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  • Seanna Davidson

places to intervene in a system

article: donella meadows


What is this resource?

Written by well-regarded US author Donella Meadows, a pioneer of systems thinking from a social perspective, this article will help you understand systems change. Meadows outlines the development of her understanding on how to intervene in a system to enable change. 

Why is this worthwhile?

For many of us, it is easy enough to grasp the idea that ‘everything is connected’. What is more difficult to discern is how to move from this broad principle to a more constructive and insightful framework for analysis and understanding. The 10 elements offered by Meadows direct the reader to specific elements of a systems dynamic, which taken together can provide understanding for appropriate places for intervening. Importantly, the list of elements include our own learning and set of paradigms that we use to make sense of our system. Meadows rightly points out that no one paradigm is true, but the collective taken together informs a richer understanding of a system.

Who is this useful for?

Given that this article is written for a general audience, it is both useful and accessible for practitioners, researchers and government and policy staff. The article’s utility is in helping one become a systems thinker, that is, their mindset and approach for systems work.