Thursday, January 18th, 2018

The key to a sustainable local economy is flow and confluence. I once visited the little town of Hinesville, Georgia, which is situated right outside the gates of the U.S. Army’s massive Fort Stewart. Like many military towns, Hinesville features long six-lane boulevards lined with crummy retail strips. Every massive block seems to include the […]

For the past two years, we’ve been assisting organizations and communities to become more resilient by incorporating whole-systems thinking into every aspect of their enterprise, from strategy to daily operations. Whole-systems thinking is a habit of analysis and decision-making that looks at the interrelationships of the constituent parts of a system rather than narrowly focusing […]

“The systems view looks at the world in terms of relationships and integration” -Fritjof Capra Okay, now we probe to the very core of systems thinking: connectivity.  You’ll recall that in our first discussion, we defined a system as “an integrated set of elements that perform a desired function.” That’s not the only definition of […]

Until now, our brief explanations of systems, scales, shocks, and flow have been little more than table-setting. With conditions, we begin to move into the heart of whole-systems thinking, which is all about assessing conditions, mapping connections and capabilities, and achieving life-capital in a flow with change. As we noted in our discussion of shocks, systems […]

Every system exists and operates in a wider context characterized by ever-changing conditions. Automobiles, for instance, operate on roads that may be bumpy or smooth. Thermostats monitor temperatures that alternate between warm and cold. Cell phones are tapped, dropped, tossed, and sometimes submerged. A political system is shaped by scandal, war, or the economy. Your body’s […]

A system can be defined as an integrated set of elements that perform a desired function. Although systems vary in complexity, they all share some basic elements. A stock flows into the system and is subject to some form of control, such as rate or temperature. The stock is then catalyzed or depleted in some […]

As practitioners of whole-systems thinking will find, we talk about achieving ‘flow’ as one of the goals of practicing the thinking. But it’s important to reflect on what ‘flow’ is, and what it is not. Flow: What It’s Not First of all, flow isn’t apathy. It doesn’t denote a withdrawal from the world. Quite the contrary, in […]

When we ask ‘is the coffee good?’ from a whole systems point of view, we’re asking much more than ‘does the coffee taste good?’ That’s because there’s a lot more to that cup of coffee than just how it tastes going down.