leverage points

planted: 19/02/2023last tended: 22/07/2023

how do we change the structure of systems to produce more of what we want and less of that which is undesirable?

Thinking in Systems

These are points within a complex system, such as an economy, an ecosystem, or a community, where a small shift in one place can produce major changes elsewhere.

Leveraging Digital Disruptions for a Climate-Safe and Equitable World: The D2S Agenda

Leverage points as listed by Donella Meadows in Thinking in Systems:

  • 12. Numbers—Constants and parameters such as subsidies, taxes, standards
  • 11. Buffers—The sizes of stabilizing stocks relative to their flows
  • 10. Stock-and-Flow Structures—Physical systems and their nodes of intersection
  • 9. Delays—The lengths of time relative to the rates of system changes
  • 8. Balancing Feedback Loops—The strength of the feedbacks relative to the impacts they are trying to correct
  • 7. Reinforcing Feedback Loops—The strength of the gain of driving loops
  • 6. Information Flows—The structure of who does and does not have access to information
  • 5. Rules—Incentives, punishments, constraints
  • 4. Self-Organization—The power to add, change, or evolve system structure
  • 3. Goals—The purpose or function of the system
  • 2. Paradigms—The mind-set out of which the system—its goals, structure, rules, delays, parameters—arises
  • 1. Transcending Paradigms

with the caveat:

But complex systems are, well, complex. It’s dangerous to generalize about them. What you read here is still a work in progress; it’s not a recipe for finding leverage points. Rather, it’s an invitation to think more broadly about system change.

Thinking in Systems

1. Elsewhere

1.2. In the Agora

1.3. Mentions

This page last updated: 2023-07-22 Sat 12:00. Map. Recent changes. Source. Peer Production License.