One of the outcomes that we try to create through our Change Lab work is systemic change. While quick fixes can help in the short run, long-term fundamental change is really what is needed to address the complex social challenges facing the world today.
To be successful, we must understand the characteristics of systems and how they operate. We need to find ways to clearly see what is happening in a system over time, where to focus our attention, and how to identify potential leverage points. Some of us are well versed in the basics of systems. For others, the opportunity to see and experience how a system works in a workshop setting will help make those concepts come alive.
This simple game provides a quick yet helpful introduction to systems. It was originally shared by Ann Pitty at Schumacher College in 1994 and appears in Coming Back to Life, Practices to Reconnect Our Lives, Our World by Joanna Macy and Molly Young Brown. They have graciously given us permission to use it here. We have continued to develop the debriefing points.