Blog, Resources, Videos

Resources: Helping You Find Leverage

We continually build our catalog of resources to inspire and support you on your journey to apply the latest innovations in adaptive leadership. Explore our interactive online simulations and learning labs. View the most up to date Pontifex Consulting (and partners) videos. Download our practical resources to illuminate concepts and provide you with concrete tips and techniques for building your adaptive learning skills.

Online Sims and Learning Labs
Articles and Guides


Finding Leverage: The Power of systems THINKING

In this first video in the Adaptive Learning series, Chris Soderquist presents the basics of systems THINKING in the service of understanding the complexity of rising healthcare costs.


“systems THINKING can forever change the way you see the world, understand the world, and change the world.”


 The Systems Thinking Mindset

This video is the introductory video in a three part training series developed for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The CDC uses this series to develop a cadre of systems thinking practitioners within the CDC to support their mission of improving public health.


Videos in the CDC Simulation Series

  1. The Systems Thinking Mindset
  2. Visual Tools to Improve Systemic Analysis
  3. Systems Mapping: The Basics


 3 Core Competencies for Community Engagement

Chris Soderquist of Pontifex Consulting recently presented a webinar for Tamarack Institute on the three enabling competencies of adaptive learning: Systems THINKING, Conversational Capacity, and Yes to the Mess (Improvisational Mindset). The webinar is an excellent overview of how the adaptive learning skill set is an essential, and often overlooked, need to achieve results in change efforts. Although the webinar focuses on Collective Impact, the skills are applicable to any change process. The landing page for this webinar includes the full text and downloadable PDF of our paper: Adaptive Learning – A Pivotal Competence for Collective Impact.



Accelerating Learning through Simulation

This video describes why system dynamics simulation is an effective and often necessary activity to build the understanding needed to address adaptive challenges.  Pontifex Consulting worked with our partners at the Georgia Health Policy Center and the National MCH Workforce Development Center. As usual, it was produced by the talented Banyan Communications.



The Bay Game

Pontifex Consulting and the University of Virginia have developed an online multiplayer game to help build understanding of the complex dynamics occurring in today’s ecosystems. Players assume roles within the Chesapeake Bay (e.g. fishermen, developers, farmers, local government, and  state regulators) and use a system dynamics model to simulate the impacts of their decisions and actions. While trying to optimize individual player well-being, they put the entire watershed at risk. Watch UVa’s Professor Mark White describe the game and its lifelong impact on students.

“There are several [ ] important takeaways. The notion of tradeoffs. The need to understand the system: like cause and effect relationships, feedback loops, leverage points, etc… And, finally, the value of thoughtful communication.” 


The Legislative Health Policy Certificate Program

Pontifex Consulting’s Chris Soderquist, along with partners Craig Weber and the Georgia Health Policy Center (GHPC),  describe their unique approach to building the political leaders of the future. Watch the video to learn more about the GHPC Legislative Health Policy Certificate Program.

“We’ve been helping them [legislators] build their abilities, tools, and techniques for analyzing information and coming up with insights that will help them be more effective.”


Online Sims and Learning Labs

Interactive simulations are an excellent resource for building systemic intelligence. If done well, they provide you with a clear picture of one (or more) useful mental model(s) – by clearly articulating that mental model and engaging you viscerally with its implications.An Introduction to SysQ is a comprehensive guide to building and applying systemic intelligence.

Pontifex Consulting has been developing simulations for organizations, coalitions, and communities for over twenty years. These simulations have been used by: MBA and executive education programs to enhance learning, state politicians to develop public policy, corporate leadership teams to develop global strategies, non-profits to communicate funding strategies to their boards, and NGOs to achieve international development goals.

Experience a few of these simulations on this Resources page – and better understand where and how such simulation tools might help you and your colleagues achieve extraordinary results. All of these simulations are available from Pontifex Consulting’s portfolio on the isee exchange. For the best experience on mobile devices use the versions from the isee exchange. Please contact us if interested in embedding any simulation on your website. If you like any of the simulations / labs, consider registering with us so we can contact you when we update them or post additional ones.


An Introduction to SysQ: Why systemic intelligence is an essential (yet often overlooked) leadership capacity

An Introduction to SysQ is our free interactive resource for building and applying Systemic Intelligence (SysQ). Practitioners of systems thinking and adaptive leadership will better understand why systemic intelligence is an essential leadership capacity, and how to increase your (and your team’s) capacity to apply it. 

Our comprehensive guide gives you rapid access to the full suite of systems thinking tools (including the SysQ Questions, trend graphs, archetypes, causal loop and stock & flow diagrams, and simulations) – including when and how to use each. And because An Introduction to SysQ is browser based, you can use it on mobile devices.

Access the guide here (below) or from its source on the isee exchange. Use the isee exchange version for the best experience on mobile devices. You can also embed it in your website. Contact us to find out how. 


SysQ for Business Process Improvement

This online sim is an interactive case study based on a real world experience. Often policies or programs are implemented believing they will have no unintended consequences. In this case study, you’ll see how a services organization implemented a marketing promotion only to find it created unforeseen headaches. SysQ is a way to anticipate and preemptively avoid (or mitigate) these actually predictable unintended consequences.


SysQ for The Power of Full Engagement

Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz wrote an international best seller that shifted the typical management paradigm for “managing work”. They propose the essential aspect to manage isn’t the amount of hours or time employees put into completing tasks. Instead, the focus should be on managing staff energy. This online sim demonstrates how their theory works. It’s also an excellent example of how SysQ isn’t just for managing systems, but for helping to communicate theories that sometimes sounds “squishy” and immeasurable.


Articles and Guides

The SysQ Guide: Tools and Practices to Build & Apply Systemic Intelligence

The SysQ Guide is designed for anyone who has taken SysQ or Systems Thinking training and wants to deepen their skills. The interactive guide provides an introduction to why SysQ (systemic intelligence) is an essential competency for today’s complex world. Readers will learn the SysQ process and tools / techniques required to effectively apply SysQ. You can choose between two versions:

  1.  ePub readers, including (iBooks Mac, iPhone, iPad), and
  2.  .mobi readers (including Kindle).

Download The SysQ Guide

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