Leverage Points: Places to Intervene in a System

This is a map of Indiana’s climate action ecosystem. It evolves and expands every day, with every meeting. These visual guides will help all of us see the “bigger picture” more and more clearly.

Donella Meadows was a famous systems theorist. This map is based on her most famous essay, Leverage Points: Places to Intervene in a System.

A system is anything composed of parts that are connected — a human body, a corporation, a state.

You can change any system by focusing on “leverage points.” Donella Meadows listed these in order of impact.

For example, most people try to change a system by changing things that can be measured (“Numbers”). They try to make a factory more efficient by increasing the number of widgets each employee must produce per hour. This approach, however, is the least effective method.

More effective than this would be focusing on a higher leverage point — like how information flows through the system, the rules of the system, or even the goals of the system.

This map displays Indiana’s climate action ecosystem. Known actors are mapped by the leverage point on which they’re focusing.

The map is embedded below, but it’s easier to navigate on Kumu’s website.

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