Frequently asked questions
What is ‘Systems Thinking’?
Systems thinking can best be explained as a capacity for understanding both the characteristics and behavior of ‘parts’ and the patterns of organisation that form those parts into ‘wholes’–complex dynamic self-organising systems.
What is a ‘Culture of Sustainability’?
A culture of sustainability is a set of understandings that gives shared meaning to what a group thinks will makes a particular system healthier and more enduring. In PatternDynamics™ we create that meaning by using Patterns. The Pattern diagrams are a tool for learning to understanding the principles of how whole systems work and for having discussions about how to improve them using systems thinking.
What is ‘Deep Sustainability Design’
Deep Sustainability Design is a design process that is supported by a Culture of Sustainability. Any sustainability design strategy that is not supported by the culture that has to live with it will not be supported, and it will stand a high risk of failure. By building a Culture of Sustainability with the people who must use or implement the design solution, it will be meaningful to them and therefor get their support, giving it a much higher chance of success.
How does ‘Understanding the Principles of Sustainability through the Patterns of Nature’ work?
Natural systems are organised in a way that has allowed them to persist for hundreds of millions of years. By looking for the patterns that are followed in organising individual elements into those whole systems, we can deduce principles that help us understand the basis of sustainable design. This is one approach to learning systems thinking.
What is an ‘Integral Sustainability Pattern Language’?
A Pattern Language is a set of symbols that represent good design principles. This concept was first developed by architect Christopher Alexander. In the case of PatternDynamics™ the symbols relate to the principles informing the design of sustainable natural systems.
The word ‘Integral’ signifies that PatternDynamics™ is related to ‘comprehinsiveness’, ‘wholistic’ approaches and the synthesizing activity of thinking about how things are put together rather than relying exclusively on the activity of analysis, which is used to pull things apart. PatternDynamics™ is based in, but not limited to, Integral Theory developed by Ken Wilber.
The use of the word Sustainability indicates a relationship to configuring the human world so that it may support the natural world on which it is dependent on an ongoing basis.
What is a ‘Complex System Challenge’?
A complex system is a large number of parts connected in a large number of ways to form a dynamic, adaptive entity. A ‘complex systems challenge’ is any problem that needs to be solved in relation to how complex systems function.