The Elephant Builder is a collaborative planning and
solution-finding tool. Here's what it does:
  1. Elicits knowledge and expertise from members of your community or organization
  2. Synthesizes their inputs into a causal system model
  3. Mines that model for general insights—and specific, actionable policy recommendations and priorities
  4. Helps you to communicate those recommendations to stakeholders in simple, interactive shareable graphics
Why the name?
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The Elephant Builder: a collaborative planning and solution-finding tool
Why the name?
Features
Applications
Services
Contact us
Build a free elephant
Log in
Enter a build-code

Why is it called "Elephant Builder"?

There's an old folktale about a group of blind people who are trying to describe an elephant.

One is standing by a leg. He says, "Hey, an elephant is thick and stationary. It's basically a tree." Another, by the tail, says, "Nope. It's thin and flexible, like a snake." The one by the trunk says it's like a python, and the one on its back says it's like a hillside.

None of these people is wrong—each has expertise about part of the larger animal. But to truly understand the elephant and predict its behavior, they'll need some method of synthesizing their knowledge and collectively visualizing how it all fits together.

That's what the Elephant Builder does. It takes many people's perspectives, many departments' expertise, many groups' experiences— and builds a more integrated understanding of the whole system.

Services we offer

  • Facilitated modeling and problem-solving sessions
  • Complete community resilience, sustainability, and climate-adaptation plans
  • Consulting in institutional effectiveness
  • Training in Elephant Builder facilitation
  • Training in systems thinking and complexity management

Elephant Builder applications

  • Community resilience and sustainability
  • Climate-change adaptation
  • Ecosystem management
  • Disaster preparedness
  • Wicked societal problems
  • Social justice
  • Institutional strategic planning
  • Needs assessment
  • Organizational performance
  • Public engagement and education

Elephant Builder features

  • Models built collaboratively and transparently by stakeholders
  • Web-application that works without downloads in any modern browser
  • Interactive, shareable, filterable model visualizations
  • Specific policy recommendations for any social, organizational, or ecosystem outcome
  • Policy rankings based on breadth of impact
  • Node centrality statistics
  • Identification of relevant causal feedback loops
  • System-restructuring recommendations and likely leverage points for system-level change
  • Public mode for sharing finalized model and recommendations

Why is it called "Elephant Builder"?

There's an old folktale about a group of blind people who are trying to describe an elephant.

One is standing by a leg. He says, "Hey, an elephant is thick and stationary. It's basically a tree." Another, by the tail, says, "Nope. It's thin and flexible, like a snake." The one by the trunk says it's like a python, and the one on its back says it's like a hillside.

None of these people is wrong—each has expertise about part of the larger animal. But to truly understand the elephant and predict its behavior, they'll need some method of synthesizing their knowledge and collectively visualizing how it all fits together.

That's what the Elephant Builder does. It takes many people's perspectives, many departments' expertise, many groups' experiences— and builds a more integrated understanding of the whole system.

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Services we offer

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Elephant Builder applications

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Elephant Builder features

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