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Topic: Places to intervene in a system

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In the News (Sat 17 Aug 19)

  Whole Earth: Places to Intervene in a System
Folks who do systems analysis have a great belief in "leverage points." These are places within a complex system (a corporation, an economy, a living body, a city, an ecosystem) where a small shift in one thing can produce big changes in everything.
When the Hungarian road system was laid out so all traffic from one side of the nation to the other had to pass through central Budapest, that determined a lot about air pollution and commuting delays that are not easily fixed by pollution control devices, traffic lights, or speed limits.
Systems folks would say one way to change a paradigm is to model a system, which takes you outside the system and forces you to see it whole.
www.wholeearthmag.com /ArticleBin/109.html   (5699 words)

 Resource: Systems Theory: Places To Intervene In A System
Systems Theory: Places To Intervene In A System
A fundamental principle of sustainability is viewing places, organizations and situations as whole entities rather than as separable, independent parts.
While 'systems thinking' may come easily to some, those of us looking to more fully understand it can read a 7-page article by Donella Meadows (co-author of "Limits to Growth" and "Beyond the Limits") on systems theory and specifically on how to modify a system.
www.nextstep.state.mn.us /res_detail.cfm?id=443   (225 words)

 Syndemic Prevention Network: Foundations
Intervening at this systemwide scale requires new approaches for organizing resources along with greater understanding of the feedback effects among all the conditions that threaten health and well-being.
Those conditions exist along a vast continuum from the most immediate biological "causes" of illness to the most systemic forces, or "causes of causes." Great strides in health promotion have been made by thinking ecologically, refusing to accept single-cause explanations for illness in a world filled with interdependency and layers of complex social organization.
The proposed research will explore the technical feasibility of applying navigational methods to public health problems, as well as their utility within a broader system of social navigation that is grounded in the core values, ethics, and moral obligations of each community as well as the public health profession at large.
www.cdc.gov /syndemics/foundations.htm   (2627 words)

But the most effective place to intervene in a system, says this brilliant woman, is to challenge the mindset behind the system, the paradigm, the view of reality, the perception of how things are that underlie the system in the first place.
This is the most effective place to intervene, Dana says, but she acknowledges it's also the hardest.
of an inch and to design and develop a new industrial system to replace the old one, to move beyond the extractive, linear, fossil-fuel driven, abusive, wasteful technologies of the present system, to the renewable, cyclical, solar hydrogen-driven, benign and restorative technologies of a new age.
www.secf.org /speeches_RayAnderson.asp   (4961 words)

 Open Discussion Thread: "Places to Intervene in a System," by Donella H. Meadows | developer.* Blogs   (Site not responding. Last check: 2007-10-21)
Observability is the mathematical measurement of the ability of the changes in one of the inputs of a system to be seen in the measured output of the system.
Software systems tend to reiniforce this, as we can manage many more of those inputs and we can throw the computational tasks inherent in modeling the complexities of the internal workings of the system into the code.
The problem is the behavior of the system is generated by the chaos of the interactions between multitudes of smaller systems, each with their own smaller controller.
www.developerdotstar.com /community/node/249   (1854 words)

 Social Edge - Why (and how) you should scale up   (Site not responding. Last check: 2007-10-21)
Re: [Pam] Places to Intervene in a System
Places to Intervene in a System is Donella Meadows’ classic account of where interventions will have the greatest impact -- an astonishingly important paper for anyone hoping to change the way things are.
Systems thinking says the future can't be predicted, but it can be envisioned and brought lovingly into being.
www.socialedge.org /Events/Workshops/69   (2981 words)

 Places to Intervene in a System by Donella H. Meadows - Software Development, Design, and Programming Articles
The essay you are about to read is the second in the series: "Places to Intervene in a System," by the late Donella Meadows (biography).
Our purpose in publishing this essay, however, is not to launch a political debate, but rather to explore the parallels between the systems and "places to intervene" identified here by Meadows and the systems—both human and technological—in the software world.
Donella H. Meadows (Ph.D. in biophysics, Harvard University), the founder of the Sustainability Institute, was a professor at Dartmouth College, a long-time organic farmer, a journalist, and a systems analyst.
www.developerdotstar.com /mag/articles/places_intervene_system.html   (6817 words)

 Doorway: Social Application
Donella Meadows, (1941-2001), systems analyst, journalist, writer, teacher and farmer has been a major influence in the lives and understanding of many active practitioners in the emerging field of Collective Wisdom.
As a systems analyst, she observed that there are “levers” or places within a complex system (such as a firm, a city, a family, an economy, living being, an ecosystem, an ecoregion) where a “small shift in one thing can produce big changes in everything”.
She developed a scale of leverage points, i.e., places to intervene in a system with increasing influence.
www.collectivewisdominitiative.org /social_application.htm   (657 words)

