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twelve leverage points

from Wikipedia’s entry for “Twelve leverage points”:

[Donella] Meadows, who worked in the field of systems analysis, proposed a scale of places to intervene in a system. Awareness and manipulation of these levers is an aspect of self-organization and can lead to collective intelligence.

She started with the observation that there are levers, or places within a complex system (such as a firm, a city, an economy, a living being, an ecosystem, an ecoregion) where a “small shift in one thing can produce big changes in everything”

12. Constants, parameters, numbers (such as subsidies, taxes, standards)
11. The size of buffers and other stabilizing stocks, relative to their flows
10. The structure of material stocks and flows (such as transport network, population age structures)
9. The length of delays, relative to the rate of system changes
8. The strength of negative feedback loops, relative to the effect they are trying to correct against
7. The gain around driving positive feedback loops
6. The structure of information flow (who does and does not have access to what kinds of information)
5. The rules of the system (such as incentives, punishment, constraints)
4. The power to add, change, evolve, or self-organize system structure
3. The goal of the system
2. The mindset or paradigm that the system – its goals, structure, rules, delays, parameters – arises out of
1. The power to transcend paradigms

See also Meadow’s full report Leverage Points: Places to Intervene in a System at the Sustainability Institute.

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