The World System Model is a clear and memorable way of looking at the challenge of the global problematique in a way that keeps it together in our minds, helps us talk to others about it, and helps focus us on what really matters in generating positive ideas for the future in any local situation.
The circular diagram (below), is the main icon for the World System Model. It explores the twelve key issues and positions them as the nodes of sustainable living. Each node is described – and some of the main trends summarised – in terms of recent research.
It is essentially a mental model for representing in our minds what we need to pay attention to. Through focusing on the key factors in planetary viability and their dynamic interconnections in a living system, it creates a powerful framework for learning that allows groups to engage with the greater complexity of our global predicament. We can then seek for solutions that are less likely to overlook critical connections, and less likely to generate the unintended consequences of so many of our current initiatives.
People who work with the model, or who play the World Game, gain confidence in stepping out of their silos of expertise, seek new information in areas of ignorance, and place their particular challenges in a wider context for successful response.
The model is the brainchild of IFF Member Tony Hodgson and is the subject of his book, Ready for Anything – Designing resilience for a Transforming World. Tony continues to lead the development of the world modelling project. The intellectual origins of the model are described here.