The Iceberg Model

The iceberg model is a valuable tool for encouraging the systems thinking that is important for seeing an issue or challenge as part of a larger system.

By asking you to connect a single or occuring event or issue to patterns of behavior, systems structures, and mental models, the iceberg allows you to see the structures underlying the event. Just like an iceberg, 90% of these structures are hidden below the surface. However, if you can identify them and connect them to the events you are seeing, you may be able to develop lasting solutions that target the whole system rather than short term, reactive solutions.

The graphic below was developed by the Academy for Systems Change and based on the work of Donella Meadows. 

 

  

 


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