This isn't a blog post, but more of a blog-collection. 6 common things that systems thinkers like to say that are bupkis. We call them sacred cows of systems thinking because it is almost blasphemous to disagree with them, even though most have a much bigger bark than bite. Click on the links below (in the right column) to red the blogs on each sacred cow.
When I was a child, my mother would tell me a story of her own childhood. She spoke of how the children would collect tin foil wrappers from gum and cigarette packs and make a foil ball that could be turned in to help the war effort. This was all part of a scrap drive that children and citizens participated in willingly that included gathering grease fat containing glycerine that was used for bombs and metals of all kinds used in bombers (made by an increasingly female workforce that “manned” the factories where B-52 bombers were being made). Everyone pitched in because “our boys” were “over there” fighting.
Learn more about the definition of a slider, or read our other sliders... If you’ve raised children, you will inevitably be accused of being mean. You’re mean because you won’t let them have a third dessert. Because you insist that they wear a jacket when it is -5°F. Or, when you enforce a reasonable bedtime. But lately we’ve been noticing that Gen Z children—and to a large extent, the Millennial generation—think of a whole range of new things as “mean.” If I were to say for example, “hey can you brush your teeth? Your breath is terrible,” that might be considered mean. Even if, factually, you have halitosis.
Like a pack of wolves, tiny bacteria band together to hunt their evasive prey. In the soil underfoot, a nematode (“round worm”) avoids a deadly chemical. A cell runs toward oxygen to take part in photosynthesis and make the planet habitable by humans. Brightly colored water droplets animate and chase each other across a glass landscape. These are a few of the amazing microscopic dramas that occur just out of range of sight. Microbes and even non-living molecules use DSRP to sense and respond to their environment in a process called chemotaxis.
Over the years, different variables/symbols have been used for the same equation. In some cases for good reason, and in other cases solely because, like an English sentence, a mathematical sentence can be read and written in different ways toward the same effect. For example, take the following four equations:
If the right kind of Vision is so important, what explains companies that succeed with no [discernible] Vision? This is an important question we get asked a lot. Vision is a function of all organizations, whether formalized as companies, or informal groups of people such as protesters. Additionally, "good" Visions adhere to the vision-litmus-checks such that:
The term cognitive slider was coined by Derek Cabrera to communicate “a relatively small, nourishing or ‘meaty’ mental model” for use in increasing one’s prosocial or emotional intelligence. This blog is part of a set of blogs under the tag "sliders." Be sure to check out the tag to read them as a group and learn how sliders are at play and can help us in our everyday lives. Over the years, I’ve worked with many students and folks who are new to the workforce. I must say, working with a team of young, passionate professionals who still believe they can change the world for the better (and likely will) is one of the best parts of my job.
Prominent scholars in the field accept that the history and development of systems thinking has occurred in "waves" as originated by Flood, Jackson, and Keyes and built on by Midgley, et. al. This metaphor was extended in the late '90s early '00s with Cabrera  and Midgley  and the suggestion of a 4th Wave. The “waves” have proven to be a useful and powerful conceptual, historical, and pedagogical model (as long as we are aware of periodization bias and what’s-nextism bias). For a more in-depth review of the "waves" see Cabrera.