The Systems Thinking Playbook: Exercises to Stretch and Build Learning and Systems Thinking Capabilities

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Chelsea Green Publishing, 2010 - Business & Economics - 252 pages
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The Systems Thinking Playbook has become a favorite of K-12 teachers, university faculty, and corporate consultants. It provides short gaming exercises that illustrate the subtleties of systems thinking. The companion DVD shows the authors introducing and running each of the thirty games.

The thirty games are classified by areas of learning: Systems Thinking, Mental Models, Team Learning, Shared Vision, and Personal Mastery. Each description clearly explains when, how, and why the game is useful. There are explicit instructions for debriefing each exercise as well as a list of all required materials. A summary matrix has been added for a quick glance at all thirty games. When you are in a hurry to find just the right initiative for some part of your course, the matrix will help you find it. Linda Booth Sweeney's previous books are Connected Wisdom: Living Stories About Living Systems and When a Butterfly Sneezes: Systems Thinking for kids, Big and Small, Volume 1. Dennis Meadows is also the co-author of Limits to Growth: The 30-Year Update.

"More and more educators and businesspeople espouse system thinking today---this short workbook helps you do it! From two of the most gifted systems educators, this is a great tool for discovering the systems thinker in us all."---Peter M. Senge, Senior Lecturer for MIT, founder of the Society for Organizational Learning, author of the Fifth Discipline

"We incorporate The Systems Thinking Playbook into all of our long-term capacity building programs because no other exercise book (and there are many) does a better job at helping people understand the five disciplines of a learning organization in a participative and visceral way. Not only is the book organized and formatted for ease of use, but the instructions and the debriefing points are excellent at helping even relatively novice facilitators lead the exercises effectively. Highly recommended."---Daniel H. Kim, co-founder of Pegasus Communications, and founding trustee of the Society for Organizational Learning

"We have used The Systems Thinking Playbook for years with our clients. It provides a framework for us to get them out of their old, top-down thinking and to think of themselves as a part of a whole organization and the organization as part of a whole community."---Marianne Hughes, Executive Director, Interaction Institute For Social Change

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Linda Booth Sweeney, Ed. D., is a researcher and writer dedicated to making the principles of systems thinking and sustainability accessible to children and others. She has worked with Outward Bound, Sloan School of M.I.T., and Schlumberger Excellence in Educational Development, or SEED. She is the author of The Systems Thinking Playbook; When a Butterfly Sneezes: A guide for helping children explore interconnections in our world through favorite stories; Connected Wisdom: Living Stories about Living Systems and numerous academic journals and newsletters. Sweeney lives outside Boston, Massachusetts. More information is available at

Dennis Meadows is Emeritus Professor of Systems Policy and Social Science Research at the University of New Hampshire, where he was also Director of the Institute for Policy and Social Science Research. In 2009 he received the Japan Prize for his contributions to world peace and sustainable development. He has authored ten books and numerous educational games, which have been translated into more than 15 languages for use around the world. He earned his Ph.D. in Management from MIT, where he previously served on the faculty, and has received four honorary doctorates for his contributions to environmental education.

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