Q1 Answer: a) Events
Explanation: Decisions made at the ‘events’ level at the top of the Systems Pyramid are known as ‘reactive decisions’. These decisions are often knee-jerk reactions that focus on addressing symptoms rather than understanding underlying causes.
b) Patterns: The ‘patterns’ level helps us see certain system behaviours over time, and involve anticipating and planning for these recurring behaviours.
c) Structures: Structures involve understanding the system’s feedback loops and making design decisions based on our understanding of how the system works.
d) Mental models: Mental models are based on beliefs and assumptions and help understand stakeholders’ perspectives. Decisions made at this level can have transformative change.
Q2 Answer: c) Structures
Explanation: The ‘structures’ level of the Systems Pyramid offers the most effective leverage points. This level encompasses the foundational design and organisation of the system, including its components, relationships, and feedback loops. Modifying these structural elements can result in significant changes in system behaviour. Even small adjustments at this level can have far-reaching impacts, leading to transformative outcomes throughout the system.
a) Events: Events represent visible behaviours within the system. While events can be important indicators of system performance, they are often the result of underlying structures, patterns, and mental models at play within the system. Focusing on events alone may lead to short-term, reactive changes that address immediate symptoms without addressing the root causes of system behaviour.
b) Patterns: The patterns level can provide potential leverage points within a system, but they may not be the most effective or influential leverage points for transformative change as it represents emergent behaviours influenced by underlying structures and mental models. Modifying patterns alone may not address root causes or result in sustainable change.
d) Mental models: While mental models are crucial for understanding stakeholder perspectives and their motivations, they primarily influence decision-making and actions within the system. Modifying mental models alone may not necessarily lead to substantial changes in system behaviour unless they are translated into tangible changes in the system’s structures and feedback loops.