Multiple Cause and Effect

P1000623To better understand a complex problem, we typically try to simplify it by breaking it down into different parts and finding out which bit isn’t working.  A more useful approach used in systems thinking is to maintain the connections and interactions between the different parts of the system in order to understand why certain events happen.

A multiple cause diagram can help simplify the complexity whilst tracing the sequence of cause and effect through a system. It helps to clarify what is going on and in particular shows where there are feedback loops in the system.  

It’s one of the most useful types of diagrams used in Systems Thinking.


Theory Video:

Case studies and insights from participants

Cath Stamper - CEO, York Road Project (YRP)

Cath's Cause and effect Blog

When you think you know what the problem is…

As part of the Lankelly Chase Systems Changers programme, I started to map an area in my organisation that I felt could be improved.

This involved an enormous roll of brown paper and a bunch of Sharpie markers and as I sat down to begin, I felt confident that I knew what I was doing. After all, it was obvious wasn’t it? I do my job day in, day out and I am confident that I know what I am doing…

Continue reading here…


Charlotte Price - Service User Involvement Worker, Porchlight

Charlotte talks about how much this method has influenced her practice.

Finding the Flex learning module

Other themed sessions in this learning module