Tech Support Cheat Sheet

 'Hey Megan, it's your father. How do I print out a flowchart?'

Tech Support Cheat Sheet
Mon, 24 Aug 2009 04:00:00 GMT


There’s a striking amount of wisdom and good advice packed into this flowchart. It’s not about the body of knowledge stored away in your head. It’s about a robust strategy for generating and testing ideas that are likely to be productive.

What puzzles me is why individuals choose not to employ such a simple strategy.

Thinking in Systems: A Primer

Thinking in Systems: A Primer,

Meadows, Donella

From time to time, I recommend Meadows’ article, Places to Intervene in a System. It’s a succinct summary of her long experience at finding leverage points for effective change in complex human and organizational systems. In this slim volume, she provides an accessible and understandable introduction to systems thinking in general and "Places to Intervene" takes its place as a penultimate chapter.

We spend our days surrounded by and embedded in multiple, complex, interacting systems: transportation, education, health care, our employers, our customers, our suppliers. The systems we encounter are those that by design and by adaptation have found stable ways to operate and to survive.

Thinking in Systems explains why systems work the way they do and why our intuitions about them are so often wrong. Feedback loops drive system behavior. Positive feedback loops give us population explosions and Internet billionaires; negative feedback loops let us steer cars or regulate the temperature in our offices. Unrecognized feedback loops and lag times between action and response lead to most of the surprises we encounter with systems in the real world. What Meadows does here is make that all understandable and accessible with apt examples and clear explanations.

links for 2009-08-11