Agencies work amidst complexity.

They work with multiple clients, who each have multiple people involved, and they in turn have multiple customers — and everyone has multiple objectives, concerns, incentives and emotional responses.

This sort of complex network of entities, relationships and their effects is described as a 'system', and Systems Thinking is the practice of being able to see, describe and act on this system.

A basic tool of Systems Thinking is the causal loop diagram. This helps us to see (a part of) the system, and the way the various parts interact. That then enables discussion about possible positive interventions in the system.

How to sketch a causal loop diagram

The key here is to sketch it. This does not need to be beautiful, just useful as a prompt for thought and discussion.

A causal loop diagram is made up of: