Abstract for:Systems thinking and collective learning: Reflections from three decades in the field

Today we stand at a cultural crossroad. Institutional inertia pushes us toward preservation and extension of industrial-age techno-centric norms and aims. Yet, the imperative for deep change becomes more and more self-evident as societal and ecological breakdowns spread. Amidst the chaos, a renaissance is quietly unfolding, evident in changes as diverse as social entrepreneurship, entrepreneurs eschewing profit as the prime business driver, isolated collaborations successfully generating systems change, and especially a renewed focus on cultivating mindfulness, compassion, and social and ecological connectedness in education. 

For our collective future, we need to call into question the widely-shared, and largely implicit, norms and taken-for-granted assumptions guiding modern societies. The work, paradoxically, is deeply personal (individuals challenging their own worldviews) and at the same time inherently collective. This is where the System Dynamics worldview can find a place in the emerging renaissance, by helping to translate powerful yet still largely inchoate urges into more disciplined learning and change processes.