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Working in Complex Systems

Working on food, sustainability, and other community issues is often made more difficult by funders’ expectations that progress will be straightforward. All of us with community experience know that is seldom the case. Efforts to measure too rigidly often distort the work, or make it impossible to appreciate the actual outcomes of solid community work.

In particular, it is difficult to measure complex systems that are changing over time, because the very thing you want to measure may loom as more or less important as conditions change.

Crossroads has developed critical tools for addressing such issues—although like everybody else we have a great deal more to learn.

Ken Meter is an Associate of the Human Systems Dynamics Institute in Minneapolis.

Systems Resources

Please see our Publications page for extensive, free resources for systems planning, evaluation, and assessment.

If you have questions, please contact us.