B- From Bath tubs to Beguiling events

Houda Boulahbel
Systems Thinking Made Simple
4 min readNov 20, 2023

--

This article is part of a series: the A to Z of Systems Thinking. Here is an introduction to the series if you missed it.

I had already written the article for letter B — it was going to be about the bath tub analogy (good guess, Olaf!). I was going to describe the bath tub as the simplest of systems: you have a tap that pours water into the bath, and a drain that removes water from it. If you add water faster than it drains, the water level will rise, and the bath tub will fill up. Conversely, if the drain removes the water faster, the water level will drop.

I was going to tell you how this basic concept: something that can accumulate, and actions that either allow it to accumulate, or deplete it, can be applied to much more complex systems, including population dynamics, cancer control, and carbon emissions (another good guess, Olaf!).

I was also going to tell you about a case study by the Interagency Director’s Team in Georgia, who applied the concept to create a strategy for improving children’s behavioural health.

My article was all written up, ready to be published. But then, my five-year-old played with my Kindle app…

The app opens where you left off. She left it at one of my favourite passages in Donella Meadows’ Thinking in Systems book. My daughter loves rainbows, so…

--

--

Houda Boulahbel
Systems Thinking Made Simple

Systems thinking consultant and educator. Ex-cancer research scientist. Curious about the world. Check out my website: www.ifsi.uk