Systems Thinking

Marta Ceroni
Co-Director, Academy for Systems Change
Marta Ceroni
Co-Director, Academy for Systems Change

What is systems thinking? How does one design interventions to influence a system? How do the systems underlying our socio-economic structures reflect our traumas, beliefs, and values?

Show Notes

In this episode, Marta Ceroni joins us to discuss systems thinking. The focus of our conversation is the life and work of Donella Meadows, a distinguished systems and environmental thinker in the mid-late 20th century. Ceroni stewards Meadows' archives and furthers her work as co-director at the Academy for Systems Change

In our conversation, Marta and Jenny discuss Meadow's life, the key attributes of complex systems, and some of the leverage points to influence the outcomes of a system. They talk about the importance of information flows, being conscious of paradigms, and how we can move out of our heads and into our bodies to inform systems change.

  • "We can't control systems or figure them out, but we can dance with them" [3:30]
  • Marta's background [5:35]
  • Meadows' background, education, and travels abroad [9:22]
  • Key attributes of a system [15:26]
  • Leverage points to change a system [22:00]
  • Importance and power dynamics of information flows [22:24]
  • Meadows' highest-ranked leverage points [24:11]
  • Realizing the paradigm that there are paradigms [30:21]
  • Moving beyond the intellect to the embodied aspects of systems thinking [32:45]
  • The impacts of trauma and trauma-healing in a system [37:52]
  • Meadows' envisioning talk and guided practice [40:49]
  • Meadows' ecovillage [43:26]
  • About the Academy for Systems Change [49:41]

We have also published a written guide to accompany this discussion, Lessons from Donella Meadows.


The Donella Meadows Project at the Academy for Systems Change stewards an archive of her life and work

Some of her writing

Some of her speeches

Cobb Hill the on-going ecovillage that was her work and vision

( Scroll to Explore )

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