Benefits for the Community


Adams Marv

“Without systems thinking skills, it is impossible to effectively lead, set direction anexecute in senior executive roles across most industries. Too many leaders, unfortunately, have emerged with well-developed left brain thinking methods of management, but underdeveloped right brain, holistic thinking leadership abilities. Is this dominance of left brain thinking a result of our schools and our training and development programs, or is this inherent? If it is not inherent, then there are few greater areas of leverage for innovation in education than by developing systems thinking skills with kids starting from a young age!”

—Marv Adams, COO, TD Ameritrade; former CIO, Citigroup; former CIO and Head of Corporate Strategy, Ford Motor Company

Complexity is increasing exponentially, and school systems need to prepare students for today’s challenges and tomorrow’s world. Employers consistently rank applied thinking skills—such as systems thinking—as crucial for the 21st-century workforce. Likewise, various researchers identify systems knowledge as crucial to successful living and learning in today’s context. In recognition of the importance of this emerging form of literacy, local, state, and national education standards are increasingly including demonstrated understanding of dynamic systems as an integral knowledge area.

Schools that integrate a systems thinking approach in their classrooms help develop citizens who:

  • understand that they are part of a community and as such have an effect on the success of the community
  • approach civic problems from a holistic view
  • are able to analyze situations in a framework that is empowering and leads to increased personal responsibility

Play the video to hear adult alumni talk about how using systems thinking as middle school students impacts their present lives.