by Donella Meadows
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A system is an interconnected set of elements that is coherently organized in a way that achieves something . These systems must be comprised of three things:
A stock is the foundation of any system. Stocks are the events of the system that you can see, feel, count, or measure at any given time. Stocks change over time due to the actions of a flow. Flows are filling & draining, bidirectional outcome cycles. A stock, then, is the present memory of the history of changing flows within the system.
Systems thinkers use graphs of system behavior to understand trends over time, rather than focusing attention on individual events. We also use behavior-over-time graphs to learn whether the system is approaching a goal or limit, and if so, how quickly. The variable on the graph is often a stock or a flow.
A stock takes time to change, because a flow takes time to flow
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System thinking is being able to examine and analyze ourselves and things around us with the express purpose of being able to improve upon them.