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Systems

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The methods in the td-net toolbox for co-producing knowledge are useful for bringing together different perspectives on a problem, recognising that not only individuals but also social groups have different ways of thinking about issues. One method (soft systems methodology) covers the whole process, while the others cover specific aspects. The aim is to provide […]
Purpose: To provide those helping communities "identify and adopt more sustainable practices" with a range of on-line resources that support "social learning and constructive action in multi-stakeholder settings." Description: The resources are organised under the following categories: Social learning, including systems thinking, building networks and knowledge management; Planning, monitoring and evaluation (PM and E); Collaboration/engagement, including stakeholder mapping and analysis and working across cultures; Supporting change; Research, including participatory action research and managing integration; Sustainable development.
Purpose: To demonstrate how a qualitative system dynamics map is constructed, along with its value in identifying leverage points, as well as to develop principles for qualitative mapping. Description: This 28 minute video by George Richardson describes his perspective on how a systems thinker and modeler approaches the problem of extensive evil. He builds a […]
Purpose: To provide a comprehensive overview of the systems and cybernetics fields, by defining concepts and bringing together key, but currently scattered, references about them. Description: The International Encyclopedia of Systems and Cybernetics is both a hard copy book (the second edition was published by De Gruyter Saur in 2004) and a searchable online database. […]
Systems archetypes are recurring generic systems structures found in many kinds of organisations, under many circumstances, and at many levels and scales. They are distinctive combinations of reinforcing and balancing processes. These system archetypes teach how to diagnose recurring problems and to design effective interventions. Eight common archetypes are: fixes that fail shifting the burden […]
Purpose: To provide an understanding of key systems principles. Description: This five-minute video uses ‘love’ as a universal example to illustrate what it means to think in systems (rather than parts) to better understand complexity. An example is provided of each of the following: Stocks Inflows Outflows Reinforcing feedback loops Balancing feedback loops Nonlinearity Delays […]
These two videos describe the difference between analysis (study of the parts) and synthesis (understanding of the whole). Analysis provides knowledge; synthesis provides understanding. Describes that all systems are parts of larger systems. Also describes that an essential property of a system is that it cannot be divided into independent parts; that its properties derive […]
Purpose: To describe some basic elements of systems thinking and how they affect approaches to complex societal and environmental problems. Description: The report and accompanying video each provide a useful description of systems and show what is required to move to a more systemic approach to a problem when technical solutions focusing on individual parts […]

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