 Restructuring the Global Economy   (Site not responding. Last check: 2007-10-21)
My contention is that the globalization of a capitalistic system, with the resulting disregard for nature’s life support systems, the phenomenal cultural diversity across the planet, and the local community values that are the real stuff of our lives, is clearly not a paragon of beauty, excellence, or perfection.
The current model of capitalism, expanded greatly by the frenzy of “freetrade” economic globalization, is an absurd economic system rapidly destroying nature, cultural diversity, and decent local life.
Systems analysts believe in leverage points through which small changes in one area produce big changes in everything in that system.
www.undueinfluence.com /restructuring.htm   (6458 words)

 Ross Mayfield's Weblog: 12 Leverage Points to Intervene in a System
I found a nice summary of Donella Meadow's 12 Leverage Points to Intervene in a System in wikipedia.
Places where a small change can have large effects, and if you are a participant in the system, awareness and use of these means enable self-organization.
Note that the this material is sourced from "Places to Intervene in A System", published in the Winter 97 issue of Whole Earth magazine (...
ross.typepad.com /blog/2003/08/12_leverage_poi.html   (367 words)

 The Research & Training Center for Children's Mental Health
Systems of care are presented as mutable strategies for improving organizational relationships that are best judged by outcomes focused at the organizational level.
Themes included (a) impact of complexity of community-based systems of care on evaluation design; (b) relevance of theories of change; (c) implications of diversity in populations served; and (4) strategies for conducting evaluation within the constraints imposed.
The author presents a discussion of the challenges inherent in conducting research and evaluation to improve services and systems of care and concludes by advocating for a comprehensive knowledge development strategy in which a broad range of research and evaluation methods are utilized.
rtckids.fmhi.usf.edu /publications.html   (8776 words)

 Tabor Consulting
Meadows (1997) argued that there are ten places to intervene in a system.
The ability to self organize is the strongest form of system resilience, the ability to survive and change by changing.
For example, in a system, the goal of a negative feedback loop is balance, and the goal of a positive feedback loop is growth.
www.taborconsulting.com   (4952 words)

 Whole Earth: Donella Meadows
Her essay, "Places to Intervene in a System," erupted in a similar meeting.
She presented "systems" to citizens and students unfamiliar with feedback and feedforward loops, "S" and "J" curves, and number crunching and geometry as they applied to organizations.
Her interest in pattern was a compassionate path—to remove blame from individuals and focus human energy on useful leverage points and correcting system perversities.
www.wholeearthmag.com /ArticleBin/417.html   (1079 words)

Leverage points are, "…places within a complex system (a corporation, an economy, a living body, a city, an ecosystem) where a small shift in one thing can produce big changes in everything." Meadows presents a hierarchy of leverage points consisting of twelve groupings (see Figure 1).
In the systems perspective, the accounting equation is a leverage point that defines and reaffirms "The rules of the system"-- the fifth most effective leverage point.
These treaties change "The rules of the system." These treaties were adopted, ironically, as a result of a weakened government and serve to further erode the power of government, thereby, giving corporations more power to exert their will.
www.c4cr.org /paper01.html   (7240 words)

 SI - papers
The CDC's Diabetes Systems Modeling Project: Developing a new tool for chronic disease prevention and control (240KB pdf), by J Homer, A Jones, D Seville, J Essien, B Milstein, and D Murphy (2004).
Commodity System Challenges: moving sustainability into the mainstream of natural resource economies (pdf 420k), a Sustainability Institute Report, April, 2003.
Leverage Points: Places to Intervene in a System (pdf 91K), by Donella H. Meadows (1999), 19pp.
www.sustainer.org /tools_resources/papers.html   (509 words)

 The Future Of Philanthropy : Cultivating Change In Philanthropy
It examines the barriers that make philanthropy difficult to change, and explores how those hurdles might be overcome to create a more diverse, integrated, and effective system of giving in the U.S., and ultimately around the world.
The single article that influenced our thinking most powerfully during the course of this project was probably “Places to Intervene in a System" by the late Donella Meadows.
Meadows, a pioneering environmental scientist, draws upon a lifetime of thinking about systems to share the nine leverage points of intervention, in ascending order of their importance.
www.futureofphilanthropy.org /cultiv_change.asp   (389 words)

 InnovationLabs Publications: Places to Intervene in a System Review
Places to Intervene in a System (In Increasing Order of Effectiveness)
All systems and their components have system "states,"which refers to the amount of something (physical or non-material) that’s on hand—like items a store might keep in stock for sale.
One state of a bathtub might be the amount of water in it.
www.innovationlabs.com /sys_intervention.html   (113 words)

 THEOOZE - Articles: Viewing Article   (Site not responding. Last check: 2007-10-21)
Places To Intervene In A System : a great set of ideas if you are seeking change http://www.wholeearthmag.com/ArticleBin/109.html
The time of day when people are going to or from work in an area where the commute is short or has little traffic.
Out in this growing bedroom community — where getting from place to place is a breeze compared to other parts of the city — I've run across my share of early-morning jams, speeding cars, near misses, cell-phone-talkers and horn-honkers.
www.theooze.com /articles/article.cfm?id=786   (344 words)

