CE  Vol.6 No.6 , April 2015
Give Me an Arrow and I Will Construct a World for You
Author(s) Piero Mella
ABSTRACT
To survive in a world of change (which is always changing), we must develop our intelligence, to quickly learn to construct models to understand processes and their effects, long or short term, close or distant to us in space, and if possible, to dominate them, that is, predict and control them. Accepting the hypothesis that intelligence is the capacity to construct, and rapidly modify, a coherent system of effective models which contain meaning for understanding the world’s dynamics and developing effective behavior aimed at survival, this theoretical study will suggest the guidelines for learning and quickly constructing graphic models to understand, and to a certain sense dominate, the dynamics that characterize our existence. This paper will present the main ideas of Senge (2006) on Systems Thinking, which is considered not only as a technique but primarily as a discipline for efficient and effective thinking, learning, communicating and explaining with regard to the dynamics of our world. The title of the paper reveals that the proposed models derive from the logic and techniques of Systems Thinking, which provides Senge’s personal interpretation—and one that, in many respects, is innovative—refining not only the concepts but also the techniques for constructing models of systems dynamics (that is, the Causal Loop Diagrams) utilizing the graphical tool of “arrows” to connect the variables to be represented and to identify their direction and sense of variation. There is no limit to the complexity that can be represented with the graphic models of Systems Thinking, which is why Senge was able to state that: “Give me an arrow (a causal relationship and a sufficient power of variation) and I will construct a ‘world’ for you; not a real world, of course, but a structural map of part of it” (Senge, 2006: 3).

Cite this paper
Mella, P. (2015) Give Me an Arrow and I Will Construct a World for You. Creative Education, 6, 594-611. doi: 10.4236/ce.2015.66059.
References
[1]   Anderson, V., & Johnson, L. (1997). Systems Thinking Basics. From Concepts to Causal Loops. Waltham, Mass: Pegasus Comm., Inc.

[2]   Capra, F. (1996). The Web of Life: A New Scientific Understanding of Living Systems. New York: Anchor Books.

[3]   Flood, R. L. (1999). Rethinling: The Fifth Discipline. New York: Routldge.

[4]   Forrester, J. W. (1961). Industrial Dynamics. Waltham, Mass: Pegasus Communications.

[5]   Forrester, J. W. (1999). System Dynamics: the Foundation under Systems Thinking. Cambridge, MA: Sloan School of Management.
http://clexchange.org/ftp/documents/system-dynamics/SD2011

[6]   Hampden-Turner, C. (1990). Charting the Corporate Mind, from Dilemma to Strategy. New York: The Free Press.

[7]   Hardin, G. (1968). The Tragedy of the Commons. Science, 162, 1243-1248.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.162.3859.1243

[8]   Ichijo, K., & Nonaka, I. (2007). Knowledge Creation and Management. Oxford University Press.

[9]   Koestler, A. (1967). The Ghost in the Machine. London: Arkana.

[10]   Lotka, A. J. (1925). Elements of Physical Biology. Baltimore, MD: Williams & Wilkins.

[11]   Mella, P. (2005). Observing Collectivities as Simplex Systems: The Combinatory Systems Approach. Nonlinear Dynamics, Psychology and Life Sciences, 9, 121-153.

[12]   Mella, P. (2009). The Holonic Revolution. Holons, Holarchies and Holonic Networks. The Ghost in the Production Machine. Pavia: Pavia University Press.

[13]   Mella, P. (2012). Systems Thinking: Intelligence in Action. New York and Berlin: Springer-Verlag.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/978-88-470-2565-3

[14]   Mella, P. (2014a). The Magic Ring: Systems Thinking Approach to Control Systems. New York and Berlin: Springer-Verlag.

[15]   Mella, P. (2014b). The Pillars of Learning, Understanding, Studying and Explaining. Creative Education, 5, 1615-1628.
http://dx.doi.org/10.4236/ce.2014.517179

[16]   Richardson, L. F. (1949). Arms and Insecurity. London: Stevens & Sons (Published Posthumously, 1960).

[17]   Richmond, B. (1991). Systems Thinking: Four Key Questions. Watkinsville, GA: High Performance Systems.

[18]   Richmond, B. (1993). Systems Thinking: Critical Thinking Skills for the 1990s and Beyond. System Dynamics Review, 9, 113-133.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/sdr.4260090203

[19]   Senge, P. (2006). The Fifth Discipline: The Art and Practice of the Learning Organization (2nd ed.). New York: Doubleday/Currency.

[20]   Senge, P., & Lannon-Kim, C. (1991). The Systems Thinking Approach. The Systems Thinker Newsletter, Vol. 2, Cambridge, MA: Kendall Square.

[21]   Senge, P., Kleiner, A., Roberts, C., Ross, R., & Smith B. (1994). The Fifth Discipline Fieldbook. New York: Boubleday, Random House.

[22]   Sterman, J. D. (2000). Business Dynamics: Systems Thinking and Modeling for a Complex World. New York: McGraw-Hill/Irwin.

[23]   Tolman, E. C. (1948). Cognitive Maps in Rats and Men. Psychological Review, 55, 189-208.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/h0061626

[24]   Volterra, V. (1926). Variations and Fluctuations of the Number of Individuals in Animal Species Living Together. In: R. N. Chapman (Ed.), Animal Ecology (pp. 31-113). New York: McGraw-Hill.

[25]   Volterra, V. (1931). Lessons on the Mathematical Theory of Struggle for Life (Original: Leçons sur la théorie mathématique de la Lutte pour la vie). Paris: Gauthier-Villars.

[26]   Walker, J. (2001). Lifelong Learning and the Learning Organizations. In: D. Aspin, J. Chapman, M. Hatton, & Y. Sawano (Eds.), International Handbook of Lifelong Learning (pp. 619-641). Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/978-94-010-0916-4_31

[27]   Wiener, N. (1961). Cybernetics, or Control and Communication in the Animal and the Machine. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/13140-000

 
 
Top