Needs and Yields Analysis – How could a system be even better?
A quick and very resourceful method in permaculture design is the “Needs-Yields Analysis” (or input-output analysis or elements-interactions analysis). It allows to get an idea of what is needed for a system to work and how it could grow even richer. By analyzing the needs and yields of different elements, the imagination of the system designer can really get boosted. If you want to create sustainable structures in your country, this article is for you!
1. Identify the elements of a system
Looking at an educational system, we can soon identify many elements: they can be physical like an office, library, study material…, personal like tutors, students, teachers and more etheric like online-courses, celebrations, meetings.
2. Identify the needs and yields of each element
What does the element need in order to work well (=input)? and what is his output (or product/result)? We did this in a little work group, writing the needs on top of the word/the element and the yields at the bottom of the word/element. An example here.
3. Make connections between the elements
We did this on paper, drawing lines between different elements which depend from each other or which are influeced by each other. The following questions help to follow the process of looking for “missing links”: Are there some yields that are not yet used? Are there some elements that are somehow not fully supported, and what do they need to work well? How could the different elements support each other more?
Using the overlay-technique with chalk paper, we could have created an overview about connections between elements of different educational structures/countries.
The needs-yields analysis and some connecting-elements was done collectively at the EPT Partnership meeting in Slovenia in october 2012.
You can also do the analysis yourself – download the instructions from here. The exercise is created by Monika Frank.
More to read:
Christopher Alexander: Pattern Language
The Group Pattern Language Card Deck