 Solutions & sustainability - July 7 | EnergyBulletin.net | Peak Oil News Clearinghouse
Fukuoka's system of farming is amazing not only for its yields, but also for the fact that he has not plowed his fields for more than 30 years!
However, I think, having watched the series, and having developed a deep admiration for what he achieved and how he achieved it, that there are 10 things we can learn from it that can inform our energy descent work.
Leverage points are those "places within a complex system (a corporation, an economy, a living body, a city, an ecosystem) where a small shift in one thing can produce big changes in everything."
www.energybulletin.net /17944.html   (1306 words)

 Michael Fioritto's Radio Weblog
Slowly, we're beginning to learn how to put together the insights of software and technology developers with the insights of systems level thinkers.
One starting point on systems thinking is a great paper by the late Donella Meadows, Places to Intervene in a System (pdf file).
If you're going to talk about things that shouldn't be public on Userland and need to be kept behind the state firewall, let me know and we'll set up a place inside the state network for that.
radio.weblogs.com /0101433/2002/07/18.html   (653 words)

 WorldChanging: Tools, Models and Ideas for Building a Bright Green Future: Points of Influence
Such is the case with his link to Donella Meadow's excellent 1997 article in Whole Earth magazine, Places to Intervene in a System.
It seems to appeal to that streak of both greens and the left who think that by revisioning the system in a working form, things will change.
However, in practice, all that happens is that the converted feel they have done what must be done, and the hard work of by-god dealing with the "lower" levels of the system, where all the actual work gets done, is posponed.
www.worldchanging.com /archives/000289.html   (411 words)

 Mind-set - SourceWatch
Ecology and systems theory, where it refers mostly to point of view choices that an ecologists or systems designer makes in assessing a system and deciding which metrics to trust.
She noted the extremely high leverage of knowing one's mind-set, and the even higher leverage of being able to change.
Her Twelve places to intervene in a system was a famous paper on this issue.
www.sourcewatch.org /index.php?title=Mind-set   (356 words)

 ISSS 1998 Conference, July 23, 1998 -- (Rough) Transcriptions
Every living system and life-support system is in stress and decline.
Dana Meadows article: Places to intervene in a system.
The most important place to intervene is at the paradigm.
www.isss.org /98transc/jl231110.htm   (826 words)

 The Future Of Philanthropy : Cultivating Change In Philanthropy : Resources   (Site not responding. Last check: 2007-10-21)
The first chapter of this book provides an essential framework for understanding the complexity of the contemporary nonprofit sector in the U.S. “Places to Intervene in a System," by Donella Meadows, Whole Earth Review, Winter 1997.
This is a seminal piece on systems thinking and creating lasting change that provokes better strategic thinking by anyone who reads it.
This lecture series honors him by carrying on his work; the speeches catalogue a number of thought-provoking perspectives hard to find in one place.
www.futureofphilanthropy.org /cultiv_change_resources.asp   (1090 words)

 Juice: the coming energy crisis and the future of power
Cisco Systems is beuilding a 20,000 person development in the South Bay and they aren't installing PV.
This commission has to go after the culprits in this scenario which, through their collusion, are bringing the utilities to the brink of insolvency and the reliability of the electric system to the edge, at great cost to consumers.
Remove the barriers to the creation of publicly owned systems and establish a fair and rapid system for valuation of utility properties that are condemned.
www.solarnet.org /juice/opinions.htm   (4250 words)

 Frank Patrick's Focused Performance Weblog
How to Look, Where to Act -- This 1997 Whole Earth article by Donella Meadow (actually titled Places to Intervene in a System) ties in nicely with my other posts of today.
Until and unless you get in the habit of thinking in terms of whole systems, it often helps to have someone else pull you out of the woods a bit so that you can identify where it is you want to go and compare it to where you're going.
Meadow offers several breadcrumb paths to start thinking about managing your system (summarized by Ross Mayfield, who aimed me at the article)...
www.focusedperformance.com /2003/09/how-to-look-where-to-act.html   (634 words)

 a crank’s progress :: knowing where to apply the monkey wrench
I used to read WER but there was a time when it was on hiatus and when my subscription lapsed, I was sure if it my subscription or the magazine that expired.
Anyway, this is a good introduction to how systems or organizations — work places, political structures, even sports teams — can be made to steer a new course.
The examples were clear and the prose vigorous, making it easy to understand and envision how to apply its meaning.
www.paulbeard.org /wordpress/index.php?p=1070   (236 words)

 Integral Visioning - Donella Meadows: Leverage Points - Places To Intervene In A System
Integral Visioning - Donella Meadows: Leverage Points - Places To Intervene In A System
Donella Meadows: Leverage Points - Places To Intervene In A System
Suddenly, without quite knowing what was happening, I got up, marched to the flip chart, tossed over a clean page, and wrote: " Places to Intervene in a System," followed by nine items:
integralvisioning.org /article.php?story=dm-levpnts   (5714 words)

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