Donella Meadows - A Philosophical Look at System Dynamics Donella Meadows - Sustainable Systems
System dynamics (SD) is an approach to understanding the nonlinear behaviour of complex systems over time.
Places to Intervene in a System
In order of increasing effectiveness
- The sizes of buffers and other stabilizing stocks, relative to their flows.
- The structure of material stocks and flows (such as transport networks, population age structures)
- The lengths of delays, relative to the rate of system change
- The strength of negative feedback loops, relative to the impacts they are trying to correct against
- The gain around driving positive feedback loops
- The structure of information flows (who does and does not have access to what kinds of information)
- The rules of the system (such as incentives, punishments, constraints)
- The power to add, change, evolve, or self-organize system structure
- The goals of the system
- The mindset or paradigm out of which the system—its goals, structure,rules, delays, parameters—arises
- The power to transcend paradigms