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Mind Tricks

26 27 systems speLLs changing parts to change the whole Some fixes make things worse. Hercules cut off one of the Hydras heads only to watch two more grow in its place. Applying a systems thinking trick he burned the stumps, thus finishing the labor. Systems are selfcontained networks, living or otherwise, exisiting within a context. Systems selforganise, generating unpredictable properties. If a system starts to produce undesirable behavior, then its structure normally needs to change. To find the best place to intervene ask why is this happening and list any answers in a row. Under each answer, ask why again, continuing the process until patterns and sources begin to emerge. Factors can be joined by arrows showing cycles or causeeffect links opposite top. Zoom in to some typical examples of systems thinking below. Above The Tragedy of the Commons. Individuals use a limited resource available to all in common, e.g., fish. At first it is easy to get the resource, but as more people use it, they each get less. They intensify their efforts, accelerating the depletion. The fish in the ocean have nearly all gone. The solution is either a strong moderating authority, or a partitioning of the resource. Person As Activity ReinfoRcing Loop ReinfoRcing Loop BaLancing Loop BaLancing Loop Reduces incReases incReases Reduces incReases incReases incReases incReases Time deLay Reduces Net Gains for A Resource Limit Gain per individual Total Activity Person Bs Activity Net Gains for B Above A vicious circle turns into a virtuous circle. Both are reinforcing loops. On the left Urg criticises Monas new dress, making her upset, so she responds by making it a bone of contention. Their life becomes a misery. On the right Urg tells Mona how beautiful she looks. She glows, becoming even more attractive, and admires his bone. Happy ever after
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