Healthy living systems rely on good feedback loops and the DEAL Community Platform could benefit from having more of these in order to fully realise a thriving online space that encourages community communication, collaboration and co-creation.

It can be difficult to keep track of comments, activity, feedback and interactions that could otherwise help enrich connections, tools, stories or events, and inspire continuous learning, experimentation and improvement.

Open Questions

  • What systems or features would create useful feedback loops?
  • What are the key user flows and how can the platform best support these?
  • How can we improve onboarding new members?
  • How should relevant activity and updates be presented to members?
  • Should tools, stories or member comments have ratings or "likes"?
  • How should revisions and upgrades to tools be tracked and presented?
  • How can best practices, failures and frustrations be shared so everyone can learn from them?
  • Can you share examples of other platforms that have great feedback loops?

Related Suggestions & Ideas

    Brian Dowling

    I would like to see this expanded from Feedback Loops to Systems Thinking including System Dynamics particularly as taught by Donella Meadows: I have been experimenting with Doughnut Economics and placing it in a larger economic framework through Kumu though it is not the only systems thinking tool out there.

    6 months ago
    Karn Bianco

    Donella Meadows' work is certainly a big inspiration for all of our work! But I wonder if the Development Hub itself isn't already the container for the systems-level thinking that is driving the platform's development?

    Naming Feedback Loops was intended to allow for more focused exploration here. But the Hub itself was designed as a space to see the platform more holistically, mapping connections between seemingly distinct features, etc.

    But do you have any examples of other aspects of systems thinking that you think could use a home here?

    6 months ago

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    6 months ago
    Brian Dowling

    The name Feedback Loops as a label for focused exploration is fine.

    Donella Meadow’s work though should be more than an inspiration. It should be a guide. I’m not seeing any examples that rise to the level of Donella Meadows system inquires and insights. I know that Kate Raworth has cited Donella Meadows, and her work Thinking in Systems, a Primer, a number of times.

    Thinking about systems is not the same as Systems Thinking. Having a container for systems-level thinking does not provide the actual means of applying Systems Thinking to driving the platform's development.

    The mapping of connections between seemingly distinct features should be made explicit not merely implied. There are potentially numerous balancing and reinforcing loops inherent within the workings of Doughnut Economics. The platform should not only be seen not only more holistically but systemically (nuanced difference).

    I would like to see a place for Systems Thinking Causal Loop Diagram maps and System Dynamics Stock and Flow Models exploring different aspects of Doughnut Economics. I have been exploring the relationship of Doughnut Economics within a larger economic framework. More generally I would like to see encouragement to learn and use Systems Thinking in implementing Doughnut Economics in real world projects, perhaps to the point where Acumen System Practice projects are possible.

    Thanks for giving me a chance to have my say.

    6 months ago
    Karn Bianco

    Thank you for taking the time to expand on this, Brian. You make some really great points and I agree there's lots of scope for *really* using systems thinking and tools both in the platform's development, and in how people put Doughnut Economics into practice in real world projects more generally.

    One specific feature we will be exploring is allowing for the embedding of interactive/dynamic elements within tools and stories. That could allow members to, for example, create a dynamic causal loop diagram with a tool such as Kumu, that you referenced, or Loopy ( and embed it straight into a tool or story.

    Perhaps it would also be useful to create an explanatory tool for the platform which walks through how to use one or more of these external systems thinking tools and apply them, as well as systems thinking generally, to Doughnut Economics. As you say, we don't necessarily encourage that explicitly right now.

    Lots to think about!

    6 months ago
    Brian Dowling

    Hi Karn,

    Appreciate you keeping me in the loop, as it were.

    An explanatory tool would be great but I believe it will be necessary to go beyond that or at least have the opportunity to go beyond that in explaining systems thinking generally in relationship to Doughnut Economics.

    Fortunately, there is a potential reinforcing feedback loop in that the explanatory mapping tools such as Kumu (great for more extensive mapping) or Loopy (great introductory tool) can help with an understanding of systems thinking which can help with better utilization of the tools. There is also not only the systems thinking aspect of these tools which can be new to those steeped in the ubiquitous classical Newtonian reductionistic linear thinking but also the aspect of thinking graphically through maps which can also be new and strange to some people. Kate Raworth has spoken of the power of pictures and graphs to make an impression on our minds regards retention.

    These could help though in placing Doughnut Economics with other economic systems, such as ecology economics, which Kate Raworth has also raised a number of times. I would like to see more connection with complexity economics, per Santa Fe Institute and Modern Monetary Theory. A tool that I would suggest providing is Minsky recommended by Prof. Steve Keen . This is a bit more advance, truthfully for me as well, but the further we expand with this effort, the more complex it is likely to become.

    I hope that the DEAL platform will evolve externally, and will only do so intentionally to my mind, to go beyond Economic Do-nuters talking to themselves. Particularly in bringing it into the real world, which to my mind means connecting, as in mapping, with place, the people making up that place, and things comprising the ecological ceilings and social foundations within that place.


    6 months ago

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    5 months ago

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