At the heart of DESTA’s work is scenario development using system dynamics simulation modelling. We work with our partners to develop simulating models, of their “systems of interest”, to generate scenarios. We model impacts of different policy interventions and external changes on the system’s behaviour by considering its endogenous structures. Scenario development can help to reveal various possible ‘What-If’ pathways which can open up constructive dialogue on means of bringing desirable change.
decision support systems
Decision Support Systems take scenario development a step further, by developing an interface which can then be used by our partners to carry out extensive policy testing to see outcomes of interventions in real time. The DSS acts like a ‘policy test bed’ which can help to get insight on possible futures and aid in programme and policy planning and adaptive management.
SYSTEMS THEORY OF CHANGE
Through participatory systems thinking workshops, DESTA works with its partners to create a systems Theory of Change of their work, in order to make explicit the nature of interconnections between their programme areas. This allows the participants to come to terms with the interdependencies between their specialized areas of work and view the programme/organization as one organism. This is essential for team learning, improving effectiveness and ultimately developing a learning organization.
participatory model building
DESTA’s modelling method is rooted in participatory modelling, as we believe in co-creating our products and position ourselves as synthesizers of the vast amounts of knowledge our partners possess. We endeavour to bring together different streams of knowledge using systems thinking. Very often, this synthesis helps to generate new knowledge, emerging from the interaction between the various knowledge streams. “The whole is greater than the sum of the parts”, as they say in systems thinking.
community based research
DESTA’s team sees great value in community level modelling and bringing to the fore the vast knowledge people on the ground have of the systems they are part of, so that policy and programme design can become more bottom-up. DESTA is involved in a number of community-based research projects, and we firmly believe in continuing to do work linking the grassroots to policy and program design.
capacity building & teaching
Alongside our consulting and research work, at the heart of DESTA’s vision is to enable the development of systems thinking and system dynamics in the country, and beyond. To achieve this, DESTA is involved with a number of training and capacity building programmes in the country, as well as with a number of academic institutions, teaching systems thinking and system dynamics modelling to working professionals and students alike. We also have our own online courses where we teach systems thinking and modelling. More on our courses can be found on our courses page.