Abstract for: Solution-oriented Systems Thinking Archetypes; examples of the Manawatu River, New Zealand

Most representations of Systems Thinking Archetypes explore problematic systemic causalities. Policy or management guidance from Systems Thinking Archetypes is generally directed toward understanding new and delayed feedback loops, exposing critical connections and revealing invisible underlying structure. This paper explores Systems Thinking Archetypes from a solution-oriented perspective. Instead of identifying problems the focus shifts to solutions generation to achieve a higher level at which to intervene in a system (Meadows, 1999). Recognizing that problems and solutions are interconnected, we argue that language may be important, especially when the goal is to move beyond incremental improvements towards generating a level playing field for more courageous, vision inspired changes (Senge, 1990). For the Manawatu River Catchment, examples of eight archetypical behaviors and a solution-oriented adaptation of the archetype decision-tree (as proposed by Goodman and Kliener (1994)) are presented. The desired outcome is to support on-going multi-stakeholder dialogues with a positive frame and move beyond incremental problem solving catchment management to a higher level of solutions generation.