Thursday, February 01, 2018

Causal Loop Modelling - Dos and Don'ts: Systems Thinking

People who are new to Causal Loop Modelling(CLDs) get carried away with this new tool and start using this everywhere like a kid getting excited with the new toy. 
In this whole process of excitement, they forget the intricate practices and ideas surrounding this tool, ending up losing the value. 
Guess what; this is part of the journey. While I was new to CLDs, I got excited and made several mistakes during the initial days. Luckily, I had some great mentors who corrected the mistakes and taught me how to catch myself in this whole process. 
Here are some of the lessons and based on my own experiences; some Dos and Don'ts to be aware while modeling.
First and the foremost mistake is to think CLD which will throw the solution at you. One needs to remember that CLDs are just modeling tools to represent the mental models of the system. At the end of the modeling solution, you won't have a solution to a problem. It is just your mental model.
Second, modeling alone. 
Third, the model is as useful as the thought process involved in it, which in turn depends on the agents involved impacting the leverage points of the system. 
Fourth, ability to step back and look from different views
Fifth, ability to separate what we are experiencing/seeing from the causal/effect relationships.
Sixth, my favorite, don't do CLDs when you are going through emotions :-) 
Seventh, saying my CLD is better than yours. Don't say that. As I said before, each CLD is not only context dependent but also depends on the mental models of the participants. There are no right or wrong models.
Eighth, trying to draw a perfect CLD and trying to figure out the right notation. 
Ninth, it could take months to understand some of the intricate details. One needs to practice consistently.
Here are some of the CLDs drawn by the participants from the previous courses. Remember this is the first time many of them have heard about CLDs but they did a great job with constant coaching.

How can I learn more about CLDs ?

During the 3 days Certified LeSS Practitioner(CLP) course, I cover extensively about CLDs and Systems Thinking. Participants will also get a chance to do hands-on exercises using CLDs.
Of course, one cannot expect to become an expert in a day. But with constant practice and guidance, you can do it.

Upcoming CLP in Melbourne is scheduled coming month, Aug 21st, 22nd and 23rd.

You can register for the course with this link.

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