Leverage Points

Your capacity for affecting the amount and temperature of water in your personal bathtub at home is very straightforward. In order to enjoy a bath, you plug the drain and open the faucets. That’s easy enough with a real bathtub.

But what about adjusting the contents of our metaphorical bathtub — the one that represents the state of something that we want to change in the world? What actions can you take to reconcile the discrepancy between the current ‘perceived state’ of the bathtub and its ‘desired state?’ In systems theory, the tools for influencing the stock and flow of the bathtub are often described as ‘leverage points.’ The following order and description of leverage points is derived from the work of Donella Meadows.1


  1. Meadows H., Donella. (1997). Leverage points: places to intervene in a system. http://www.donellameadows.org/archives/leverage-points-places-to-intervene-in-a-system/ 


Cite this page:
Shelley, James. (2020). 'Leverage Points' (in System Thinker Notebook). Originally published on August 5, 2020. Last modified on September 4, 2020 (document revision #2). Accessed on September 29, 2020. Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. Permalink: https://jamesshelley.com?p=17106
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