Last week I heard someone say “We need a systemic solution.” 


That’s good. Practically all of our problems are chronic. Therefore, by definition, we need to alter the systems that maintain those problems chronically in place.

Soooo… Where do we start?

Change efforts mostly fail for the same reason – wrong assumptions in the minds of the people who devised them. Like “fewer people will take drugs if we arrest more drug takers” or “unemployed people will get jobs if we humiliate and punish them enough”.

(Ever noticed how the biggest programs seem to be based on the wrongest assumptions?)

Even small and benign efforts can be based on wrong assumptions (for example in road safety, sustainability, and health).. So how do we think better?

The problem is narrow intellectual repertoire: the people who invented the program had only one or a few possible solutions in their minds.

The obvious thing to do is to start with the fullest possible repertoire of possible systemic interventions to choose from.

This is where Donella Meadow’s pioneering 12 Leverage Points is so valuable.

Last year I translated her ideas into more familiar language and added some more familiar interventions.

Last week I explained it to a class of young innovators at the University of Technology Sydney, whose bright minds made me have a fresh look at it.

Here, as a result, is version 2!

I realise this stuff is so important that it needs to be as accessible as possible. I hope this new diagram helps.

Full size PDF here:

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