Developing a Preliminary Causal Loop Diagram for Understanding the Wicked Complexity of the COVID-19 Pandemic
School of Engineering and Built Environment, Griffith University, Brisbane, QLD 4222, Australia
Cities Research Institute, Griffith University, Brisbane, QLD 4222, Australia
Griffith Climate Change Response Program, Griffith University, Brisbane, QLD 4222, Australia
UQ Business School, University of Queensland, Brisbane, QLD 4072, Australia
School of Medicine, Gold Coast campus, Griffith University, Brisbane, QLD 4222, Australia
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Systems 2020, 8(2), 20; https://doi.org/10.3390/systems8020020
Received: 9 May 2020 / Revised: 16 June 2020 / Accepted: 17 June 2020 / Published: 18 June 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Life in the Time of a Pandemic: Social, Economic, Health and Environmental Impacts of COVID-19—Systems Approach Study)
COVID-19 is a wicked problem for policy makers internationally as the complexity of the pandemic transcends health, environment, social and economic boundaries. Many countries are focusing on two key responses, namely virus containment and financial measures, but fail to recognise other aspects. The systems approach, however, enables policy makers to design the most effective strategies and reduce the unintended consequences. To achieve fundamental change, it is imperative to firstly identify the “right” interventions (leverage points) and implement additional measures to reduce negative consequences. To do so, a preliminary causal loop diagram of the COVID-19 pandemic was designed to explore its influence on socio-economic systems. In order to transcend the “wait and see” approach, and create an adaptive and resilient system, governments need to consider “deep” leverage points that can be realistically maintained over the long-term and cause a fundamental change, rather than focusing on “shallow” leverage points that are relatively easy to implement but do not result in significant systemic change.