|Fieldbook, pg 121, Michael Goodman
Applying the archetypes prompts us to fill in gaps in our thinking
and telling more complete stories. By showing feedback (reinforcing
and balancing) relationships, the templates visually portray the
interconnected nature of our world (mouse-over the pictures here).
Archetypes are a natural vehicle for clarifying and testing mental
models about the system. They are also powerful tools for coping
with astonishing number of details that frequently overwhelm
beginning systems thinkers.
As you work with archetypes, and they become second nature,
they will become part of your diagnostic repertoire and be able to
talk about systemic issues at a surprisingly sophisticated level.
Steps in applying archetypes:
|One good clue is finding a pattern of performance that seems|
|to sum up the behaviour of the archetype|
|Add your elements to the story. Start with the core loop that|
|seems to drive the behaviour of the system. This loop often |
closely matches the pattern of behaviour over time, and
often depict what people in the system are paying the most
|Work around the structure. About each element, ask: What’|
|s causing changes in this element? What influences it to |
vary? Or if you get stuck, try working forward: What is the
effect when this variable changes? What other elements
must change? If you still get stuck, go back to the story.
Are there key elements which you have left out? Where do
they link to the archetypes?
|It’s particularly valuable to include any elements which are at|
|least partly under your influence: if you can change the |
relationship of your organisation with the customers, seeing
that element as part of a vicious cycle may lead to insights
about how you can influence the whole system.
|When you have applied an archetype, check the patterns of|
|behaviour you would expect to see. Does it match the |
patterns you have seen in your own history?