We live in the world of events. Things happen and we respond-a machine breaks down, we buy a new machine; sales drop, we launch an ad campaign; profits fall, we lay off workers. Each event creates another event, in an end-less stream of cause-and-effect relationships. At this level of understanding, all we can do is react to things that are happening to us.
Systems thinking offers a range of tools for gaining deeper insight into problems-from simple pen-and-paper tools such as causal loop diagrams to more complex tools such as computer simulation models and designed learning environments. Systems archetypes are one class of tools that capture the “common stories” in systems thinking.