Dip into Systems Thinking

“We can’t impose our will on a system. We can listen to what the system tells us, and discover how its properties and our values can work together to bring forth something much better than could ever be produced by our will alone.”
― Donella H. Meadows, Thinking in Systems: A Primer

Systems thinking is a way of looking at the world; its challenges and its opportunities. It’s an approach that is useful to make sense of the complexity that surrounds us. When you take a systems view of a situation, it helps you to identify relationships, frame problems more accurately and to understand what interventions have the best chance of positive impact.

This powerpoint highlights some key points about a systems approach.

 

In this short video, Dan McCarthy, a SiG faculty member, describes why he has found systems thinking to be a powerful concept for this work and shares a metaphor that has shifted his own approach.

 


Dan McCarthy on Systems Thinking from Social Innovation Generation on Vimeo.

Now that you’ve taken a look at some general principles, read this profile of the Registered Disability Savings Plan – a wonderful Canadian example of how thinking like a system led to social innovation. Dive in for the complete Case Study.