Too Much of a Good Thing II

Overview: This strategy plan involves studying compounding growth through the building of a computer model about a relevant system. It is a probable follow-up to Too Much of a Good Thing.  This strategy allows participants to experience the benefits of analyzing a relevant situation through the process of model building.

Strategy Objectives

Organizational Context


  • To increase participants’ understanding of the long-term potential of compounding growth

  • To increase participants’ understanding of limits to growth

  • To increase participants’ understanding of trade-offs in a system, long-term, unintended consequences

  • To increase participants’ awareness of compounding growth dynamics within 
    their classroom/department/school/

The use of a computer simulation creates a learning context for participants, which takes them away from the emotional and/or political pressures of a decision-making scenario.  The simulation deepens understanding about a dynamic that we recognize but may not totally understand.  In the spirit of organizational learning, using a computer simulation to stimulate new perspectives and insights prior to discussing an issue or situation creates common language and builds both personal mastery and team learning.

  • reinforcing feedback

  • exponential growth

  • limits to growth

  • unintended consequences






Systems Tools

  • The Riddle of the Lilly Pad computer simulation –

  • One computer and projector for larger group presentation or multiple computers for small group work.

30-45 minutes for actual simulation and brief discussion.  Additional time needed to identify and discuss connections to organizational dynamics.

  • Behavior-over-time-Graph

  • Computer Model


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