Sustainability Institute


Quoting from the Sustainability Institute web site

The mission of the Donella Meadows Leadership Fellows Program is to accelerate the shift to global sustainability by increasing the effectiveness of well-positioned sustainability leaders. Fellows learn to address social, economic and environmental issues at their root causes while benefiting from a national and international network of talented and supportive colleagues.

Systems Thinking

Systems thinking practices and approaches that help in the work towards a sustainable world include:

  • Focusing on fundamental versus symptomatic solutions
  • Blaming the system, not the players in the system
  • Understanding the dynamics of exponential growth and other phenomena through causal loop diagramming
  • Recognizing archetypal behavior in systems
  • Understanding the dynamics of accumulations in systems through stock-and-flow diagramming

Fellows receive instruction, practice opportunities and coaching in learning to see the world through a systems lens, being able to interpret systems diagrams, recognizing archetypal behaviors of systems, linking systems behavior to vision, drawing reinforcing and balancing causal diagrams, explaining the root cause of an issue and learning how to converse about a system and use a system diagram as an engagement tool.


Sustainability Institute website >>

(this page introduces the key people at SI and it introduces the root view points on sustainability, systems thinking and other related topics).

My only comments on this is that the points listed under the “S.ytems Thinking” header above are posed as dichotomies. In systems thinking we may want to consider focusing on:

  • both the symptomatic solution systems and on fundamental solution systems
  • distributed responsibility (both the players and the system are responsible)

Daniel Montano
Keyword: Daniel Montano, Dan Montano, user experience design, information architect


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