Methods and tools

Although each and every project is different, I use a number of tools and methods that seem to be helpful in analysing the challenges posed by the projects. The tools and method range from formal technical and simulation modeling to participatory and group processes and gaming. On this page I describe a few of these methods and tools, and I describe how I see their relevance and their value.

In an increasingly complex world decision makers assume they need more detail and more information to be effective. However, the opposite is true: we need less information, but the information we are looking for should be the important information, the leverages that we can control to change things. We need to distinguish between important information and too much detail. I believe the tools described here help to focus on the whole picture, and are not limited to expert perspectives on single issues.

Rapid assessment modeling

System Analysis, System Thinking and System Dynamics

System Thinking and Modeling (STM) has been defined as ”the ability to see the big picture“ by finding interconnections and being able to explain complexity. Applying the methods help you to focus attention to issues such as:

  • Overall structure and not the details
  • Inert nature of the system:Why does reality fight back against our well-intended interventions and enhancements?
  • Need to experiment with alternative perspectives and interventions.
  • Need for an Endogenous Perspective: Outside pressure is only half of the story. Many challenges find their origin in earlier decisions and interventions. Dynamics within the system versus pressure with external causes,

Scenario analysis: Storytelling about future challenges

Serious gaming for resources management

"The only source of knowledge is experience" (Einstein)

Gaming helps to train professionals to understand the political and decision making context they operate in. Gaming is an risk-free approach to uncover dynamics for new or alternative strategies. Gaming offers a laboratory for gaining the badly needed experience for operating in an ever complex world.

Carthago is one of the partners in developing the Sustainable Delta Game (with Deltares and Utrecht University).

Carthago Consultancy developed 2- and 3-group versions of the Fishbank-game, a game about resources management and 'The Tragedy of the Commons'-type of problems.

GIS and PCRaster


Adaptation Pathways

Serious gaming for resources management

"The only source of knowledge is experience" (Einstein)

Gaming helps to train professionals to understand the political and decision making context they operate in. Gaming is an risk-free approach to uncover dynamics for new or alternative strategies. Gaming offers a laboratory for gaining the badly needed experience for operating in an ever complex world.

Carthago is one of the partners in developing the Sustainable Delta Game (with Deltares and Utrecht University).

Carthago Consultancy developed 2- and 3-group versions of the Fishbank-game, a game about resources management and 'The Tragedy of the Commons'-type of problems.