Dancing with Systems

Donella Meadows (1941-2001) wrote Thinking in Systems, a fun-fast introduction to understanding complexity, feedback loops, time delays, and the patterns that they create. An excerpt-essay called "Dancing with Systems" suggests a list of practices to ponder:

  1. Get the beat.
  2. Listen to the wisdom of the system.
  3. Expose your mental models to the open air.
  4. Stay humble. Stay a learner.
  5. Honor and protect information.
  6. Locate responsibility in the system.
  7. Make feedback policies for feedback systems.
  8. Pay attention to what is important, not just what is quantifiable.
  9. Go for the good of the whole.
  10. Expand time horizons.
  11. Expand thought horizons.
  12. Expand the boundary of caring.
  13. Celebrate complexity.
  14. Hold fast to the goal of goodness.

The essay ends:

... And so we are brought to the gap between understanding and implementation. Systems thinking by itself cannot bridge that gap. But it can lead us to the edge of what analysis can do and then point beyond—to what can and must be done by the human spirit.

(for various versions of "Dancing with Systems" see [1], [2], [3], [4], and cf Thinking in Systems (2017-11-03), ...) - ^z - 2019-06-21