The Best Way to Understand a Complex System Is to Draw It

A system is an interconnected set of people / things / ideas that is organized in a way that achieves something. We are surrounded by systems — schools, democracy, international trade, forests, cities.

One of the best ways to understand how a system works is to simply draw it out. Homelessness is a great example. Homelessness is caused by a complex interplay of housing prices, economic factors, addiction, mental illness, and racial inequities. Mapping out each of these factors one-by-one not only makes the system more…