Give Me an Arrow and I Will Construct a World for You


To survive in a world of change (which is always changing), we must develop our intelligence, to quickly learn to construct models to understand processes and their effects, long or short term, close or distant to us in space, and if possible, to dominate them, that is, predict and control them. Accepting the hypothesis that intelligence is the capacity to construct, and rapidly modify, a coherent system of effective models which contain meaning for understanding the world’s dynamics and developing effective behavior aimed at survival, this theoretical study will suggest the guidelines for learning and quickly constructing graphic models to understand, and to a certain sense dominate, the dynamics that characterize our existence. This paper will present the main ideas of Senge (2006) on Systems Thinking, which is considered not only as a technique but primarily as a discipline for efficient and effective thinking, learning, communicating and explaining with regard to the dynamics of our world. The title of the paper reveals that the proposed models derive from the logic and techniques of Systems Thinking, which provides Senge’s personal interpretation—and one that, in many respects, is innovative—refining not only the concepts but also the techniques for constructing models of systems dynamics (that is, the Causal Loop Diagrams) utilizing the graphical tool of “arrows” to connect the variables to be represented and to identify their direction and sense of variation. There is no limit to the complexity that can be represented with the graphic models of Systems Thinking, which is why Senge was able to state that: “Give me an arrow (a causal relationship and a sufficient power of variation) and I will construct a ‘world’ for you; not a real world, of course, but a structural map of part of it” (Senge, 2006: 3).

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Mella, P. (2015) Give Me an Arrow and I Will Construct a World for You. Creative Education, 6, 594-611. doi: 10.4236/ce.2015.66059.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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