Finding the right lever and pushing it the right way . . . really hard
Let’s start preparing for the first ever National Systems Thinking Week – to be celebrated annually across the United States, commemorated by government decrees in core regions, feted by civic forums where a critical mass exists, and embraced by grade and high schools throughout the United States. Mark your calendars – October 5 – 20!
One month before the national election, President Obama will proclaim October 5 – 20 National Systems Thinking Week, quoting Albert Einstein, “We cannot solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.” He will recognize that systems thinking helps us understand the obvious interdependencies that govern our lives, that the United States should embark on a national goal to elevate systems thinking to a discipline equal in rank to mathematics within two decades.
Early in the school year, when students’ are most apt to invent and create with energy, the National Systems Thinking Week will provide students unprecedented opportunities to learn about the tightly bound web of life in which they live. Materials from the Creative Learning Exchange and the Waters Foundation give K-12 teachers materials they can use right away, helping students understand the basic vocabulary and structure of a systems view of the world. Schools in Boston, Tucson, and Portland will feature student displays and symposiums, allowing students to explore a systems approach to solving local issues.
Fritjof Capra, Founder and Director of the Center for Ecoliteracy, will appear on Public Broadcasting’s “Nova.” He’ll talk about the web of life, the uncommon wisdom needed to understand our interconnected world. He’ll talk about the flowering of systems theory, the environmental movement, the rise of sustainable development, and the current Green Movement – all of it necessarily supported and understood by systems thinking.
Booksellers will feature classics in systems theory: Limits to Growth, The Tipping Point, Thinking in Systems, When a Butterfly Sneezes, World Dynamics, Beyond the Limits, Business Dynamics, and The Web of Life.
Universities throughout the United States will hold conferences on system failures and system success: tragedy of the commons, the demise of Easter Island, predation on the Kaibab Plateau, Learning Organizations in businesses, and the rise of new urban designs.
Coffee shops in Portland will convene large scale simulations in forest management. Boston area libraries will hold town hall simulations in fisheries, reviving FishBanks in a newly minted version. On the campuses of great American institutions such as the University of Arizona, the Colorado School of Mines, and Cal Berkeley, student groups will discuss land use and water rights.
Systems jokes, systems t-shirts, systems bumper stickers, systems thinking “think-in’s” at city halls, software demonstrations in classrooms, leverage discussions in boardrooms, students asking questions of political leaders and city planners. Imagine it!
Help propel us to such a week by registering for the 10th Biennial National Systems Thinking and Dynamics Modeling Conference at the Babson Center in Wellesley, MA, June 30 to July 2, 2012.