This is part 8 of a series of articles featuring the book Beyond Connecting the Dots, Modeling for Meaningful Results.
- Models are simplified versions of the world around us.
- We build models to help us understand and learn.
- We build simple models and add to them as we learn with them.
- Building models and learning is an iterative process.
- We learn as we go and seldom do we get models right the first time.
- Feedback Independent Growth, Exponential Growth (Reinforcing Feedback) and Goal Seeking (Balancing Feedback) structures are the basic building blocks for all models.
- These building blocks can aid in understanding aspects of our interactions with the world around us.
- Stock & Flow, Rich Picture, and Causal Loop models are only three of a very large array of possible modeling forms that exist. Use them to the extent that they serve you, and when they don’t, find a form that does.
- Use a modeling form that adequately serves your quest for understanding.
- Simulations are dynamic models that help us understand changes over time.
- The Model Thinking course by Scott E. Page presents a very extensive exposure to many types of models useful for understanding different aspects of the world around us.
- Often easier for others to relate to and understand because of the images in the model.
- No rules for creating them, though remember that you need to tell a story.
- Because you need to tell a story make the model as understandable as possible.
Causal Loop Diagrams
- Specific Guidelines for how to depict the relationships between the elements.
- Color coding relations is an alternative to the + and – notation, but be consistent.
- Employing explicit stock representations often reduces misinterpretations.
- Hybrid Rich Pictures/Causal Loop Diagrams are often the very meaningful.
Stock & Flow Simulations
- The most explicit model form with well defined rules for construction that must be followed.
- The dynamic nature allows you to compress or expand time and distance to see the implications of relations.
- Use a process that suits you and the purpose you’re trying to achieve.
- The guidelines are intended to help you develop better models.
- Use the guidelines as a checklist.
Next edition: Developing understanding: Models 1-2.
Header image source: Beyond Connecting the Dots.