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Learn more about systems thinking

Systems Thinking

Systems Thinking is a disciplined way of understanding dynamic relationships that enables you to make better choices and avoid unintended consequences. Through Systems Thinking, a practitioner will have a better understanding of the interdependent components that create a system and be able to identify the leverage points for effective intervention.

Mental Models

Building mental models is something we all do everyday and our brains are so good at it, we rarely recognize we are doing it! Simply put, mental models are abstractions of reality that we create and simulate to help make meaning out of experiences and help us come to decisions that inform our actions. For example, you are thinking about dealing with a co-worker on a project. That person is not physically in your head but you are able to think of certain aspects of them that fit the context and simulate "what-if" scenarios that help you come to conclusions for a best course of action.


While we build mental models about everything, research shows we are not always good at understanding the implications of our mental models. By building a computer model that matches our mental model, we are able to run simulations to see what the outcomes would be over time. In particular, this helps us understand how both feedback and action at a distance can lead to unexpected results.


Armed with a computer model, we can analyze the behavior of the system under different scenarios. This helps us understand the most likely paths the system will take in the future. We can also use the model as a decision-support tool, testing different policies that we believe will ameliorate the problems we are facing, to find which policies are effective.

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