Systems Thinking Resources Online


Here is a list of online sources for information about systems thinking:

Principia Cybernetica has been around forever and has a wealth of theoretical information as well as some full text books.

Gunther Ossmitz has an excellent collection of case studies, analysis, and theoretical articles available for download. Many are in German, but there are also many valuable items in English if you look around. has many articles that give perspective on systems thinking topics.


The famous 1991 Mindwalk video was made by Bernt Capra and is based on his brother Fritjof Capra’s book, The Turning Point: Science, Society, and the Rising Culture. While many of the assertions about how to deal with modern world crisis are perhaps debatable, it is fascinating how many of the pressing issues that we face today are mentioned in this film that is approaching 20 years old. Regardless of one’s position on the issues, the movie does a great job of showing how differences in perception result in different approaches. The movie is also a good example of a dialogue between three well meaning people who seek to understand each other’s persepctives.

Here is the traditional version. However, lately it has been unavailable. Still, it might be worth trying.

If the version above does not work, this version with Portuguese subtitles still worked.

For a short video that really emphasizes the problems of perception, see this:

Self-Organization Demonstrations

An important concept in systems is the idea of self-organizing systems, where self-organization can be described as a process where the internal organization of a systems increases in complexity without being driven to change by the environment.

This concept has been simply and beautifully demonstrated by Craig Reynolds 1986 Boids program. The program shows how following simple rules results in a stable dynamic systems. Other examples that allow for manipulation of some controls and experimentation are Ando Sabbas’ version and Icosystem’s The Game.

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This post was written by Doug on November 9, 2008

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