I was very lucky to be invited to present my work using the Systems Dynamics Analysis methodology at the SEEP Network‘s annual conference last week in Arlington, VA.
I presented the methodology based on the work I did in Mongolia on the problem of pastoralism and pastureland degradation. Based on my presentation and my script I prepared a special version of the Prezi I used with more text so it can also be understood without me presenting. This extended presentation can be accessed here.
The main goals of the presentation were to show the participants a concrete and practical tool that improves our way of looking at systems and their dynamics. Especially, I presented the loop analysis as an alternative to the widely used tools based on linear causal chains.
My presentation of the Systems Dynamics Analysis was well framed by Lucho Osorio from Practical Action who was setting the scene introducing the concept of working in complex realities and how Practical action uses the participatory market mapping to better reflect the reality as well as Tjip Walker from USAID who gave an insight perspective of how USAID is approaching the issue (he was actually also involved in organizing the event on complexity within USAID on which I wrote here). This short article gives an idea of the whole session.
The feedback I and my fellow panelists received was very encouraging. Many practitioners approached us with a clear message: these concepts of complexity and the system dynamics analysis are seen as very potential to better reflect the realities in the field and improve not only the ability to plan better and more effective interventions, but also to improve the ability to show and report the more intangible changes on a system level.
This positive feedback gives us enormous motivation to go ahead with our work on how to better embrace complexity in our work in international development and beyond. I am keen to report in this blog how this work is progressing.