” (Dancing with Systems)
  • Coke made in factory, that burns fossil fuels and draws on and rapidly depleting ground water.
  • The chain of events from Coke to death was inspired by the work of Marion Brady.
  • Step one: write down your problem statement or vision statement around the commons you focused on Jaimie’s session. For ex. Air quality in our town is getting worse. What is driving this trend and what would address the problem over the coming years?
    OR: School staff morale seems to oscillate. How to even out cycles?
    2. Step 2: What are the important drivers of this problem? What are the related issues that need to be considered? Be open here… think of a lot of factors. You’ll narrow later. Write a list.
    3. Step 3: Draw BOT’s
    Quantitative data is ideal, but not necessary. Graph your best guess of the trend. In this step, pick 3-6 of the variables you listed in step 2, create BOT’s.
    Next: Redefine your problem: PICK ONE OR TWO GRAPHS. focusing in on one or two of the variables. Why is this (increasingly bad air quality, for ex.) over time? And what is our desired future?
    4. Step 4: systems map is a theory about why the BOT is behaving as it is. It is limited and bound by the variables you choose to focus on. When people (including you) want to add variables, ask yourself: Is this new factor a significant driver behind the trend in the BOT?
  • Transcript of "Complex Systems & Focused Solutions"

    1. 1. .L Booth Sweeney October ,21 2010 UWEX Complex Systems & Focused Solutions Roll Your Sleeves Up and Try It!
    2. 2. Today WORKING WITH SYSTEMS: • EXPERIENCE SYSTEMS MAKE-OVERS AND SYSTEMS CONVERSATIONS Learning Goals Learning Goals Understanding systems Making systems visible Working with systems Talking about Systems …developing systems literacy
    3. 3. When we understand systems, we… Get off the problem-solving treadmill Make more informed decisions Move beyond laundry lists and bullet points… to seeing patterns of interaction that more closely match the more interdependent, complex world we live in. Stop jumping to blame a single cause for the challenges we encounter… Instead, look for multiple causes, effects and unintended impacts “Solve for Pattern” Solving more than one problem at a time (at least three) while minimizing or eliminating the creation of new problems. -- Wendell Berry Give our attention to the whole and the parts
    4. 4. Let’s think about Joe Teen. What does he think when buys a Coke?
    5. 5. Fossil FuelsManufacturing Global warming Burning fossil fuels contributes to global warming.
    6. 6. Weather patterns Environmental catastrophes Destroy Infrastructure More environmental disasters, more infrastructure destruction.
    7. 7. $$ spent on Infrastructure improvements QuickTime™ and a TIFF (Uncompressed) decompressor are needed to see this picture. Less $$ available for health care Decline in healthcare increases fatality rates Less money available, decline in healthcare.
    8. 8. Buying a Coke then is a very serious matter… QuickTime™ and a TIFF (Uncompressed) decompressor are needed to see this picture. …one that requires an understanding of interconnections, dynamics, and systems.
    9. 9. Systems Thinking Focuses on FEEDBACK to describe the interconnections and dynamics in the system An open-loop, linear view asks: how should we react to the problem? Situation Goal Problem Decisions Results A systems view asks: What is causing the problem and how have our past decisions and actions been part of it? Situation Goal Problem Decisions Results
    10. 10. Systems Thinking Focuses on FEEDBACK to describe the interconnections and dynamics in the system An open-loop, linear view asks: how should we react to the problem? Situation Goal Problem Decisions Results A systems view asks: What is causing the problem and how have our past decisions and actions been part of it? Situation Goal Problem Decisions Results
    11. 11. Balancing Feedback: Predator/Prey Number of wolves Number of rabbits B Population Time
    12. 12. Reinforcing Feedback: Population Growth Number of births R population IllustrativePopulation years1960 1980 2000
    13. 13. 2. Name the key elements 3. Sketch the trends 1. Describe the challenge 5. Find Leverage 5. Find Leverage 4. Make System Visible 6. Share, Test & Improve 6. Share, Test & Improve Applied Systems Thinking
    14. 14. Applied Systems Thinking 2. Name the Key Elements What are the important drivers? Write these as variables. Describe any known direct causal connections. 3. Sketch the Trends Graph behavior over time of the issue(s). Does the pattern suggest any familiar structures? Archetypes? 1. Describe the Challenge & Related Vision What are we concerned about? What is happening over time? What is the future we want to see created? 6. Share, Test & Improve Get feedback from others. Find data. Perhaps use simulation modeling. Act and observe real world results. 6. Share, Test & Improve Get feedback from others. Find data. Perhaps use simulation modeling. Act and observe real world results. 5. Find Leverage What changes would lead to a more desirable behavior? What strategy could you use to achieve these changes? 5. Find Leverage What changes would lead to a more desirable behavior? What strategy could you use to achieve these changes? 4. Make the System Visible • Ask: What structure or set of relationships might be driving the behavior or interest? • Start with a key element • Add causes & consequences (option: connection circles) • Close feedback loops OR: • Start with a key feedback loop or an appropriate archetype structure • Add feedback as needed to explain the behavior
    15. 15. Sometimes We Find “Leverage Points” -- Where Small Actions Yield Large Results “Maybe we should write that spot down.”
    16. 16. Applied Systems Thinking 1. Describe the challenge Adapted from the Sustainability Institute “Air quality in our town is getting worse. What is driving this trend and what would address the problem over the coming years?”
    17. 17. Systems Thinking Flow 2. Name the key elements 1. Describe the challenge Adapted from the Sustainability Institute •Number of high-particulate days •Bad press •Attractiveness of region (in migration) •Population •Health problems (asthma rates) •Pressure for regulation •Regulation requiring scrubbers •Use of scrubbers
    18. 18. Systems Thinking Flow 2. Name the key elements 1. Describe the challenge Adapted from the Sustainability Institute •Number of high-particulate days •Bad press •Attractiveness of region (in migration) •Population •Health problems (asthma rates) •Pressure for regulation •Regulation requiring scrubbers •Use of scrubbers
    19. 19. Applied Systems Thinking 2. Name Key Elements 3. Sketch the Trends 1. Describe the challenge Expected future trend Goal Years 1980 2000 20101990 Observed past behavior history future Number of high particulate days per year
    20. 20. Applied Systems Thinking 2. Name Key Elements 3. Sketch the Trends 1. Describe the challenge 4. Make the System Visible Adapted from the Sustainability Institute
    21. 21. Applied Systems Thinking 2. Name key elements 3. Sketch the trends 1. Describe the challenge 5. Find leverage 5. Find leverage 4. Make the system visible Adapted from the Sustainability Institute
    22. 22. 2. Name the key elements 3. Sketch the trends 1. Describe the challenge 5. Find Leverage 5. Find Leverage 4. Make System Visible 6. Share, Test & Improve 6. Share, Test & Improve Applied Systems Thinking
    23. 23. Options (using 6 steps): 1. Example from your work 2. Apply to this question: How to expand the network of sustainable communities in Wisconsin? Try it yourself
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