Integrate diverse perspectives via systems maps
Systems maps integrate diverse perspectives into a picture of the system and provide an understanding of a problem’s root causes. Participants in F&F came to see that the obesity epidemic in children was the result of national, state, and local systems failing to support healthy living, rather than a consequence of accumulated individual behaviors. They began to recognize the interrelationships among systems such as the food system, the quality of food in schools and neighborhoods, the natural and built environment and its role in supporting active living, safety, and public policy such as zoning. They also started to understand how individual organizations’ good intentions and actions could actually undermine one another’s efforts. These conversations paved the way for collaboratively creating strategies and tactics in later phases of the work.