March 11 (the second Monday of the month) is the 65th meeting for Systems Thinking Ontario. The registration is on Eventbrite.

Using Systems Models for Decision-Making

In a complex system, decision-makers are comparing options and making choices with inadequate information. Causal loop diagrams have long been recommended for making sense of complex systems. How can these models of cause and effect also be used to support decision-making about strategy, policy, design, funding and evaluation?

Alana Boltwood will share the results of her Major Research Project at OCADU. Multiple sources of knowledge about poverty reduction were integrated into a very large causal model, with customized notation and software. In facilitated workshops, housing and employment experts identified potential interventions. These were prioritized using rapid option-scoring methods, in context of the system model.

We will discuss how the systems thinking community could encourage wider use of system modelling, for decision-support and other purposes. We'll also see the photography that Alana used as a metaphor for complexity.

Alana Boltwood is a Certified Management Consultant who makes sense of complexity, using visualization of patterns to strategize for change. She has just completed a Master of Design (Strategic Foresight & Innovation) at OCAD University. Now that she has some spare time, she might make some new art.


Suggested pre-reading:

The full project report is available online at the OCAD University Open Research Repository.

  • Making and using large models of complex systems: The Poverty Reduction Model | Alana Boltwood | 2018 -- Chapter 3 and Section 4.4.
  • Presentation slides: Using system models in decision-making


Post-meeting artifacts

Bloggers are encouraged to write about their learning and experiences at the meeting. Links will be added to this page.