4.08. What do Systems Games teach?

What do Systems Games teach?

Systems Games illustrate general principles of how systems behave, highlighting phenomena such as feedback loops, tipping points, trade offs and emergence.

Through the experience of participating in different kinds of Systems Games scenarios, participants develop useful cognitive attitudes for dealing with complexity, including:

  • The ability to interpret outcomes against expectations
  • The ability to balance emotional responses (humility, curiosity, frustration, blame-shifting)
  • The ability to tolerate high levels of uncertainty
  • The ability to search for counter-evidence
  • Illuminate core uncertainties
  • The ability to recognise trade-offs and suggest efficiencies

In their paper ‘What is a model, why people don’t trust them and why they should’, ecologist Roger Bradbury et al argue that: ‘Computer models, resembling flight simulators, can be designed to train individuals to better understand the basic processes of real world significance for decision making, including management of limited resources and unexpected feedbacks. The belief underneath this approach is that managing and predicting complex behaviours can be learned and that models can represent systems in a manner appropriate for learning and training.’