Leverage Point investigation

Donella Meadows suggested the concept of Leverage Points (Norwegian: Inflytelsespunkter). Leverage points are places in a system where one can efficiently influence the system. The ZIP-analysis and the impact and threshold analyses cover some but not all of this. It is recommended to do a leverage point investigation of systems.

Donella Meadows Leverage Points

in increasing order of effectiveness

12. Constants, parameters, numbers (such as subsidies, taxes, standards).

11. The sizes of buffers and other stabilizing stocks, relative to their flows.

10. The structure of material stocks and flows (such as transport networks, population age structures).

9. The lengths of delays, relative to the rate of system change.

8. The strength of negative feedback loops, relative to the impacts they are trying to correct against.

7. The gain around driving positive feedback loops.

6. The structure of information flows (who does and does not have access to information).

5. The rules of the system (such as incentives, punishments, constraints).

4. The power to add, change, evolve, or self-organize system structure.

3. The goals of the system.

2. The mindset or paradigm out of which the system — its goals, structure, rules, delays, parameters — arises.

1. The power to transcend paradigms.

More Info

Donella Meadows: Introduction to leverage points

Donella Meadows: Leverage Points

Donella Meadows: Places to intervene in a system

System Dynamics Society: What is system dynamics?

Video narrated and illustrated by David Macaulay (of “How Things Work”) in collaboration with Linda Booth Sweeney and the Donella Meadows Institute, is part of an online learning module for young change-makers who want to understand systems and change them.

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