Identify books in nearby domains


When you’re exploring a new space (like how to model social innovations for Labs), a great way to learn more about it is to read up on the individual domains that comprise that space. Here are some of the books we have in our library.

Social Innovation

Getting to Maybe: How the World is Changed | Frances Westley, Brenda Zimmerman, and Michael Patton

A guide, with examples, to how systems are changed.


Making Policy: A Guide to the Federal Government’s Policy Process | Glen Milne

A concise primer on how policy is created in Canada.

Modelling social and political systems

Simulation for Policy Inquiry | Edited by Anand Desai

A collection of perspectives on how simulation can clarify decision-making.

Complex Adaptive Systems: An introduction to computational models of social life | John H. Miller and Scott E. Page

A clear and thorough text on complex adaptive social systems.

Hartmut Bossel’s systems books:
Systems and Models. Complexity, Dynamics, Evolution, Sustainability
System Zoo 1 Simulation Models. Elementary Systems, Physics, Engineering
System Zoo 2 Simulation Models. Climate, Ecosystems, Resources
System Zoo 3 Simulation Models. Economy, Society, Development

Many of the models described here have been implemented in InsightMaker.

Tools for groups

Future Search: Getting the Whole System in the Room for Vision, Commitment, and Action | Marvin Weisbord and Sandra Janoff

One of the best-documented processes to date for working with whole systems.

Visual Teams: Graphic Tools for Commitment, Innovation, and High Performance | David Sibbet

Graphic tools and visual solutions for team building and development.

Gamestorming: A Playbook for Innovators, Rulebreakers, and Changemakers | Dave Gray, Sunni Brown, and James Macanufo

Eighty games for better communications within groups.

Collective Intelligence: Creating a Prosperous World at Peace | Edited by Mark Tovey

Applications of mass collaboration to policy challenges.


Getting Started with D3 | Mike Dewar

Data Driven Documents (D3) is a free visualization library that makes it possible to publish complex, interactive visualizations to the web.

Introduction to Scientific Programming and Simulation Using R | Owen Jones, Robert Maillardet, and Andrew Robinson

It’s not well known that this open source statistical tool can be used for simulation. Here’s how.

Web Mapping Illustrated: Using Open Source GIS Toolkits | Tyler Mitchell

GIS applications can be expensive. This book tells you how to create maps with free tools.

Information Design

Information Graphics: A Comprehensive Illustrated Reference | Robert L. Harris

A compendium of ways in which information can be visually represented.

The Visual Miscellaneum | David McCandless

Superb examples of infographics.

Visual Complexity: Mapping Patterns of Information | Manuel Lima

The classic text on visually taming complexity. See also

Interaction design

Information Dashboard Design: The Effective Visual Communication of Data | Stephen Few

A guide to creating interactive dashboards.

A Theory of Fun for Game Design | Raph Koster

Explains how to make games fun.


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